Stab Magazine | Mason Ho Teaches Us How To Fall In Shallow Water
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Mason Ho Teaches Us How To Fall In Shallow Water

“You gotta ball up, and put your fists in front of your face like a boxer!”

cinema // Jun 14, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Mason Ho loves rocks. Or at least he can stand them. Errr… survive them? Yeah, that’s probably more like it.

Above is a video featuring some of Mason’s greatest collisions with the ocean floor, along with a few happy makes.

After watching this video, we got to thinking: How exactly does Mason, who is less than three months from his 30th birthday, escape all of these situations unscathed?

As it turns out, he doesn’t.

Stab was informed that on a recent trip, Mason got pretty messed up after slamming into some rocks. Since that footage has yet to be released, we decided to get Mase on the phone to hear exactly what happened.  

Stab: Mase, we heard you just had a fun trip with Mick!
Mason Ho: Oh yeah. Somewhere very cold actually, but not super cold. We got some really nice reef breaks and then a super sick sandbar. Then he got this wedge at the end, but I just had to watch while Mick surfed…

Why? What happened?
I just pretty much slammed into rocks. We were surfing with these cool local guys, and none of them were going on this wave, so I should have known. But I figured it was my chance, so I went on it, pulled in, then the wave had a little fat spot so it started to chandelier. I tried to shoot over the fat spot but it bounced me, peeled me off my board, then I just kinda fell backwards and up in the air. Then I punched through the water, and I remember trying to ball up but I couldn’t because I fell so awkward. I was under water just kinda dangling – not like I normally do it in a little ball.

So I hit this rock… I think it was like a table-ledge rock with a little divot under it, or it was just a rock that was angled toward me. But long story short, I got folded over that rock and I felt it trying to suck me under it, so I went into this survival squirm where I kinda pushed my ribs over the rock… and it crunched me. Knocked the wind right out of me. But luckily it spit me up so I didn’t get stuck under it. I don’t know if it was a cave or a tight nook or something, but it tried to pull me inside and when I did that little squirm it shot me back out.

So did it break a rib or something?
No no no, my ribs are all fine… Or, I mean they’re not broken at least. They might be a little dislocated or something. But I just got home and my man Mark Kozuki has been working on me and now I’m back on the track. Between Mark and the Elixicure stuff that I use, I’m ready to go again.

Well I’m glad you’re feeling better! Now, tell me about this secret ‘ball’ technique you use when falling…
For me, everytime when I fall, I kinda just tuck into a ball and cover my face with my knuckles, kinda like you’re boxing. You block your face with your knuckles, because you’re better off blasting those on the reef than your face or whatever. I sometimes have this bad habit where I turn my hands over to feel around, but I sliced my hand pretty bad doing that this time. If it was any lower, I would have slit my wrist for sure. I almost needed to get stitches. So it’s definitely better to keep ‘em as fists.

Where’d you learn this?
My dad told me since I was a kid to ball-up and get tight when you fall. Because you never wanna be this big, loose scarecrow under water. You’ll just snap your ligaments right off. Sometimes when you’re in a panic you can’t really ball up, but now even when I’m surfing big barrels, especially at Pipe and Backdoor, I always jump toward my right shoulder, ball up, and put my fists in front of my face. So when I was down in Oz, I was balling up a bunch and just bouncing off the reef left and right, hitting everything, but sometimes you fall awkward and you can’t wrap up into a ball. And that’s what happened on my bad one.

How does this wipeout rank on your list of awful rock bounces?
[Laughs] I love that list right there, I take pride… But honestly, this one barely made the top-25. It’s not even in my top-20, I don’t think. But maybe in that 23-25, because I’ve never really had the wind knocked out of me, and I’ve always been super scared of that, and it happened here.

Hopefully Mason’s ‘ball’ technique helps to protect you from future spills, but should it fail, or should you just fall the same dumb way you always have and get worked in the process, Mason recommends you use Elixicure for pain relief. (With the special promo code ‘aloha’, you’ll even save some shekels)

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