How Mason Ho Made Mick Fanning And Rip Curl Execs Shed Tears For Sheldon Paishon - Stab Mag

Live In 8 Days: Stab High Japan Presented By Monster Energy

1 Views
"(Sheldon) would be like 'Why are John John and Zeke Lau sponsored but not me?'" Mason said. "And I just (diabolical laughter). And he laughed about it, but I knew we had to document it. His confidence was on a cloud but it was real. And it makes me realize if he’s thinking this and I got all these opportunities, I should at least be thinking that. It always kept my motivation high." Framegrab: Alani Media

How Mason Ho Made Mick Fanning And Rip Curl Execs Shed Tears For Sheldon Paishon

“All we need is five shirts and five trunks. I swear I’ll get him to cry!”

features // Oct 10, 2023
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

When Mason Ho commits to something, he commits.

He’ll surf solid Pipeline on boards big and small, glide (relatively) unscathed over exposed rocks, and use his own dime to help his best friend get his first surfing sponsorship.

Below is a transcription of a conversation between Mason and Stab’s Brendan Buckley about the making of Through The Doggy Door, a gripping story about Sheldon Paishon’s path from homeless to professional surfer. You can listen to the interview in its entirety on this week’s episode of The Drop, or see below for the brevity/clarity version. 

Sheldon not wasting any time making room for that sticker. Framegrab: Alani Media

Stab: In the film credits, it says the movie was made by Joe Alani and Mason Ho. What role did you play in creating the film, besides narrating and surfing?

Mason Ho: Well, the origin of this movie is really back when we were kids. When Sheldon and I were growing up, we were both like, “There’s no way you and me aren’t going to be battling each other for world titles. We can both be as crazy as we want to be, but in 5 to 10 years, let’s go do titles.”

Eventually, Sheldon went his way and I went my way. I was out traveling and competing while he was still in Hawaii, so he turned into a surf buddy who I’d cruise with in between the QS. He’s always kept me sharp because he’d talk a lot of shit to me. Usually, I’m kinda sensitive and don’t like when people talk shit to me. But he’d talk shit and still hype me up. He did something that few people do.

I told him, “Stay on your game, and we’re going to go on a surf trip soon.” I was getting used to the Indo thing and had got it wired. So I told him if he saved $500, I’d take him to Desert Point. And he ended up saving $1,000, So I took him on this trip. 

When we were at Deserts, Sheldon got a water clip throwing up a “W” [for the West Side] in the barrel right at sunset. And if you know his story, it looks like the end of a Hollywood movie. Joe [Alani] and I just looked at each other and started laughing about how it would be the perfect ending to a documentary about Sheldon’s life, with some crazy orchestra music in the background. Joe was like, “Yeah, but making a movie takes money and time.” So I said “Fuck it, I’ll get you money. Let’s do it.”

The big joke was that we weren’t even gonna tell Sheldon we were doing this. Let’s just film him without letting him know. Because he was so funny. Every day we’d surf together, he’d land and air and point to his nose yelling, “Where’s the sticker?” You’d almost think he’s joking, but he wasn’t. We’d laugh every time. I told Rory [Pringle], “Keep your eye on him, film everything, and film him talking shit.” 

Sheldon shares Mason’s fondness for dry reef runners. Framegrab: Alani Media

With the movie, I started paying for a lot of stuff, and it was getting bigger than what I could budget myself. I pitched it to the lower-level Rip Curl guys, and they were like, “We love that idea but we can’t play with money like that.” I said, “He needs a sponsor — it would just be five shirts and five trunks. I swear I’ll get him to cry!”

Because the thing about Sheldon is, he loves surf supplies like no one else. That’s another reason why I bring him around. He’d make me love my leash. I remember before when I’d travel, I needed to bring two leashes, two fins, two boards, all brand new. I don’t know if I was jaded, but I wanted fresh gear to surf. I didn’t want a stretched leash. But with him, he’d grab my leash with cracks in it then go rip Deserts. Then he’d joke about me needing new gear to rip, and I was like, “You little fucker.”

How many hours have you personally put into Doggy Door? 

That depends if you want to count us doing it as kids. We have footage of us right around the time we first met. We knew when Joe Alani was filming us back then that was going to be in our documentary. He probably told us that. We were so confident. 

We officially started the film around 2017, when Snapt3 was coming out. I did a trip to Bells and kind of infiltrated the Rip Curl headquarters and told them my idea. They gave me permission to give him a contract for a couple of shirts. I knew I could get him to cry because I knew how much he loved it. I told Joe to get the cameras ready. He said, “I’m going to rent reflectors and get this so Hollywood”.

When Sheldon signed, it was just for a couple of shirts. But that didn’t matter, all he wanted was the sticker on the nose. After we got all that stuff, we made a super cool 12-minute pilot. We showed it to the whole Rip Curl team that was in Hawaii. Mick, Owen, Neil [Ridgeway, Rip Curl’s chief brand & marketing officer] were all there. I was looking at Mick and all the bosses, and when it came to that scene, they were crying as hard as Sheldon.

Then Neil said they were going to sponsor him, for more than a couple of shirts.

To be fair, who doesn’t love fresh gear? Mason and Coco Ho, unboxing the 2021 Electric Acid Surfboard Test.

Regarding your YouTube, how involved are you in the filmmaking process, and is that something you’d like to keep exploring? 

I feel I kind of have an eye for a story in a surf session. It’s all the stuff before and after that my brain explodes on. For example, I was with Clay Marzo the other day just filming him in the grocery store. He’s so funny. He loves food so much, he must have picked up 50 eggplants before he found the two he wanted. Then we went to surf this little reform wave and just had a blast. To me, adding that little story in with the surfing makes it so much better.

On a larger scale, I definitely want to keep making cool films. I like this one of Sheldon’s because I feel like it sheds light on something that’s pretty common in Hawaii. The homelessness is super bad. I remember stepping over homeless people to go surf V-Land when Coco and I were younger. And there are still homeless people in the old V-Land trails. It’s really bad. But with Sheldon… I wasn’t taking shits in the keyhole before school. That was heavy when he told me that. 

My dad actually went through a lot of similar shit. And he tripped out when he watched the movie. I think the project made my dad really proud of me. He’s really proud every day I surf, but when I made that I got a little different vibe from him because he went through it too. That’s partly why I wanted to do it, because Sheldon reminds me of my dad. It felt like a duty. It helps him, it helps me, it just helps the world. If you can enjoy it for 90 minutes, it makes me happy.  

Watch Through The Doggy Door here.

Comments

Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up

Advertisement

Most Recent

How To Win Stab High Japan, Presented By Monster Energy

A statistical analysis of the 493 airs attempted in previous chlorinated editions.

Jun 16, 2024

Watch: An Intimate Portrait Of The Wave, Village, And People At The End Of The Road

Oxbow’s ‘Children of Teahupo’o’ is playing exclusively on Stab Premium for the next two weeks. 

Jun 15, 2024

Fuck It, Run The Entire CT In Indo

A historic beginning to the Indonesian dry season.

Jun 14, 2024

Ferrari Boyz: Holly Wawn

"I've had 4, 5, maybe 6 cars... I'm a car dealer I reckon."

Jun 13, 2024

A Miscalculated Shallow Dive, Neck-First, Into The Waters Of Japanese Surfing

How is surfing different in the land of cherry blossoms?

Jun 13, 2024

How Has Ian Crane Made 4/5 Stab High Finals?

And who he's most afraid of competing against in Japan.

Jun 13, 2024

“I Haven’t Seen Anyone That Young And That Keen For Heavy Waves In A Decade” —Shane Dorian

Jacob Turner is 16 years old and trying to paddle tow sets at Teahupo'o...on his…

Jun 12, 2024

Long Read: 1,000 Ways To Die In Indonesia

18,000 islands of beautiful people, world-class waves, and danger around every corner.

Jun 11, 2024

Watch: Craig Anderson And Kaito Ohashi Find (Mostly) Empty Waves In Southeast Asia

Oh, and enter to win a grand worth of DB gear.

Jun 11, 2024

Brad Gerlach Rode A 600cc Motorbike Through Europe’s 1980’s Psychedelic Renaissance  

"Fuck London. Let’s just buy motorcycles tomorrow and drive to France, man."

Jun 11, 2024

Caroline Marks Goes Two-In-A-Row And John John Florence Wins First CT Event Since 2020 At The Surf City El Salvador Pro

Plus, we asked Chris Cote for a look into the commentary team's psyche and Griff…

Jun 9, 2024

Why Is Mavericks Core Getting Overrun By Yuppies?

And other questions from our audience — answered by Pete Mel, Mick Fanning, and Joel…

Jun 9, 2024

Everything Worth Remembering From 4 (Mostly) Forgettable Quarterfinals In El Salvador

Plus, what's the consensus on the Griff vs. João kerfluffle?

Jun 8, 2024

Wildcard Big-dogs Italo, Yago Pops The Cork, And Griffin Cops An Ambiguous Interference On Day 2 In El Salvador

"Honestly, that was a bad... uhh I mean, a tough call." - Strider

Jun 8, 2024

Let’s Talk About This Griffin Interference…

"Don't hate the player, hate the game." - Joao Chianca.

Jun 8, 2024

Chippa Wilson Picks The Air Section We’ll Be Using For Stab High Japan Presented By Monster Energy

PerfectSwell Shizunami has 4 ramps to choose from — which one excites our 2019 champ?

Jun 8, 2024

JJF And Yago Soar, Brisa And Molly Sear, And Olympic Surfers Get Drug Tested On Day 1 Of Surf City El Salvador Pro

"These rocks are like basketballs covered in slime."

Jun 7, 2024

Cheat Codes: Optimizing Surfing’s Pain-To-Joy Ratio With Mason Ho

How to keep your skull intact, your forecast accurate, and your morale unbothered — no…

Jun 6, 2024
Advertisement