A spiritual belief in pleasurable solutions! With Mason Ho
From Stab issue 78: Everything under the sun is in tune, but Mason’s son ain’t eclipsed by the moon… Words by Jake Howard | Photos by Laserwolf *Just before we dive in: “Hi, this is Mason Ho. I’m on vacation…permanently.” That’s the message that pre-rolls Mason’s voicemail. If the world’s-funnest-surfer cliché proceeds him, this message […]
From Stab issue 78: Everything under the sun is in tune, but Mason’s son ain’t eclipsed by the moon…
Words by Jake Howard | Photos by Laserwolf
*Just before we dive in: “Hi, this is Mason Ho. I’m on vacation…permanently.” That’s the message that pre-rolls Mason’s voicemail. If the world’s-funnest-surfer cliché proceeds him, this message only affirms it. Reports of Mason suffering from a case of staph had been circulating the Coconut Wireless (not true). Triple Crown season was kicking off with the Sunset Pro, and given his streaky competitive record, I didn’t know if he was ailing, en route to winning the thing, or doing backflips at Rocky Point.
Turns out it was the latter. It’s this spontaneity that’s somewhat plagued the 26-year-old’s career, but true to his friendly nature, within a few hours a text comes through: “Been surfing my brains out. Let’s connect tomorrow.” A response from a pro surfer is always encouraging. The next day comes. Ring. He picks up right away. Introductions are quick and he starts the conversation with, “Brah, I’m so surfed out right now, I can’t even move my legs.” The only time to conduct a proper interview with a pro surfer is when they’re incapacitated. Stab had Mason in the crosshairs like a lame deer. Trigger pulled, he launches into his killing spree in Mexico.
Lover’s In The Afternoon
I went over to Cabo in Mexico for the ‘QS contest. I didn’t really go so well. My sister won. So I went on a hardcore surf mission the whole rest of the trip. That Lover’s Beach wave, nobody really surfs over there, and so fuck, that whole trip I knew I was going to score. It was this wedgy, sandbar, shorebreak barrel. We’d go down there with our cooler full of beers, have a nice picnic and just surf all day. It was kind of like a closeout, but when the tide would hit, it would turn on. I never really knew what the tide was doing, so I just figured I’d go for two or three hours before it got good, then all of a sudden there’d be some makable barrels and an air section. Then the tide would just turn it off again. I’d stay out for a little longer and we’d call it a day.
The Mysto, Laserwolf
When I see waves I freak out so hard, I can barely call my friends to come out with me, so it’s not like I ever think of that calling-a-photographer nonsense. But Laserwolf, every time I’d go surf at home he’d make his way down there and we’ve become pretty good friends. He’s a classic. He is what he is, and he doesn’t want anybody knowing his name. Lost made a poster once with one of his photos and they felt bad, so they put a photo credit on there with his real name and he was like, “Noooooo!” and got really pissed off. He’s always wanted to go on a surf trip with me, and when I knew I was coming to Cabo I thought it would be a good trip for him. You know, it’s not too far, and maybe I can get some work done. He was all psyched to go and yada, yada, yada. We were on the full just wake-up and go-surf mission. We’d go down towards Shipwrecks or up to Lover’s everyday.
“Exactly What I Like”
We had a bunch of fun, I just don’t really know how to put it into usable words. It was a good time. The year before I maybe had too much fun, so this trip I was into gnarly surf-mode everyday, but there was one night. There was a concert on the beach during the contest, and my roommates didn’t want to go party, so I just walked down there myself and had a damn good time. I walked into that crowd and made like 30 friends instantly. Some guy from Maui, a couple chicks… all kinds of chicks, actually. Then it turned into exactly what I like, but I can’t talk about…pulling some chick onto the beach, yada, yada.
A Little Magic Carpet
Matt (Biolos) doesn’t make me too many small little boards, but fuck, when he does, it’s like my magic little carpet. I get pretty heartbroken when I hit the rocks or break one of those things. Mayhem’s a master of those fun kind of boards. I’m trying to do these ‘QS contests, so I’m always ordering quivers of contest shortboards, but he occasionally slips one or two fishes into my order. I want a whole quiver of them. It just seems like those boards, the barriers in your mind of what can be done in surfing, they get blown away. There are no barriers, you’re just thinking you can do anything. I love that.
Do I Stay or Do I Go?
The last two or three years I gave the’QS my full try, and I think this next year I’ll give it my all as well. But I think I’m going to incorporate more freesurf trips. Last year I got started with a result, and I thought, ‘Okay, I’m taking this full year serious.’ Then there were a couple little trips that I passed on, and I was just thinking, ‘I gotta make the tour! I gotta make the tour! I gotta make the tour!’ Anything I could do I was going to do it. So to go on these trips and go Hail Mary and maybe hurt myself, I just shined it. But then as the year went on I wasn’t doing too good in the contests for whatever reason and I just realised that, fuck, maybe that ain’t my approach. Towards the end of the year I started losing the passion, so I went on a few trips and then started winning heats again. Next year I’m going to find that happy medium – not too much, not too little. And the tour’s so weird, the grind, the qualifying tour, you can be the happiest surfer but eventually if you start going to these things, seeing the same guys every morning, battling, just trying to land three manoeuvres, it gets a little eggy to be honest.
A Family Affair
I remember when I was a kid I always wanted to be as gnarly as Dad or Uncle Derek, or at least do some of the stuff that they did. But I realised when I was 19 that the way they grew up is out of this world. They had this hunger. My dad made it so good for me. I had a house over my head, I had a good bicycle when I was a kid, I always had a good surfboard to ride, so it’s always been way easier for me to have fun. But for them, a lot of the time they didn’t even have a house. They’d scavenge boards. They slept on the beach. When they started competing they had the gnarly fucking hunger! Like out of this world! And I’ve realised, fuck, I’m not them, I can’t be like them. I gotta do my own route and just whatever I can take from them, whatever advice or things they can teach me, I’ll take it. I kind of base my dreams off of what they’ve done. I think if they weren’t so competitive and gnarly, or if Uncle Derek hadn’t won that world title, I’d probably be free surfing every day of my life. But I have this weird hunch in me that wants to compete. It’s this whole other spectrum of surfing in me. I don’t want to have just the freesurf thing down, I want to be the full, complete surfer.
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