Michael Ho surfing Second Reef Pipe. Photo: Billabong XXL/Rusty Russell
In November of 2012, Surfer posted the 28 invitees to the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational, a 28-year-old event in which the world's best giant riders drop into 25-foot-plus swells to honor the late Hawaiian surfer. Left off the list, though included as an alternate, was 55-year-old North Shore veteran Michael Ho. Commenters sounded off:
"Mike Ho should be in before anybody wats goin on?? He has been in the first one invited every year and actually knew Eddie Aikau blown!"
"I’m confused why Mike Ho is an alternate?"
No reason was included in the article, or the comments, for Ho's listing as an alternate.
Born in July 1957, Ho joined the pro tour in 1976, won the Pipeline Masters 30 years ago, surfed with Aikau, and still charges big waves. He is the father of two new school surfers, son Mason and daughter Coco. On December 30, one of the godfathers of the North Shore added another notch to his board, dropping into a monster wave at Second Reef Pipeline that garnered him a nomination for a Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards.
"So proud of Mike Ho right now," said shaper Matt Biolos, next to a photo of Ho's ride that he posted on Instagram. "Interestingly enough, this man, who has dominated his home reefes of Oahu's North Shore for over three decades, was recently dropped off the Eddie Akau invite list. Inspite of being about the only man left still regularly surfing big waves who act surfed with Eddie, and finishing in the top ten of every past running of the Eddie. So what does this old war horse do?.....He goes out and nails a XXL nomination!"
Biolos' words were followed by a slew of comments lamenting the lack of an invite for the legend, who is actually one of three invitees that knew and surfed with Aikau. The comments run alongside the image of the 55-year-old in a crouched position as the giant wave curls up behind him. As the noise grows around him, Ho remains quiet. How's that for an old-school stance?