RIP Brock Little

Hawaiian big-wave legend passes away from cancer at the age of 48

It’s with a heavy heart that we report the passing of North Shore surfer Brock Little, who died on February 18, at the age of 48. Little announced via social media last month that he was battling advanced cancer.

Born in 1967 in Napa, California, Little’s family moved to Haleiwa when he was three years old and he began surfing at age seven. As a teenager, Little was considered to be one of the most talented and hardest-charging surfers of his era and was a stalwart figure at Waimea and Mavericks. In 1986, at only 19 years old, he finished fourth in the Eddie event, solidifying his reputation as being utterly fearless. Just a few years later, in 1990, he finished second in the prestigious contest, amid some of the most harrowing conditions ever seen in the competition.

“Although Little was runner-up to Hawaiian surfer Keone Downing in the 1990 Quiksilver contest, held in spectacular 25 to 30-foot Waimea surf, he stole the show with a gladiatorial wipeout on the biggest wave of the day, and followed up by pulling into the tube on a 20-footer—a rarity in big-wave surfing at the time—and nearly making it out,” wrote Matt Warshaw in the Encyclopedia of Surfing.

While he would continue his search for massive surf in the coming decades, Little also began a career as a stuntman, appearing in numerous Hollywood films including Tropic Thunder, Training Days, and Transformers, just to name a few.

He was also a prolific contributor to both SURFER and Surfing magazines, penning more than 30 articles.

When he first announced that he was battling cancer via his Instagram account nearly a month ago, the surf world rallied around the icon. When news broke today that Little had passed, Kelly Slater wrote that Little was “Larger than life to me. The world I know will never be the same. I love you, man. Thank you…”

Even as Little’s health deteriorated, he still kept in high spirits and was very open about his condition. A few weeks ago, he gave his final interview with SURFER, where he discussed a life spent chasing heavy waves and his thoughts on his legacy in the surf world.

In Little’s last public statement, which appeared on his Instagram account yesterday, he wrote that he was “Lucky to be surrounded by love.”

Little was a true legend in the sport and will be greatly missed.