In the world of extreme sports, Coco Ho and Mark McMorris have become something of modern royalty. Dating since 2013, the two have steadily climbed towards the top of their respective fields while simultaneously embracing the other’s ambitions. Coco, a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, has become a world-renowned surfer known as the face of Volcom. Mark, a product of Regina, Saskatchewan, has become Canada’s premier snowboarding sensation and has continued to shape his legacy in the Beijing Olympics this month. Together, they’ve become perhaps the most extreme couple in the sporting spotlight.
Born in Hawaii, Coco got her start on surfing at the ripe age of seven. She was introduced to the sport by her dad, pro surfing pioneer Michael Ho, as well as her uncle and brother. From the jump, Coco was set out for life in the water and has since garnered over a dozen career victories. Now, considered a pro-surfing icon, she continues to fight her way to each qualifying title, even as the industry gets more challenging. When she isn’t surfing, Coco excels at acting. Having been a part of a handful of movies in the past, like Blue Crush (2002) and Heart of a Soul Surfer (2007), her fans love her for her versatility and dedication to all she does.
On the other end of the spectrum lies Canadian Olympian, Mark McMorris. As one of the most decorated athletes in snowboarding history, Mark has emerged as a statesman of extreme sports. After dominating the slopes for years, the 28-year-old athlete has surpassed records and landed tricks that few have ever tried.
While both athletes are invested in extreme sports, where do these two worlds collide? Coco and Mark met at the X-Games nearly a decade ago, and have been dating ever since. The two of them kept in touch even after the competition was over, sharing their love for extreme sports and the inevitable adrenaline rush that comes with that. As elite athletes, their shared passion for extreme sports has only made their bond stronger.
In an interview for our December digital cover story, Mark admits that he’s spent some time in the water thanks to Coco. “She’s taught me how to surf and I’ve taught her how to snowboard,” says Mark. “My surfing game is always improving. […] It’s hard to get better at something if you aren’t super consistent, and while I’m not the best [surfer] out there, I’m definitely not the worst.”
According to Mark, their relationship is “refreshing, easy to understand and a ton of fun.” Though the tough part, he admits, is having to watch each other compete knowing there’s nothing to be done about the outcome from the sidelines.
“Watching someone compete and sitting on the sidelines can be really tough because you can’t help them in any way; it’s totally up to them at that moment,” says Mark. “I’m sure she would say the same about me […] watching can feel helpless at times even if it’s with a loved one.”
Even so, few could ever understand what it takes to compete under such extreme conditions as intimately as Mark and Coco. While it’s undoubtedly difficult to watch your loved one defy the laws of physics while carving a massive wave or careening off a 22-foot ramp, being able to handle the nerves both as athletes and spectators alike is precisely what makes Mark and Coco the most extreme power couple in sports.