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Tiger Espere, R.I.P.

Tiger Espere passed away on 7/22/2005, at Queens hospital in Honolulu. His entire familly was with him at the end and there was a memorial luau held two days later to celebrate his life. There is also a paddle-out planned for Tiger on August 4th on the big island.

Surfer's Village Obit

Have memories of Tiger? Please share them here by leaving a comment (see link below).

To learn more about Legendary Surfer Tiger Espere, please visit:

Pua Ka`ilima Cultural Surf Park

More Pua Ka`ilima






Shaper's Tree Hawaii

( Tiger Espere, 1997 )


Anonymous Anonymous said...

man ,he rode for country surfboards in the 60s he was in 5 summer stories and other movies.aloha

July 25, 2005  
Anonymous Michael said...

Tiger befriended me and a group of surfers on USS INDEPENDENCE in Yokosuka Japan about 9 years ago. I later often met him again surfing at Shichirigahama, Shonan, Japan. I remember one day he let me surf his board with his footprint logo on his board. He was a really good person and hoped to see him again afer his return to the Islands.
When the roll is called up yonder, he'll be there. Rest in Peace my friend!!!
PS. Caught a big outside bomb at DAIROKU Enoshima in your honor. See ya bradda!!

July 25, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He was my best friend and surfing partner for more years than I can count. I will never forget the good times we shared. He was one of the best people I have ever known and my heart aches for him. I know he is with his Lord now and smiling down upon the Ohana. Tiger we love you Bradda. jimmy z

July 28, 2005  
Anonymous Bruce Horton said...

I met Tiger in the summer of 1965 while living at Rocky Pt. , N. shore at the Butler's quonsot hut with B. Van Artsdalen , D. Catri, G. Lanning,. He and I were 17 yr.s old and still full of the devil. We both grew up and had families who would hear the tales of surf and adventure that we experienced thru the years. He surfs beyond the stars now waiting for us all.

August 03, 2005  
Anonymous Bank Wright said...

I ran into Tiger my first day out at Sunset. It was big and I was struggling. Tiger noticed, paddled up and help me adjust to the size and power. Later that year he toured me around the big island helping me research my surf guide to Hawaii. he was very kind to mr haole (me) Bank Wright May God bless his family

August 03, 2005  
Anonymous Danny Calohan said...

AUWE,The waterworld and I have truly lost a friend, We ment in '63 and later in the decade, he Garner and I became close. He turned me and anyone else interested on to full Hawaiian style living - Chicken fighting, Pig Hunting on the big Island (wher much to his and his cousins dismay - this haole got the meat for his daughters 1st Birthday Luau)He was an excellent and versatile Surfer and much fun to be in the lineup with. So sorry now to have missed him on my last visit to the Islands. Aloha and Mahalo Tiger... Wease

August 04, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

best memory of tiger for me was on Sado Island, Japan where we taught haka to about a hundred eager students and made nose flutes for children. the whole trip was full of laughter and fun and rounded out beautifully by brother clayton's music. tiger was friends of many in japan. and i don't know how, but he remembered a lot of names eventhough his japanese never got past 10 words :)but he brought so much aloha. prayers to his family. everyone will miss you bruddah. CHARGE UM.

August 11, 2005  
Anonymous Mike Hearne said...

In the winter of 65 I met Tiger
outside my rental house at Sunset beach. What a blessing he was. Not only did he and I tour the island in my $50.00 1950
Desoto but he showed me every surf spot on the island. He introduced me to the "man" which at that time as we all knew as Barry. He literally saved my bacon at more than one local party as a haole boy
I wasn't as careful probably as I should've been. Bless You Tiger, see you on the big wave in the sky.

Love Mike Hearne

August 15, 2005  
Anonymous jack mccoy said...

In high school days, we used to drive out to the country after school to surf. Mostly we'd go to Sunset. The smilin Hawaiian with the big red board with the wide stance was right up there with BK. On weekends we'd hang around the N Shore surfing where ever the waves were good. Tiger was always there too. Tiger was iving at Rocky at Armahut, the NS beach house of my family Dr. Dr. Buttler. His two sons Chris and Bruce Buttler were surfers who were way ahead of their time and it was a very progressive scene on a lot of levels. This was the HQ for the "country Surfboards" gang and they too would be cruzin around the NS checking the surf. YOu couldn't help getting to know each other in and out of the water, even if it was just a smile and raise of the eyebrows.

Tiger was a classic Hawaiian and I'd always felt a warm vibe from him with his big Aloha smile reveling some missing front teeth. I can't remember a negitive vibe from him during all of that time. Just the smilin hawaiian.

During the Duke events he was in, he always was at the top level of performance at the time. I'm sure he had a big influence in young Eddie and Clyde as a roll model of the Hawaiian style. He sure made a big impression on all of us young highschool kids growing up in the islands back then.

The last time I saw Tiger was many years later putting out the Hanalei river with Bill Hamilton to go check the surf. Tiger was in another boat coming in from fishing. Bill pulled up to the side of their boat to have a chat. Bill and Tiger were good friends, strong mutual respect. After quick greetings they quickly started comparing what each had been offered for their Duke trophies. "I was offered 3k said Bill"...."Whow bra, I was offered 5"....big laughter....I know Tiger would never sell his.

Bill introduced me and Tiger gave me a long look and smiled, oh I remember you from the early NS days....Aloha Brudda"....

That acknowledgement made my heart sing and still does today 8 years later. I've since met his daughter, who is married to a wonerful Musisian from Tahiti, Tapu.
To them and the rest of Tigers family, I send my kind thoughs and prayers and most of all my aloha.

Thanks for the great vibe and smiles in the true Hawaiian way....Tiger, long may you run. Aloha kelly Indiana Cooper and Jack McCoy, Sydney Australia, Fathers Day September 4, 2005

September 03, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember the first time I met Tiger like it was yesterday. It was my first time in Tsujido. I parked at the base of the foot bridge and walked up to the top to check the waves. When I got up there I found myself standing next to a man and thinking to myself "there is no way this guy is Japanese with all those tattoos and long hair." After standing there for about 10 minutes pretending to check out the surf, I was contemplating saying something in english to him. Finally after a long drawn out silence he turned to me me and said "no surf today today huh?" We talked there on the bridge for probably about a half hour. I think he was just happy to be able to speak english to american for the first time in a while. He ended up offering to teach me how to shape the following weekend in a small room at a shop we was working out of down the street. I was so exited. That weekend could not come fast enough. When that weekend rolled around I showed up at the shop and he introduced me to all the locals including one of my best friends to this day and also my now fiancee. I remember the following weeks vividly. I would give Tiger rides back to his house from the shop so he wouldnt have to ride his beach cruiser the whole 10 miles back to his house at Osaki. There were many times we sat in his house just talking for hours. His words were always profound to me. He was wise way beyond his years. I was honored to be able to participate in his last paddle at Shichiri in Japan. I really wish I could have seen him one last time to say "thank you" and "Aloha". He was truly a legend and one of the best men I have ever known. Tiger's memory will always live. Thank you Tiger. Jeff

September 14, 2005  
Anonymous his first wives granddaughter who has his last name. said...

my name is shawna-marie. i know tiger espere from my grandmother. He was her first husband and while with him had my uncle kala. i never really got to know them and what they were truly like but i can imagine the passion he had for the ocean. i carried his last name and so did my mom, i just wanted to give my respects to the man and his family. god bless.

October 04, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just came accross this. R.I.P. In about 1971 I was about 19 years old on the north shore of Kuai for the winter,near Haena. I had no transportation, and I was hitch-hiking to Hanalei to go surf. Tiger gave me a ride, and I'll always remember that act of kindness. And it wasn't just that he gave me a ride; I was just some haole kid that had just come over, but he treated me with respect. I can't say I really knew him, but I could tell he was a truly genuine and good person. Not to mention a great surfer.

April 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been away and just found out....I'm devistated...ALOHA amigo..We'll surf together again in Paradise....Lucky Tom, San Clemente

November 06, 2009  
Blogger SD said...

north shore 1967, tiger, eddie, gerry, jock, jeff the hackman, rabbit.......north shore surf syndicate....haliewa way before the jetty and harbor, great storm of that winter, moved some homes across the highway....cutting class at Leilehua HS when the swells got large.....tiger sticking up for this haole because we were all enjoying the waves and not the politics of who thought the waves belonged to. didn't joaquin die at the pipe that winter? wow, somehow those were the days.
old surfers never die, they just paddle slower in another universe and dimension

November 05, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tiger espere was my dad. Im his youngest daughter tetua. Nobody remembers me cuz wen he died i was only 6. I live in d.c now and i would like to thank all of you for your wonderful comments about him bcuz i hav very few memories of him so to hear about what a good hawaiian guy he was brings tears to my eyes. I know he watches over me bcuz wen i was 8 he came into my dream. He came from a bright light and i ran to him and started crying. Telling him i love and miss him. He told me tht he was okay and tht he loved me and my mom. To this day i have never forgotten that dream. I loved him very much and he will always watch over all of us:)

October 28, 2011  
Blogger PeteCress said...

I believe I sat next to Tiger in the lineup at Waimea Bay one winter in the late sixties.

I had one of Peter Cole's big wave guns and "Tigah" was riding an old Hobie or something with about 4" of the nose just broken off.

Unfortunataely, I cannot say that I knew him personally, but that guy had cojones.

September 03, 2015  

I met Tiger during a surf trip to Baja, Ca. in July 1968. I was on leave from the Army for 30 days. He was a very nice to me and loaned me one of his surfboards during a session at 3-M's just down the road from San Miguel Village. He was happy to coach me during that 3 day stay in Ensenada. The surf was very memorable as I rememberable riding 6' to 8' waves on his Chivas Monster Model Surfboards Hawaii. I didn't know Tiger well, but I knew I was in good company with Tiger, Sal and Joe Avila from Newport Beach.

December 08, 2015  

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