Mark Healey and Hawaiian legend Michael Ho on their potential wave of the winter…
A week ago, the 33-year-old Hawaiian goofyfooter Mark Healey paddled out to second-ish reef Pipe with a GoPro camera. That ain’t unusual. Along with Jamie O’Brien and Anthony Walsh, he’s made Pipe a self-portrait studio.
But this day, Healey was all about getting some follow cam. So he paddles up to Michael Ho (the Pipe Master and two-time Triple Crown winner) and John John and says, Hey, if you see me going, just go, I want to get a shot.
Michael, on an eight-o, says he was just “kicking out the back listening to Mark say that wanted to get barrelled behind someone and I was thinking, not me, if I make a mistake I might get run over.”
And then this wave (hit play!), rolls through. Literally… rolls… on through. A weird swell that crumbled slightly on second-ish reef before depositing its load on the inside.
And Healey, on a six-ten, gets the easiest chip shot into the wave. Michael Ho, slightly on his outside, gets about as soft a takeoff into Pipe as you’ll ever see.
“It was the perfect setup,” says Healey. “It gave me such an easy chip shot into the wave that it was easy to get my camera out of my mouth and into my hand. If it was a nuts drop it would’ve been real friggen hard.”
And, so, “I was trying to keep some distance from Mike. I wanted him to be able to go ahead and set his line. I wasn’t too worried about being too deep. I knew I had to be aways back there to try and get the shot. I thought the foamball was going to catch me because I was taking a lower line. I was waiting for it. I knew it was going to be like stepping on a land mine. I could see the lip just breaking over my shoulder. I’ve never been that low in a barrel and made it.”
Oh yes! Describe the view.
“My view was ridiculous. Fuck, it was so insane. It was one of the coolest views I’ve had in surfing. It was so insane to see a tube ride from start to finish. I got to be in the barrel, see him come into my field of vision to finish his bottom turn and set up the tube, disappear from my view for a second, and then to have the depth perception of it from behind, catching up and coming out at the same time.”
And the surfer! The great Michael Ho!
“He’s the fricken man! He’s such a legend. To share a wave with him was an honour.”
Michael, meanwhile, flicked off, yelling: “I would never have dropped in if you hadn’t asked!”
“I was so embarrassed,” says Healey. “I said, ‘You’re the man out here! You can get any wave you want!'”
“I didn’t even know that he went,” says Michael. “If I did, I would’ve fallen off and got run over, f’sure. Was I surprised he came out with me? I was baffled. I always grab my rail, just to be sure, and because my board was a little long, I just stood in this thing.”
As for the GoPro footage, “I totally missed the framing,” says Healey. “I totally botched it. I was too low. When you hand-hold a GoPro and you’re trying to surf it puts your framing off. I missed the best part of it so hard. I was ready to throw up when I looked at the footage.”
Given the uniqueness of the double tube, and the surfers involved, the wave is there for a shot at winning Surfline’s Wave of the Winter. First prize is 25-grand to the surfer and five-grand to the person who shot it.
And was Michael thrilled with the ride? Let’s ask his son, hot-shot Mason Ho.
“I was just laying at home, cruising, when came in through the door freaking out about how barrelled he got. I freaked out that I was just laying there, grabbed my board and drove to Pipe but by the time I got there it was blown out.”