Dane Kealoha Has Passed
The pig-dog-pioneering power surfer from Honolulu battled cancer till the very end.
Dane Kealoha, a pioneering surfing icon known for developing the ‘pig-dog’ style of surfing, has passed away at the age of 64. Dane Bryon Kalei Kealoha, born on July 2nd, 1958, was the son of a carpenter. He grew up learning to surf on the world-famous shores of Waikiki in the late ’60s. In 1973, at the young age of 15, he won the Hawaii state surfing title in the boys’ division, showcasing his natural talent. He continued to excel in his surfing career, securing another title in the junior division of the 1976 National Surfing Championship.
In 1977, Dane achieved third place in the Duke Kahanamoku Invitational, an esteemed surfing competition held on the North Shore of ‘Oahu. This impressive feat placed him behind Bobby Owens and the legendary Eddie Aikau. During the late ’70s and early ’80s, Dane developed a distinctive surfing style known as the “pig dog,” which became his signature stance. This technique allowed him to ride deep inside the tube of the wave while maintaining balance and stability.
During this period, Dane embarked on a global surfing tour, reaching the peak of his career in 1983. That year, he triumphed at the Duke, claiming the first-place ranking after already securing the championship trophy at the Pipeline Masters earlier in the same month.
After retiring from professional surfing due to disagreements with the governing bodies of the surfing association, Dane reemerged years later. In 2002, he notably made waves at Jaws by towing Garrett McNamara into one of the largest barrels ever ridden. To this day, Dane holds an open invitation to surf at the Pipeline Masters whenever he desires.
Dane also had a significant partnership with Quiksilver, where he managed a store in Ward Village and subsequently opened two Roxy stores in Oahu and Maui. Following his time with Roxy, he established a surf school at the Hyatt Regency in Waikiki.
Widely regarded as a legendary waterman, Dane’s legacy and surfing style continues to inspire many young and aspiring surfers, including notable figures such as Sunny Garcia and Johnny Boy Gomez. In 2011, Surfer Magazine ranked Dane as the 6th greatest power surfer of all time.
Dane passed away peacefully on May 10th, 2023, after battling cancer. He is survived by his mother, two brothers, four sons, three daughters, and two grandchildren.
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