A Satisfied Soul: Aloha Ambassador Brock Little, 1967-2016

Brock Little was Hawaiian by heart and soul, but not by birth nor blood. He looked Hawaiian— dark and fit and fierce—and he lived Hawaiian, getting in street fights and betting on the rooster fights. And Brock could bust out pidgin in a way that would make a Waianae kid nod approval, but inspire all his haole friends to say, “Huh?” Brock was one of Hawaii’s most famous Aloha Ambassadors from the 1980's into the 21st Century. As famous a Hawaiian surfer as he became, Brock was born to Jim and Doric Little in Napa, California in the late 1960's. But the Gods knew what was coming, so they moved Brock and his family to Oahu in the 1970's, where Jim started the photography studio at Punahou School, alma mater to president Obama and a whole lot of hot surfers: Jeff Hakman, Gerry Lopez, Fred Hemmings, Mark Cunningham, James Jones. Brock and his brother Clark grew up on the North Shore, taking the bus into Punahou every day, and then transferred to Waianae High for their senior year, reading, writing, ‘rithmetic and then fighting. A fit, fearless adrenaline junkie to the bone, God knows what Brock would have gotten up to had his family stayed in Napa, but in Hawaii, Brock fought and grooved his way into his Hawaiian environment, and was perfectly positioned to become one of the leaders of the big-wave resurgence out of the 1980's and into the 1990's. Waimea Bay was Brock’s backyard playground, and by the 1990's he was dominant there. At the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau held in 1990 at Waimea Bay, Brock took off on two giant waves that cemented his name in big-wave history: A giant, black set that Brock charged into, but couldn’t handle the ledge and wiped out on. And then another, smaller wave, that saw Brock pull into the barrel, then slip off the nose as he was coming out, what Brock calls his “$50,000 mistake.” During the 1990's Brock began working as a stuntman; you can see him chasing Matt Damon across the roof of a building as they are stealing the Pinch in Oceans 11. It is Brock with a machine gun getting killed by Bruce Willis in Live Free or Die Hard, and if you look closely you can see Brock clinging to the hull of a sinking ship in Pearl Harbor. Brock worked non-stop in Hollywood out of the 1990's and into the 21st Century. When the production for Blue Crush came to town, Brock took actress Kate Bosworth under his wing and showed her the ins and outs of Hawaiian surf and culture. They also had a romantic fling. Brock was a gentleman, but also had a kolohe streak. As a surfer, stunt man, ladies man, manly man, lifeguard, mentor, friend, brother, fighter, regulator and inspiration, Brock lived a complete life many times over. So when he was diagnosed with fourth stage liver cancer in December of 2015, he was stoic about it all: “Whatever,” Brock would say to friends and family. “I should be dead a dozen times for all the crazy things I have done. I’ve lived a good life. If I have six more days, or six more months, I’m okay.This is all gravy on what I did when I was younger.  I am more worried about my parents.” On Super Bowl Sunday, Brock was getting ready to go to Waialua to watch the game with his friends. He was in the living room of his parent’s house, and it was a somber place: Brock had a nurse and was hooked up to IV bottles and had all kinds of stuff scattered around. Brock was always comfortable in his own skin, but now he was not. The cancer and the chemo were wasting him away, and it was a sad thing to witness: That body was an insult to Brock’s spirit. Still, Brock assured all of his friends that his soul was at peace. Brock was a satisfied soul. He had lived many lives in his 48 years on earth, and he loved his friends and his family and his accomplishments and his adventures. He was a complete man. Brock passed away with friends and family on the morning of February 18. Hawaiians believe that souls leave the earth from Kaena Point, which is the end of the Koolau Mountain Range and clearly visible from Brock’s parent’s house. Brock Little’s soul is leaving this earth satisfied. How many of us can say that?

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