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The Inertia

Derek Ho knows his way around Pipeline. At 52, Ho’s been a fixture on the North Shore for a long, long time, and it’s waves like this that made him one. He’s a world champ, a two-time Pipe Masters winner, and four-time Triple Crown winner. And at Pipeline, there was almost no one who could touch him.

“The smallest male world champion at 5’4″, 125 pounds, Ho was quick-footed, with a sharp, angular, slightly formulated attack,” writes Matt Warshaw on Encylopedia of Surfing. “Tuberiding was his strength, and in hollow waves, especially at Pipeline, he rode with sublime precision and elegance. Two-time world champion Tom Carroll was Ho’s equal at Pipeline, but the Australian’s approach was rougher and more power-driven, whereas Ho time and again drew perfect lines through the deepest part of the wave—updating the approach invented by ’70s Pipeline ace Gerry Lopez.”

And does he still have what it takes? You better believe it! Ho navigated through a whole pile of human boils back on February 6th, and it was a beautiful thing to see.


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