As a member of the Hawaiian surfing dynasty family, her lineage includes her late uncle Derek Ho, who was the first Native Hawaiian to win the world championship at the age of 29. Her father, Michael Ho also grew the sport by winning the Hawaiian Triple Crown, The Duke Classic, The World Cup and the 1982 Pipe Masters. Her brother, Mason Ho is also a pro surfer. We caught up with Coco from Oahu's North Shore to talk about her effortless style at 5'2, her focus on growing her empire within and outside of the sport as well as her passion for the ocean.
ATHLEISURE MAG: We’re excited to have you in this month’s issue. We actually saw you at the World Surf League’s a few weeks back in California. You come from this amazing Hawaiian surfing dynasty with your dad being Michael Ho, your uncle Derek Ho and your brother, Mason Ho. What was the moment when you realized that you wanted to join surfing as well and then to compete professionally?
COCO HO: I probably didn’t recognize it until I was about 8 or 9 and I was already surfing because that’s what you do when you’re growing up in Hawaii. I was surfing with my brother after school and then all of a sudden, I recognized their power and then got super consumed into the sport and their accomplishments. I kind of already drew parallels and said, “I want to go to Australia with them” and I definitely used them as my mirror of what I wanted to be.
AM: That’s insane to be so young and to know at that moment. Do you remember the first time that you were on a surf board? Was it strange for you or because you were seeing all of these people surf, that you just felt like, “yeah this is what we do?”
CH: My dad played it so cool with us when we were kids. He was so consumed in his career so it wasn’t a focused effort on us. It became a natural thing. Thankfully, I had a big brother where I was able to follow his lead and that’s kind of how I learned how to surf – just with Mason. And then, once my dad kind of paused and looked, he was like, “wait, my kids really like it.” He started giving us his time and his tips. It was never from him like, I’m surfing and I need to make sure that my kids are surfing too.” It was very natural and I think that that’s why it was so successful.
AM: Wow, that’s really cool and because of the accolades that you have received and the way that you have been able to dominate in the sport, what is the legacy that you want to leave behind in terms of surfing?
CH: I think that the most important thing is that our family just oozes the love of the sport. It’s a true passion with my dad and with Derek who were over 50 and still surfing – the best that they have ever surfed in their lives. So I think it’s definitely about a pure love for surfing and obviously, Mason and I are coming in as more of a lineage to show and draw inspiration from family, friends and cousins. It’s just a really tight bond and strong love for the sport and for each other.
AM: How would you define your surfing style?
CH: I would describe it as definitely effortless. I don’t mean for it to look effortless, but sometimes I wish it wasn’t ha. As a competitor, you need to show that grit and grunt. So a little effortless, but hopefully very strong and graceful.
AM: You do make it look so effortless and as someone who is surfing competitively, how does one go about winning this sport? Many of our readers know this sport and have seen it, but how do you accrue points and how do you know when you have won versus someone else?
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