See this kid? He has royal DNA – the blood of a dozen triple crowns, a world title and a cupful of Pipe Masters. Shake in a lil Rocky Point theatrics and you create a surfer that embodies the very essence of a good time. Portrait: Peter Taras
RAINY DAY WINTER FUN WITH MASON HO
From Stab issue 58, available now! An enchanting afternoon in springtime California whereupon Mason Ho lights up on “getting sixties and beautiful-ed on a moonlight beach”, what it’s like when tomcats push up against his lil sister Coco, whether or not John John is better than Kolohe, the mental age of Western Australian gals, head checks at Backdoor, his imitation of the suddenly dead Michael Peterson and the evaporation of the much vaunted aloha spirit on the North Shore every year…
Interview by Derek Rielly
How about we scrawl a lil line in the sand here. There’ ain’t a soul on god’s holy planet that makes y’wanna hit the water like 23-year-old Mr Ho, from Hawaii’s famous Sunset Beach. With the cleanest, freest, fruitiest non-style we’ve ever seen and with a flotilla of Biolos-shaped ugly ducklings, Mason ain’t afraid to push hard on the accelerator and boost pedals. And, for another thing, Mason’s the first cat y’pals at Stab ever saw nail a backside oop. And, that’s a familiar name, ain’t it? Yup, his dad Mike is a Pipe Master and a Triple Crown winner and his Uncle, Mr Derek Ho, scooped himself a world title in 1993 in a sudden-death shoot-out at Pipe. Like his surfing, Mason is loose of lip and free of a censor button. One of the best.
Stab: How about we talk about your head checks at Backdoor? Head checks in 10-foot toobs at the Pipe Masters? That shit is… on…
Mason: Y’ever try it? I swear it’s a dick thing, don’t even try it. I think, frick, it’s such a habit but I keep on doing ‘em. Every time I watch a clip I think, frick, stop doing it!
Hoo, but at Backdoor? That’s something else… Yeah, that was nice doing it at Backdoor. The look down’s so easy I’ll do it on every thing. And then I got hooked on it. And now, it’s like, damn it, I try not to do it. But it still feels good.
Describe for me the visionary feel-good experience…
Well, sometimes I look at my rail, sometimes I look at my foot but on a big wave I’ll try and see the bottom. On a barrelling wave at Backdoor it sucks up so hard you can see the reef. All the boys at the Volcom house were laughing and teasing me and I know they’re teasing me because they’re going, “Oh, it’s sick!” I’m, like, “Fuck you guys, I’m just checking out my ball sack!” Now, suddenly, every time I look down I look at my ball sack.
It always looks like you’re gassin’ when y’surf. Are y’really having that much fun?
I’m having so much fun it’s… ridiculous! I’m addicted to filming and surfing!
In your Instagram feed, you write about how much you’re into surfing naked.
I hate to say it, but I do that so much. People would think I was out to lunch if they knew how much I do that.
It’s a beautiful sensation, kinda dreamlike, ethereal… Wow, wait, is there a question about surfing naked?
Not really, just musing aloud…
I’ve been surfing naked at night a lot lately. Every full moon for the past couple of months it’s been perfect. I don’t got much to do with chicks. I hang out with chicks and they’re always, like, (in a sing-song voice) “Let’s go on an adventure!” I’m, like, no way, I wanna kick it. My favourite adventure is, I tell ‘em, “Full moon time!” And, we go down the beach and get all sixties, all naked, and I go surfing naked, whatever, get all weird…
I’d be correct in presuming that y’gets sandy and freaky with the gal après surf?
Ex-aaaaa-ctly! (Laughing) Oohhh… ohhh… I don’t know if I should be saying that but… it’s all sixties… it’s all beautiful-ed out…
What kinda gals light you up? Y’into those honey-skinned Eurasians Hawaii’s famous for? I’m so bad, Derek, I think every girl is hot. Australia’s the raddest place, for sure.
Let me guess which state showers you with the most fun – Western Australia, specifically the liberated gals of Margaret River…
Everyone asks me and I tell them every single time the same answer – Western Australia. Like… boooooom! You can’t beat (surfing) The Box and the girls’ mentality over there. Too much fun! And, that Prevelly wine! Damn!
How would you describe the mentality of the gals?
The mentality is like a 17-year-old Hawaiian boy!
What’s it like when guys push up against your lil sister (Coco is 21)?
Oh, fuck, nowadays I just play dumb. When I was younger, I’d slap kids up the side of the head. I thought it was a super funny thing but kids would just get rattled. Nowadays, it just seems like I have too much respect for her. I’m kinda like… she let’s me hook up with all these… uh… I dunno… I don’t get any chicks actually.
That ain’t true.
Yeah, we try (laughs). But, she lets me fricken runaround so fricken… I just figure, fuck, I can’t be bringing all these chicks home every night and then just snap on her with one guy so, like, fuck it.
Are there any surfers you’re intimidated by?
Who’s better, Kolohe or John John?
Hooooo! That’s so sick. That’s the sickest! Who’s better? Let me think. You’d be so surprised how tight I am with both of them. Because, I’ve been staying at Brother’s house every summer since I was 10 years old. To this day, every single summer, almost all summer. I was just talking to Tina, Brother’s mom, and I’m moving in tomorrow. So, yeah, Brother’s like my full brother, literally. He was named after one of my uncles, Kolohe Bloomfield. John John, on the other hand, is the little brother I see at home every day. We surf together and he’s sooo cool. He’s, like, too cool I don’t even know what to think. He rips so fucking hard.
But, who’s better, that’s the question, let me think: oh brah, I can’t say. I’d get so busted. I like John John because, obviously, he can paddle out to Waimea, fricken pull-in at Backdoor and he’s fully up to par with all the boys at home… I mean, I’ve never seen Brother do that, yet. But, then, when it comes to me surfing every day in super tiny waves all I’m thinking about is how I grew up with Brother surfing at T-Street (in San Clemente, Kolohe’s home town).
Who has the most aloha on the North Shore?
Most… aloha… on the North Shore… sick question. I wonder.
Like, who could handle being dropped-in on five times without tearing someone’s head off?
Ah, so that’s how you put it. I was going to say Kalani Chapman. He’s, like, almost like a modern day Owl Chapman (Sunset stand-out, influential shaper and Kalani’s uncle) – super cool and groovy without even trying. He’s so nice – too nice to even try.
But, come to think of it, if he got burned five times at Pipe he’d rip someone’s head off.
Who has the least aloha?
It seems like all of us at home, we all try to have a lot of aloha on the land, we’re learning you need to have aloha to get through life, but in the water… (laughs)… we lose that aloha.
Is aloha variable? Like, in winter, does it evaporate completely?
That seems like it’s pretty true. A lot of people do that at home. My Dad’s never ever done that, though. He always seems super cool ‘cause he always has a lot of friends come in the winter. It seems like Dad’s always showing aloha, year round, so that’s what I’ve tried to copy. A lot of the boys get all… SNAAAPPPED!… when winter comes round like, “FUCK! THESE FUCKERS… AGAIN? FUCK!” And my Dad’s always telling ‘em like it ain’t going to change, you’re getting all nuts in the water. But, then, Dad kinda eggs everyone on. It’s fucked up. He eggs everybody on and then when he’s in the situation, he’s cool, but if it’s someone else he’ll be like, “Ho, what, you never even do nuthin!” I look at my Dad and go, “What? You just told me 10 times not to do anything and now you’re teasing my friend for not doing anything.”
What don’t we know about you?
I try to copy MP the most when I’m surfing. Big time. Because he’s PSYCCCCCHHHED! So in the moment!
What do you love about your surfing?
I love getting barrelled. It could be a one-foot barrel or a 30-foot barrel, whatever, just let me get barrelled. It’s such a sweet feeling. That’s my best manoeuvre. Airs are second. Turns are third. People can be, like, “Oh, you’ve got to do a big form carve.” But, all the guys who say that have never done a 10-foot air so they don’t know the feeling. You could be going a hundred miles an hour on a wave and do the hugest carve ever and to me that’s the third best feeling in the world. But, if I was going a hundred miles an hour and did a 20-foot air, and fucking stuck it, I’d be the happiest man. And, then, if I was going a hundred miles an hour inside a barrel? That’s number one.