Mason Ho On 2017: “Surf Beautiful Blue Wedges, With Beautiful Chicks!”

In many ways, 2016 was fucked. Donald, Brexit, Syria, Bowie, Prince, Princess Leia. 2016 in surfing, however, was less awful. But we weren’t entirely safe.

Whether your favourite CT’er was underscored, or you just couldn’t nail that frontside wrap, or you had the pleasure of a month-long flat spell (looking at you, Southern California), every surfer had their moment. 

But if there’s anyone out there who kept the vibes high in 2016, it’s Mason Ho.

Mason is one of the world’s top three most zesty and delightful surfers. It’s impossible to watch one of his edits, heats or interviews and not catch a smile.

And, what a year he’s had. “I’ve been busy,” Mason tells Stab. “I’ve certainly had a few weird little things that I’ve been trying to check off.”

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A Mason favourite: Flipping over knee-deep reef. Happy 2017!

Photography Dan Warbrick

Which is quite modest; He debuted at The Eddie, scooped CT wildcards, Rip Curl Searched with Mick Fanning, Tom Curren and more, and dropped one of the best web series in recent memory (License To Chill). How does he manage it all? Is it by blowing off steam at thumping Waimea? Airing over razor-sharp rocks? Feeding his cerulean curiosities by discovering mysto-waves in every corner of the world? What’s his secret to a year of pleasurable solutions?

“I’m just going 100 percent out there, surfing every day as much as I can,” Mase says. “One hundred percent going for the comps and 100 percent trying to film my clips. A lot of people say that’s bad, and say, ‘You’ll get caught up in one or the other.’ And as much as I want to change and shift towards one or the other, I almost can’t.

“Because in reality, I need to stay true to myself, and whether it be free surfing or competing, I want to give it 100 percent. But, I’m going do it my way and have a good time. That’s why I think when people ask me, ‘Wow, how do you always have so much fun when you’re out in the water?’ I just tell them that I do it by going 100 percent, all the time.”

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Creativity is the greatest motivator, but never forget the classics.

Photography Dan Warbrick

And contrary to popular belief, even Mason isn’t immune to the occasional misfortune. “I had a couple downs as well. I did a couple QS events through the year, had a couple bad draws, whatever. I always felt perfect, felt super solid, was the first guy on the beach at dark, like, ‘Ah yup, I’m on it.’ And then I would lose one, and then another one and then the third one. And then I would lose every single one and would say, ‘Wow that’s fucked up.’

“But I would still be the first guy on the beach thinking, ‘Well, I’m going to eventually crack one of these things on the road, it’s all good.’ I try not not to think about that and put a bad taste in my mouth, not only because I want to be an all-round wave guy but also because I just want to have a positive attitude and continue being that first guy on the beach every day. I stayed stoked from it, never let it really get me down, and continued to have a ball.” 

And just like the rest of us pious aspirers, Mason has his own set of resolutions he plans to stick to in the new year.

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"I’m going do it my way and have a good time," says Mase. "That’s why I think when people ask me, ‘Wow, how do you always have so much fun when you’re out in the water?’ I just tell them that I do it by going 100 percent, all the time.”

Photography Dan Warbrick

“Resolutions are cool, anything to help you be a better person. I’ve been working on my surfing and being a better surfer every day of my life, now I want to work on surrounding myself with good people and better experiences. And that can be through treating people better and being in better environments, and cutting all the bullshit out. 

“My advice would be just stay very true to yourself, but have some respectful boundaries. Think of your family before you want to go crazy and act like a kid — get into trouble, make a mess, whatever. Express yourself in a respectful way. Be true to yourself in a respectful way.

“Then, have it my way. Travel to the most beautiful places in the world and bring friends, surf beautiful blue side wedges with beautiful chicks.”

Doesn’t that sound nice.