Mason talks MP, gals and maybe the roundest Kirra tub ever! Even Mick Fanning said so!
The Hawaiian surfer Mason Ho, 26, recently concluded his 24th trip to Australia. Although he failed to win either WQS event he entered, indeed, the first time he hasn’t stepped on a podium in months, his days were filled with love, laughter and tubes. Mason Ho is a supplicant to good times and Australia fulfils his most profound needs.
“I first came there when I was 14,” says Mason, adding it was a solo trip after his Dad, the famous surfer Michael Ho, “had this huge, gnarly… ah… it’s an R-rated story… but he could’t make it. I was crushed, I was traumatised. I’d been wanting to go my whole life.”
Fate stepped in when Dino Andino, father of Kolohe, told his old pal Mike he’d look after the kid. That was a dozen years ago and Mason has visited Australia twice a year since.
“Frick, Australia’s like the closest place to me besides Hawaii,” says Mason. “I love every single thing about it.”
BeachGrit: … let’s talk specifics, what turns you on about Australia?
Mason: I love it how all the people are so funny, so polite, but they’re bad-ass and screw with you and help you at the same time. It’s funny and it’s… weird. Everyone’s weirdly nice even when they get mad. Over here in Hawaii, when someone gets mad… whoa, that’s evil. But in Australia, everyone’s a comedian. I also like how you can order a healthy juice anywhere, how you have the best waves in the world along with Indo and Hawaii. And then there’s the leniency on the whole fun thing. In Bali, you can get killed if you get caught with a mushroom. Australias the coolest place ever.
What’s your favourite place to visit?
I’ve always said, West Oz my whole life but after this last trip to Snapper, that’s right there too. Right under West Oz. West Oz ’cause it’s a little less people, you can go get your slabs and the do what you want on the beach… I loooove that place. West Oz, still, by a hair. But that Kirra thing blew my mind just now.
What’s your favourite wave and why?
Oh! Snap! Damn! I can give you four waves. Yeah! Okay! F’sure! The Box, North Point, Snapper Rocks, Kirra. Boom! I haven’t done too much adventuring, like, deep adventures, haven’t been to the mysto ones, only the commercial ones. I love ’em! Oh my god, I love The Box. My Dad gets bummed on how much I love The Box. One year, (Chris) Ward was out there at dark every morning. I didn’t have my own car and I was a little scared of The Box and Ward being out there every mounting was the coolest thing I’d seen in my life. So as soon as I was able to rent my own car, I was the guy out there in the dark. Two feet or 10-feet, there at dark.
Tell me about the best wave you’ve ever caught in Australia
Oh my god! This latest wave! But I’ve had a lot of waves in Australia that I dream about. Australia has these weird little sparkles to the waves. But my latest one, this one wave at Kirra, this crazy double up… okay… let me say something about Kirra. I’d always heard stories about Kirra from my Dad. I’d always heard stories from other people about Kirra. And I’ve surfed solid Kirra before, but this was nuts. Mick had his ski and he dropped me off and then I got swept down and this wave doubled up. A weird double-up. I got to the bottom and I could see the sand. I was telling Nathan (Fletcher) that I don’t know if I’ve ever had a barrel at Backdoor that was as round. It was the biggest barrel I’ve pulled into, no back, and there was a two-foot barrel on top of the wave. I want to say that it was over a 10-foot face… easy. Twelve-foot face! Thirteen feet! No back! And there was that two-foot barrel on top of the back of the wave trying to crawl into my barrel to screw me up. I pushed through the whitewater, this 10-to-15-foot chandelier, punched through it, got into the clean spot, maybe one or two pumps, no more speed from the chandelier, the wave sucked up, I did a barrel roll, ate shit and got slammed. The part that tripped me out was all the groms and Mick told me, ‘Brah, that was the thickest wave we’ve ever seen go through here!’ I’ve had a few at The Box that I got blown out of but I remember this Kirra one because I was, like, thinking a million things at once. I was getting flashes of MP (Michael Peterson) in my head.
MP’s your favourite Australian surfer, yeah?
Oh yeah! F’sure my favourite Australian. I think of that guy all the time. Anytime I drive on that road going up to Kirra or Snapper I remember when I went with my Dad for the first time. Kirra was gone (because of the sand-pumping that created the Super Bank) and my Dad was freaking out about it, just snapping. I was, like, almost scared, saying, ‘C’mon Dad, it’s okay.’ He was, ‘No it’s not!’ Now he just loves Greenmount. Now he’s forgotten about how mad he was. Anyway, my Dad used tell me all these stories about MP, always these cool funny stories, stuff that I admired when I was little, about how competitive he was, how he did his own thing. Somehow he’d hang out with Dad so he felt like an uncle I didn’t get to hang out with. I read a lot, just not books, but I was reading his book (MP: The Life of Michael Peterson… click here… ) when I won a little contest at Bells with Wilko and Jordy in the final.
What perplexes you about Australia?
Everything makes sense there! The car thing, sometimes. I’ll go on the right side of the road and I’ll hear, ‘You little punk!’ and I’m, ‘I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry!’ You don’t seem to have Tylenol or ibuprofen easily available either. I was looking for ibuprofen everywhere in the whole town. But, then, I like that you can’t buy it everywhere.
What sucks about Australia?
I hate to say it but there’s nothing! It’s like a huuuuuge Haewaiian island. I love it how everyone lives on the coast. And everyone’s so cool. I even burned a bunch of guys this trip and they were psyched… psyched! I got burned a bunch too, of course. But I was, like, pleading with them, ‘I’m so sorry!’ And they’re, ‘No, I’m psyched!’ You don’t get that anywhere.
Where would you find the cutest girls in Australia and how would you describe them?
Oh the cutest girls! that’s another thing! I like the Australian girl because they’re a little bit like us, actually not like us guys ’cause we’re pretty bad, but they have more of a guy’s confidence. They just put it out. Everywhere else girls are conservative. No girls make me laugh more than Australian girls. Those girls crack me. I’d marry an Australian girl but none like me.
I’m reasonably positive y’might’ve sourced a couple…
Oh, I met one or two.