Mason Ho knows how to make your summer dreams come true. Here are five moves, from kinda easy to stupid hard.
Story by Elliot Struck
Summer’s starting to glow in Australia. And aside from scorched tar, bare skin and all things feel-good, that means cross-shore winds in the afternoon, no matter where you are, and usually pretty minimal swell. Luckily for you, Stab’s arranged a spice rack to give your sessions some extra pop in the warmer months. Summer’s all about fun, a subject that Hawaiian royal, Mason Ho, likes to celebrate. Below you’ll find what y’might like to call a stimulus package, provided by Mason and Stab. It’s not built so much on firm ground as pie in the sky, but the purpose is to stimulate your mind, get you thinking about the possibilities. Mason offers five-ish tricks he’s been trying or thinking about trying. Call it a reflex to the air-reverse saturation, but we figure that if you’re the kinda man who’s holding this magazine, you’re the kinda man who digs on something fresh to try in the ocean.
“I’ve got like three tricks in my head that I don’t wanna say,” says Mason, a man that makes Stab wanna surf, maybe more than anyone else. “Just cause I almost have them and I know there’s so much freak raw talent in Oz that they’ll just go land ‘em and I’ll just be rattled! I feel so bad holding out on them, but I know you’ll all do them, you fuckers! Sorry we gotta keep this rated PG-13, but I’m hanging onto my adult-rated tricks.”
1. Alley oop on your backside, with stalefish or slob grab. “I’ve been doing this little alley oop on my backside with a stalefish grab. I haven’t done a nice full rotation one, but I’ve done a couple where you just click it and it looks like it’s gonna be a spin, but you just stalefish it and don’t rotate it, and just ride it out all blissed-out. I haven’t popped a big full rotation one yet, no way, but I’ve been trying to, that’s for sure. I’ve tried them on a bunch of waves, everyone’s getting all pissed. I can’t do alley oops on my frontside! But backside, you’ve just gotta pop out to the beach, and stay over your board. Out and over, and hope you land on your board.
“I like them ‘cause, maybe, they’re kinda ugly. Grabbing stale on an alley oop, backside, is kinda simple once you try it a coupla time. It’s fun. But it starts getting tricky, I remember my first couple were high and nice, then I got stuck trying to do the spin out, and they got lower and lower. It went downhill a little so I kinda stopped doing them. Now I just pop them every now and then and I’m super psyched whenever I do them.
“It’s a stalefish to fakie. That’s the aim. You wanna do that, but sometimes you click it right and it just throws you full rotation. You’ve gotta keep your composure. You just pop it up, kick your tail down and grab stale, then land backwards as clean as you can.
“You can also do it slob and get way more centred over your board, play with how high you want the tail and stuff. You could flatten it, put it up, do whatever. If you grab slob you’re able to cheat the rotation more into a full spin, too.”
2. Disco floater to 360 out. “One of my favourite little fun ones is a disco floater to 360 out. You go up on a floater, then you just cross-step, then do a 360 out of it. You wanna be going pretty fast so you can do a long floater. Then, when you’re floating, you just kick your back foot forward. Then to 360 out, you could either dig your arm into the top of the wave and push your tail down to pivot around – that’s the easiest way, just crush the barrel real quick and crumble it down and go down with it – or, after the disco, you re-compose and keep floating for a little bit, then just go boom! and push the tail down. You want a pretty long coping.
“It’s cool ‘cause it’s super old school. I saw Parko do a disco floater, and when I was a kid I remember seeing Kalani Chapman doing floater 360s. It’s full 90s! It’s a 90s combo move right there.”
3. Club sandwich in the barrel. “There’s one that Robbie Page was telling me about when we did a trip to Snapper. He was saying he wants to see someone pull in, and then straight outta the barrel bust one of those inverted three trips, kinda still under the lip. Those ones that Josh Kerr and Jeremy Flores do. He was saying, “If it’s not in the barrel, I want it right out of it.” So Uncle Robbie told me to do it a while ago and every now and then I’ll remember it and try it. There’s a certain wave for that thing.
“You kinda do like a baby bottom turn in the barrel, and you kinda almost don’t go near the lip, you just grab your rail and whip it! Torque it! You just grab your rail and contort into the mould, and just land that thing. If you can’t do it on a regular shortboard, I’m sure you could find some mischievous little thing to do it on.”
4. Backside backflip. “One of them is a backside backflip 360, but just grabbed indy. I’ve come pretty close a coupla times. Nainoa Surratt is one of the guy’s I looked up to over here, just ‘cause he was one of the only kids who was a tiny grom with 15 boards in his boardroom, like world junior champ, I was just like,”Hoo, Nainoa’s the man!” When he was 16, he was on that trip with Laird Hamilton in Tahiti when Laird got the millennium wave. After that he just quit surfing, he was over it. Anyway, he never surfs now, but sometimes he gets all psyched and gets back into it. So, I saw him just paddle out at Rockies, and he does this full indy backflip, boom! And since then, I’ve tried a couple of them.
“It’s kinda like Flynn Novak’s flip, but it’s an indy grab and tight, and on your backside. You can really feel it if you lock the grab right. It’s not like doing a rodeo, you don’t hit it as vert. It’s more of a straight, fakie trip again. On a left, you’d hit at two o’clock. You’re just backflipping off the side wedge into the wind. You just burn down the line and hit it the same kinda way you would if you were just doing a regular backside air. You’re going for a backside air, then you clear your mind real quick, like “fuck that!”, just grab indy and style out, ugh! Nowadays if it’s a backside whip it’s so natural, it’s your natural instinct. It’s super gnarly to do backside air 360s, but with this one you’ve just gotta spazz. The only ones I’ve come super close to look all spazzed out. But, I kinda like the spazziness. I looked at it afterwards and it’s like, hoo brah! It looks like I’m leaving it but really I almost did it! Hopefully I’ll crack one soon in front of all the boys. You don’t have any idea where you’re landing, you just blind shoot it and stay low. Whenever you’re low, you’ll pull it (laughs).”
5. Backside tweaked out method grab. “A backside method grab, super tweaked out! Picture those tweaked out frontside slobs that Dane Reynolds does, but done on your backside with a heelside grab. You’re grabbing method and jamming your back foot out (but not taking it off the board), so you get all boned out. I’ve tried these but never been able to bone it out properly. It seems like I try and backslap. I think maybe when the section and wind’s right, you could crack a huge one of those and bone it right out. You gotta do it all with your legs and hardly move your upper body. That way you don’t lean in too much and don’t go into a spin. You’ve got your back to the beach but you’re looking over the shoulder of your grabbing arm, then you let go, straighten your board back out and flatten it to land.”
And if those don’t tickle you… “Another fun one for me lately has been just to hang five as hard as you can in the gnarliest section that you can. I’ll just take off on random rights that are closing out and just hang five in them. That’s one that’s been keeping my sessions super fun lately. It’d also be crazy to do a switch air. I haven’t really done like, a legit switch air yet. I try to go switch, but maybe only two or three times a sesh. Once in a blue moon I’ll surf switch for a whole session, like, if I’m having a really good session I’ll start going goofy the whole time. You know how when you have a good sesh you think you can do everything?”