Family And Friends Remember A Champion Surfer

Harry Sonoda
Harry Sonoda

(KHNL) - They say he was a natural-born surfer and a self-taught musician.

On Sunday, friends and family members of Harry Sonoda gathered to remember the Waikiki beach boy.

On June 30, Sonoda suffered a heart attack. He was in an ambulance which hit a fire hydrant after being cut off by another car. Sonoda died at the hospital.

"What a great person he really was, he was a loving person, very much into the 'aina and the ohana," said Kathleen Sonoda, sister.

They scattered his ashes in waters off Waikiki, one of his favorite surf spots. But Sonoda's biggest passion was music.

At a young age, he taught himself to play the guitar. When he was 19, Don Ho produced Sonoda's first album. At the memorial, fellow musicians paid their respects.

In 1995, Sonoda's life changed when he suffered a stroke. But his family says he found happiness helping to raise his three grandchildren. They say he was a great influence.

"Just taking me surfing, letting me play in the ocean, introducing me to a positive lifestyle at the beach, he was a positive role model in my life," said Clyde Lani, nephew.

They believe he will live on through his memories and music.

Sonoda was 57 years old.