Surf Fans And Athletes Urge WSL To #PutMaseInTheMasters - Stab Mag
Mason is always finding the weird ones, and we love it. Photo: WSL

Surf Fans And Athletes Urge WSL To #PutMaseInTheMasters

Mason Ho is the fiscally responsible wildcard decision.

news // Jan 20, 2022
Words by Michael Ciaramella
Reading Time: 4 minutes

A WSL Championship Tour event includes 36 male competitors, 34 of which are full-time CT surfers.

The other two are “event wildcards”.

While the situation varies from comp to comp, generally speaking, one event wildcards goes to a local trials winner and the other is given to the event’s main sponsor.

For the 2022 Billabong Masters Pro Pipeline, the two male wildcards will be Hawaii’s Barron Mamiya and Peru’s Miguel Tudela.

Barron earned his spot by placing second to John Florence (who is already on the CT) in the recent HIC Pipeline Pro, which served as the local trials for this year’s event. This will be Barron’s third CT appearance and second Pipe Masters. His best result thus far is a 25th.

Miguel got his spot via his sponsor Billabong, who chose the Peruvian because: 1. their local stud, Josh Moniz, is still recovering from his incident at Supertubos, and 2. Miguel actually qualified for the 2021 Pipe Masters via the trials, but was injured in the first round and forced to withdraw. This will be the first CT start of Miguel’s career, however, he did compete in the 2021 Olympic Games.

While these wildcard surfers have been locked in for quite some time, the WSL recently published a gallery on their Instagram, highlighting the fact that Barron and Miguel (along with the female wildcard Moana Wong) would be competing in the Pipe CT on January 29.

That opened up the floodgates to a horde of passionate commenters.

It’s happening.

While some users were quick to prop up the current wildcard selections (Moana and Barron in particular), another group was adamant that the WSL had missed an obvious wildcard inclusion — recent Backdoor Shootout winner, Electric Acid Surfboard Test co-star, and currently the Stab Surfer of the Year number four, Mason Ho.

With the two male wildcards already announced, the WSL isn’t in a position to take an opportunity away from Barron or Miguel. That means in order for Mason to get in, another surfer has to get out.

We already know that Ryan Callinan is recovering from wrist surgery following an early-January air gone awry. When we spoke with Ryan, he said it was tentative whether or not he would surf in the Pipe event.

“It’s still a bit up in the air at the moment,” Ryan concluded.

Jordy get your gun. Photo: WSL

We also spoke with Jordy Lawler, the first surfer off the 2021 Challenger Series cutline, who bought a ticket to Hawaii the minute he’d heard Ryan’s prognosis. In Jordy’s mind, should Ryan not be well enough to compete in the event, he would be an obvious choice for the WSL to give the open Pipe spot.

Officially, if Ryan pulls out, the decision of his replacement goes to the WSL’s Tours and Competition office. They can choose anyone they please, from Jordy Lawler to Kala Grace to Stab‘s own Big Dick Power Surfer. And all of those would be great choices. But probably not as great as Mason Ho.

Mason’s credentials at Pipe speak for themselves. He obviously won last week’s Backdoor Shootout — and another in 2015 — but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Mason has also made two finals in the Volcom Pipe Pro, one of which saw him finish in a Florence-Slater sandwich (Mason beat Kelly but lost to John), and he’s a standout in just about every winter session out there.

But it’s not just freesurfs, Q’s, and Pipe specialty events that Mason has excelled in — he’s also beaten the CT boys at their own game, nabbing a 3rd at the 2015 Pipe Masters, and in the process creating one of the most viral WSL moments of all time, before the WSL grabbed some tissues and wiped it off the internet for good.

If you know, you know.

But at the end of the day, the WSL is a business, and they must always look after their bottom line. And the bottom line is, making Mason Ho a Pipeline wildcard would be a great financial decision for the League, who directly benefit from increased viewership of their events.

How would Mason provide that kind of value? I’ve got just one stat for you:

In the midst of our 2022 Stab Surfer of the Year poll, we asked our Stab Premium subscribers to submit their votes. The prompt was simple: which surfers inspired you most this year?

Whose name do you think was on the majority of people’s lists?

Not John, not Gab, not Italo, not Kelly, no. It was Mason Ho — the number one voted surfer from the most critical and considerate fans in the world, all of whom (time-zone permitting) would tune into the Pipe Masters to watch Mason compete.

More eyeballs = more sponsorship dollars = more time that Ziff can continue defending this whole thing to his accountant. So make the right decision, WSL Tours and Competition office. Give Mason a go.

Meanwhile, somewhere in an ice bath, Koa Smith is wondering what the fuck happened to Zeke Lau’s Ultimate Surfer slots.


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

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

“I Don’t Want To Say Schizophrenic But We Saw A Plethora Of Different Scenarios To The Wave Out Here”

Rio Waida, Teresa Bonvalot, Harrison Roach & Honolua Bloomfield win Manly.

May 24, 2022

The Former Top 5 Surfer Carrying The Next Big Surfer-Owned Beer Company On His Back 

What would you do if Matt Hoy showed up to deliver you beer?

May 23, 2022

CT Told To Elect Single Surfers Rep From Shortlist Of Four Tasked With Reviewing All Future WSL Policy Changes Onboard ‘Special Committee’

Take your pick: Tyler Wright, Jadson Andre, Tatiana Weston-Webb or Griffin Colapinto.

May 23, 2022

What Happened To The Best Surf Film Ever Made?

Captain Martin Daly demystifies the conspiracies surrounding his and Michael Oblowitz's Surfer Poll-winning "Sea of…

May 23, 2022

Stab Podcast: The Dane Reynolds Interview

Carrying the torch for authentic creativity, storytelling, performance and passion.

May 23, 2022

Waves To Be Lost And Waves To Be Found 

A silver lining to the problem of sea level rise.

May 22, 2022

California University Professors Claim (Most) Wetsuits Are Being Made Wrong In Peppery Peer-Reviewed Study

“What the surf industry is marketing is not being driven by science.”

May 22, 2022

Why G-Land’s CT Comeback Is Ten Years Late

A tale of geopolitics, swooshes in Surf City, and hurricanes in the urban jungle.

May 21, 2022

An Interview With Transgender Longboarding Champion Sasha Jane Lowerson

"In longboarding, the girls are so much better than the guys, and that's just a…

May 21, 2022


The Best Surfing I’ve Ever Seen: Blake Kueny

Insight from a man who spent good years pointing a camera in John John’s general…

May 20, 2022

First Transgender Woman To Compete In Surfing Wins WA Longboard Event

History has been written

May 20, 2022

WSL Now Sponsored By Ladder

A seemingly odd partnership that actually makes perfect sense.

May 19, 2022

Now Unlocked: Former’s New Film, ‘System Is Yours’

17-minutes of pleasure from Dane Reynolds, Craig Anderson, Droid, Ben Howard and Kaito Ohashi.

May 19, 2022


Bobby Martinez Isn’t Going To Sweet Talk You Into The Bobby Quad

"It kept me in the water on shitty little gutless days. Take that how you…

May 19, 2022

Dane Reynolds On “The Best Thing In The World,” Business, Fin Splay, The WSL, Modern Surf Culture And More

The Stab Interview: Sealtooth.

May 18, 2022


Chapter11 Drops Three New Edits

Clean waves, cleaner rail work, and A-frame goodness.  

May 18, 2022


The First Time JJF Visited The GOAT Ranch

When wavepools mesmerized.

May 18, 2022

A Small Fat Nothing Burger

The Snapper CS will be a tough act to follow for Manly. Here’s why.

May 18, 2022