Coco Ho grew up on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, surrounded by surfers, so it may not be a surprise that she first learned to surf as a baby. But she says the first time she took to a board on her own was at the age of eight. “It was with my dad right in front of my house,” she recalls in Rolling Stone‘s “The First Time” video, in which she shares other surfing memories.
Coco has become a surf icon in her own right — qualifying for the Association of Surfing Professionals Women’s World Tour at age 17 — but those who don’t know the pro surfer by name may have heard of her family of Hawaiian surf legends: her father Michael, uncle Derek, and her older brother Mason have been on the scene for decades. Now 28, Coco has had her own successful career, having achieved well over a dozen significant triumphs so far, her most recent being a first-place victory at the 2016 Supergirl Surf Pro in Oceanside, California.
“Hearing the praise of everything that my dad and Uncle Derek got when I was young definitely inspired me, it gave me this weird feeling of, ‘Woah, people care! People know, people watch.’ And yeah, it’s definitely a little bit of why I do it to this day.”
She first realized her dad and uncle were legends on the day that she got to skip school to watch one of their contests. “I kept hearing their names on the loudspeaker and I was like…why?”
Curious about the first time she associated a song with surfing, Coo laughs, explaining: “When I was 12/13, I would go out and I would sing a song on a wave. My dad would be like, ‘Did you like your new board?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah! It was singing on the wave!’ That was kinda the key that I was surfing good — ’cause I was singing on waves. And then eventually [my dad] was like, “K, you gotta stop…”
Watch Coco Ho in action and catch the Raconteurs live at Freshwater Pro Sept. 19-21