Mason Ho (yes! again!) on the enchantment of surfing…
That hip sneer! That kinky top! Mason Ho surfs and his face (and ours) light up at his flashing finery. Mason makes BeachGrit (and you, we believe) hoarse with ecstasy. Where so many others play a baleful tune Mason hula-dances to an electric spark.
Over the course of four or five years, I’ve interviewed Mason maybe half-a-doz times. And each time I hang up and, think, son of a bitch, that kid is good. An original thinker and someone unburdened by that undefined fear of saying the wrong thing.
Here’s some of his best.
On head-checks at Backdoor: I swear it’s a dick thing, don’t even try it. I think, frick, it’s such a habit but I cannot stop doing ‘em. Every time I watch a clip I think, frick, stop doing it! It’s nice doing ’em at Backdoor. The look down’s so easy I’ll do it on every thing. And then I got hooked on it. And now, it’s like, damn it, I try not to do it. But it still feels good.
On surfing: I’m having so much fun it’s… ridiculous! I’m addicted to filming and surfing!
On surfing naked: I hate to say it, but I do that so much. People would think I was out to lunch if they knew how much I do that. Every full moon for the past couple of months it’s been perfect. I don’t got much to do with chicks. I hang out with chicks and they’re always, like, (in a sing-song voice) “Let’s go on an adventure!” I’m, like, no way, I wanna kick it. My favourite adventure is, I tell ‘em, “Full moon time!” And, we go down the beach and get all sixties, all naked, and I go surfing naked, whatever, get all weird… Oohhh… ohhh… I don’t know if I should be saying that but… it’s all sixties… it’s all beautiful-ed out…
On girls: I’m so bad, Derek, I think every girl is hot. Australia’s the raddest place, for sure. Everyone asks me and I tell them every single time the same answer – Western Australia. Like… boooooom! You can’t beat (surfing) The Box and the girls’ mentality over there. Too much fun! And, that Prevelly wine! Damn! The mentality is like a 17-year-old Hawaiian boy!
On guys pushing up against Coco: Oh, fuck, nowadays I just play dumb. When I was younger, I’d slap kids up the side of the head. I thought it was a super funny thing but kids would just get rattled. Nowadays, it just seems like I have too much respect for her. I’m kinda like… she let’s me hook up with all these… She lets me fricken runaround so fricken… I just figure, fuck, I can’t be bringing all these chicks home every night and then just snap on her with one guy so, like, fuck it.
Kolohe or John John: Hooooo! That’s so sick. That’s the sickest! Who’s better? Let me think. You’d be so surprised how tight I am with both of them. Because, I’ve been staying at Brother’s house every summer since I was 10 years old. To this day, every single summer, almost all summer. I was just talking to Tina, Brother’s mom, and I’m moving in tomorrow. So, yeah, Brother’s like my full brother, literally. He was named after one of my uncles, Kolohe Bloomfield. John John, on the other hand, is the little brother I see at home every day. We surf together and he’s sooo cool. He’s like too cool I don’t even know what to think. He rips so fucking hard.
But, who’s better, that’s the question, let me think: oh brah, I can’t say. I’d get so busted. I like John John because, obviously, he can paddle out to Waimea, fricken pull-in at Backdoor and he’s fully up to par with all the boys at home… I mean, I’ve never seen Brother do that, yet. But, then, when it comes to me surfing every day in super tiny waves all I’m thinking about is how I grew up with Brother surfing at T-Street (in San Clemente, Kolohe’s home town).
Who has the most aloha on the Shore: (Slowly) Most… aloha… on the North Shore… sick question. I wonder. I was going to say Kalani Chapman. He’s, like, almost like a modern day Owl Chapman (Sunset stand-out, influential shaper and Kalani’s uncle) – super cool and groovy without even trying. He’s so nice – too nice to even try. But, come to think of it, if he got burned five times at Pipe he’d rip someone’s head off.
Who has the least aloha: It seems like all of us at home, we all try to have a lot of aloha on the land, we’re learning you need to have aloha to get through life, but in the water… (laughs)… we lose that aloha.
Is aloha variable? Like, in winter, does it evaporate completely? That seems like it’s pretty true. A lot of people do that at home. My Dad’s never ever done that, though. He always seems super cool ‘cause he always has a lot of friends come in the winter. It seems like Dad’s always showing aloha, year round, so that’s what I’ve tried to copy. A lot of the boys get all… SNAAAPPPED!… when winter comes round like, “FUCK! THESE FUCKERS… AGAIN? FUCK!” And my Dad’s always telling ‘em like it ain’t going to change, you’re getting all nuts in the water. But, then, Dad kinda eggs everyone on. It’s fucked up. He eggs everybody on and then when he’s in the situation, he’s cool, but if it’s someone else he’ll be like, “Ho, what, you never even do nuthin!” I look at my Dad and go, “What? You just told me 10 times not to do anything and now you’re teasing my friend for not doing anything.
On Michael Peterson: I try to copy MP the most when I’m surfing. Big time. Because he’s PSYCCCCCHHHED! So in the moment!
On surfing: I love getting barrelled. It could be a one-foot barrel or a 30-foot barrel, whatever, just let me get barrelled. It’s such a sweet feeling. That’s my best manoeuvre. Airs are second. Turns are third. People can be, like, “Oh, you’ve got to do a big form carve.” But, all the guys who say that have never done a 10-foot air so they don’t know the feeling. You could be going a hundred miles an hour on a wave and do the hugest carve ever and to me that’s the third best feeling in the world. But, if I was going a hundred miles an hour and did a 20-foot air, and fucking stuck it, I’d be the happiest man. And, then, if I was going a hundred miles an hour inside a barrel? That’s number one.