Sending positive thoughts to all those who knew him, shortly before the sad passing of Dane Kealoha, the 1977 World Champ Shaun Tomson shared these touching words and memories of his friend.
Tomson had this to say:
When I first met Dane back in 1976, he immediately became one of my favourite surfers – absolute raw power and foot to the floor attitude. No close together ballerina feet softness, but a powerful and beautiful classically pure Hawaiian style, charting back to the great Eddie Aikau.
Dane was on the cutting edge of progression – inventing the backside pig dog technique at Pipe and winning the Masters in 1983, and carving up Backdoor and Sunset with creativity and ferocity.
He was a truly gifted tube-rider, attacking the spinning tunnels with machismo, commitment and an attacking rhythm like a Hawaiian warrior going into battle.
At the dawn of pro surfing and the start of the twin fin era at the Stubbies event in Australia, I watched Dane catch a wave at high tide 2 foot Burleigh Heads. There was barely enough clearance between his twin fins and the rocks as he leapt to his feet and started to pump down the line – faster and faster like there was a turbo beneath his feet – I had never seen anyone generate that type of speed on such a small wave – in fact, on any wave.
I had won the World Title a few months before on my single fin and looked down at it – I knew it was instantly obsolete in small waves.
Dane was greatly loved in South Africa – he won the country’s biggest event, the Gunston 500 in 1979, in front of tens of thousands of cheering fans.
While all of us have had some challenges in life after surfing, I’m hoping Dane can power through this one.
When I close my eyes, I’ll always see that huge fire of aloha burning in that powerful Hawaiian physique.
Sending love and prayers to you warrior.