…and by beating Mick Fanning with one huck, he saved the WSL from a day of reckoning…
If you are one of the few who didn’t happen to call me to let me know, yes, I am aware. Mason Ho won his heat at the Rip Curl Pro Bells and made me look terribly stupid on the internet.
But hate all you please, because I couldn’t be more thrilled! I may have egg on my face but we, and more importantly the WSL, have more live Mason time. Find me a contemporary shredder who ain’t glued to their screen for more action of the diminutive Hawaiian!
When Brett Simpo toppled Adriano De Souza I should have figured something was up. But at two-foot high-tide Rincon, with Mick Fanning, the three-time Bell ringer and defending champ in the red jersey, the kid never stood a chance.
But he did. And he nailed it! I was 0.03 from saying I told you so and couldn’t be more psyched! And you know what the best part was? He surfed fun!
He sniffed at sections. I willed him on. He hunted closeouts. I wanted him to go. He found the sweetest little ramp of the morning and full-roted his way to an eight and the highlight reel like a young Reynolds circa 2005. He surfed exactly how he wanted to and we applauded.
And then he went into comp mode, and it got weird.
That 5.13? Sheesh. Ross Williams called it “funky” and “bordering on awkward” and it sure was. He found the lead, but it wasn’t over. If I know one thing about professional surfing it’s don’t count out the three-time world champion against the wildcard in his first ever dance on the main stage. On the beach Mike Ho was damn entertaining, tripping on every moment.
But it was enough, and Mason Ho defeated Mick Fanning and Freddy Patacchia and you all told me I was an idiot. And I was. He proved me wrong, and in doing so, Mason Ho saved the WSL from a day of reckoning.
WSL Commissioner Kieren Perrow is rubbing his hands together. Could you feel the vibe around Mason today? On a day of fat, weak Bells where only seven heats were run, the second event of the year running in sub-par waves, Mason is all anyone can talk about. You know Kelly and John John both surfed, right?
Mason is hot property. He’s the guy who you tune in to see. Even Bobby Martinez probably watched him surf! He’s different and we love it. He flared in the water and giggled at Todd Kline in his post-heat interview without mentioning three-to-the-beach or building a house or some other surf garbage. When Todd asked Mason if he’d ever dreamed he could beat Mick Fanning at Bells, Mason said, “Yes!”
The kid brings traffic, and traffic to a WSL webcast is Paul Speaker’s dream. You think the WSL is missing Alana Blanchard on the girl’s roster this season?
Mason wants to be on tour. Is very public about wanting to be on tour. And the tour wants Mason to be a part of it.
But does the tour fit Mason? Or was this an entertaining, and one-off, curio?