Story by Derek Rielly
Two days ago, Mason Ho won the HIC Pro at Sunset Beach, a contest his father Michael won four times. The Ho family, including the just-as-famous-but-slightly-cuter Coco, live on the north-east flank of the North Shore at place called Backyards Sunset. And therefore it ain’t so much of a surprise that Michael’s son, 25-year-old Mason, was able to, excuse the tainted word, snatch his own Sunset trophy.
Mason’s preferred contest mix is the lithe and vigorous slash, with much darting and struggling, paired with a supple tube style, emerging like a dog shaking spray from his body. His victory speech was the lightest, funnest, least pretentious thing ever, striped with the scarcely believing pleasure of someone who’d just been given something he’d wanted his whole life.
Mason had only emerged (“Forty seconds ago!”) from a deserved nap when he agreed to submit to an interview.
STAB: Is that the Sunset Master? The Prince of Power?
MASON: (Laughter) Fuck. That.
Tell me about your speech. There may be a pedantic troll or two online who’ll say otherwise, but, personally, and on behalf of the devils here at Stab, we loved it. So light, so breezy, so you! Oh my gosh, that thing is… terrible. I don’t really remember it to be honest. I just remember screwing up.
You even used the word “surreal”! I just remember when I said that everyone kinda looked at me, like… what? That was funny. I shoulda just shut up.
You grew up at Backyards, there, did you always have yourself pencilled in for a win at Sunset some day? Driving past there every day I try and make some eye contact with it and think about it, like, “Come on, I gotta win one time, I gotta win this place.” That was super cool to win, right there. But it’s a baby step. It feels like a little baby step. I want more, yeah. I want more.
What did your dad, the four-time winner, say before the final? The only thing he did ask, I remember, I’d run over to wax my board real quick and he called and my friend’s, like, “Oh Brah! Your Dad’s on the phone” and then I talked to him and he’s, like, “What, do I have time? I wanna run home and grab a beer! Can I drink one before your final?” And I’m, “No you got no time, you gotta stay right there” ’cause he was helping me spot the lineup. I said, “You can’t go anywhere. I’ll be lost if you’re not there in the spot!” And he’s, like, ok whatever, and then when we started the final I was looking for him and I couldn’t find him. A couple of minutes later I saw him back in his spot and I was like, that fucker went and grabbed a beer! Heavy!
You throw much of a party? Yeah, man, we had a little thing for sure. I came home and… yep… drank a couple of beers with Pottz (Martin Potter). And then ate a little bit of food and then we dug out. We went to the Surfer Bar (at the Turtle Bay Hilton), just snipered it. Got pretty screwed up.
You want to light up on the high point? To be honest, I forgot a little… spurt… of it. But the craziest thing I witnessed that night was Burger’s (Keoni Nozaki) entry into the place. I was there already. I went with a couple of friends and we couldn’t get in touch with Cheeseburger and we’re in there and we’re all taking this group photo and it was mellow, everyone was buzzed, it was pretty cool, and all of a sudden Burger came in and the Surfer Bar, they’re already timid on all of us, we’ve used all our strings already, so any time we show up the question is, if they’ll let us in or not. Are you going to be mellow this time? Yeah, please, let us in! So we’re trying to be good and Burger came in just so hot. Yeah baby! Screaming at the top of his lungs. Jumping up and down trying to break the floor or his ankles, whatever could break first. I kept looking at security and grabbing Burger by the mouth and, like, “Brah, shoosh, shut up, you gotta be quiet!” And Burger was screaming FUCK THAT! FUCK YEAH! YEAH! YEAH! Luckily, we got away with it. That was the high point for me.
When you win a big contest, experience suggests pretty gals want to pal up. How was your experience? Ho ho ho. I thought I got a pretty good chick that night. I mean, I didn’t know where all the girls were, it was all rained out everywhere, so we got lucky. The Surfer Bar had the usuals, a nice little group of chicks and we all picked one and went our ways. I was stoked ’cause I always thought that if I won I was gonna bomb and get a nice hot girl and dig out. It was funny cause we did it like we do it every night when we go out. I had a chick at the Surfer Bar and I could’ve gone home and shut it short but then I was like, we’re gonna go, we’re doing the rounds. So we ended up a the Oakley house and just staying til four in the morning. And I remember towards the end of the night I was, like, yeah, this is how I want it, this is how I want to do it every night, just looking at a couple of handfuls of the boys, a couple of chicks, the last ones who could handle.
Gals try harder for champs. I think she gave me a little more time. Usually, they would’ve been, fuck this guy already, I can’t believe he’s making me wait this long. But she was kicking back… kept checking on me… and I was, yeah, this is sick…
Ain’t it great being a champ. Ha! Fuck! I don’t know. Being the champ. Fuck. It feels super good to win but I just remember the whole ceremony, you get chaired onto this podium first and you’re sitting there all by yourself. It’s all lonely. I was, like, come on boys, hurry up and get on with this thing. It feels awkward winning. But, it’s cool, I live for that.