Mason Ho signs with Rip Curl, and Snake is coaching Dane Reynolds
Story by Lucas Townsend
When there isn’t waves there isn’t any comp, if there isn’t any comp there isn’t any comp reports, and if there isn’t comp reports then we’re fucking bored so we go and listen and here’s what we’ve heard while there hasn’t been any waves.
Yesterday on the North Shore Mason Ho picked up a new decal for the nose of his board in the form of - wait for it - a Rip Curl logo. Yeah! Rip Curl, the brand that’s owned the Mens World Title for two years has unexpectedly signed the most charismatic surfer in the world. Mase, 26, has been under-utilised for the past five years and while unorthodox, this partnership will be mutually awesome for everyone. Mason's had Lost and Etnies as his majors, never owning quite the financial backing and global scope to party on our pixels as much as we damn-well demand it. Rip Curl needs edge. And Mason needs the $200k we’re hearing he sealed. Stab understands Mason and pops Mike had a few demands, understandably. One of which being Rip Curl had to pen 20 reasons why he should make the switch. A move that's technically known in the biz as Boss. Things are still amicable with Lost though, as Mase will continue to have Lost surfboards under his feet. And where Rip Curl found the cash is as mysterious as Pat Parnell’s whereabouts (read on!). They re-signed Alana last year, Owen Wright last month, and sister Tyler is up for money talks, too. But T Knox would’ve relieved some budget and the GPS watch is moving fast off shelves at 500 bones each. Then there’s all that rubber with its glorious margins. There’s something about a Hawaiian sponsored by an iconic wetsuit company that seems a little strange but Mason will pair up nicely with Dillon Perillo who’s ditched the jersey this year to surf free and study physics. True story. Travel is a big part of this brand’s DNA and Mason in more waves, in more locations is a fine investment for views and impressions. His wildcard appearance at Bells Beach will surely spice up an often bland wall. And if he doesn’t have one, well he should.
Julian Wilson can figure out a board’s performance in just one wave. Yes, just one wave and he can tell between dud and divine. He’s meticulous with his crafts. It’s why he’s palmed off hefty contracts for exclusive fibreglass-to-feet rights because no one could deliver the consistent high-standard he requires. Instead, he rides a variety of JS, Biolos (Mayhem) and Channel Islands boards. But Jules recently penned his first board deal since Luke Short Designs (LSD) back in the Young Guns days. And it’s with shapers of fun, Catch Surf. While it’s a foam-to-feet exclusive agreement, his knife collection will remain varied on tour this year. Just not in between the flags at Tamarama Beach.
Did you notice who's been missing from the WSL this year? Pat Parnell and Owen Wilson, right?! At the start of last year the WSL introduced a fixed (uh, yeah) and nervous commentary team. While there were a few teething problems, for the most part the squad got on point by Hawaii. But Pat Parnell didn’t walk out of his 12 month review with a gig in the booth and like Stab advised he needed to swap with the Clooney-handsome Ronnie Blakey. Ronnie is an encyclopedia of surf knowledge, has been ‘round this watery block for years and has suitably been upgraded to the desk. The live format didn’t work for Pat. Wit and fluidity in real-time is a hard muscle to flex and Pat is brilliant in the craft of hosting (remember Fuel TV’s Daily Habit). But turns aren’t “cuts” and O Wright isn’t “O Wilson” and Pat needs a script. Simple. While Pat was marched from the desk, don’t be surprised if he re-appears in the WSL’s new 6000-square foot production space opening up in Santa Monica, California HQ. The studio will create content to fill those eight-minute lulls during heats and longer-form documentaries, and Pat would be at home in front of the teleprompter.
Jake Paterson has a new pup to train since coming on as Leo Fioravanti’s Quey coach (and also giving it a bash himself). It’s Dane Reynolds. Name familiar? Dane told Stab he couldn’t shake the nerves in his round one heat against Gabriel Medina and Wiggolly Dantas. “A lot of the time I can turn those nerves into positive psyche up energy,” said Dane. “But I just couldn’t snap out of it. I had a meeting with Quiksilver afterwards and they suggested talking to Snake. So I texted him: can you help with my heat? He was super amped, and texted back: fuck yeah, lets smash ‘em! or something like that. All we did though was paddle out at D-Bah and he said which board looked better. I’ve never been coached before. I really have no idea what he’s going to say before my next heat.” But it’ll be a one-time affair because Dane’s got bigger fish to burn the fuck out of this year. The QS isn’t his style. But Snake is a good man to have in your corner when it comes to jerseys. Mr Paterson is surfing’s biggest overachiever. He won J-Bay twice, and is even a Pipe Master. Plus… He watches more surfing events than any other surfer alive.
If you’ve been asking yourself why the Quiksilver Pro, Gold Coast didn’t run on March 3 at D’bah, just around the corner from main site Snapper, you’re probably not alone. But optimism is the key to sanity when it comes to event organisation. And Duranbah is less of a back-up plan as it is an absolute last resort. Obviously the original Quiksilver Pro setup deal was made with the City of Gold Coast / Events and Tourism QLD, but since the border of NSW cleaves right between Snapper and Duranbah, if the event were to move to D’bah, it then has to go through Tweed Shire Council (NSW). After speaking with a spokesperson at Tweed Shire Council, Stab learned that surfing’s governing body books D’bah every year as a backup – this year included. They booked it, a licence was issued, and they’re free to use it any time during the waiting period. The cost of booking out a beach for a commercial event is... $178, and $99 every day after that. That covers 'em to the shoreline. Then it becomes an aquatic licence, which costs $364 through Roads and Maritime NSW… Which would suggest that, even if the wild amount of $80k relocation costs that Stab has been hearing is a real thing, then it's most likely a fee due to the QLD side for moving out of their front yard. “The option to move to D’Bah would be to maximise the two-day swell the best we can to be in the best position to hopefully finish by Wednesday (March 11),” says WSL CT Deputy Commissioner, Renato Hickel. "If we end up at D’Bah and for some reason and the swell starts building and the tide drops, we can always stop the contest for an hour and bring it back to Snapper if the surf is big enough and better.”