Mason Ho, Derek Ho, John John Florence
"Surfer Poll, the one time of year where the top surfers in the world gather to wear skirts too small and suits too large. But then again, judging surfers on their fashion sensibilities is as pointless as trying to critique Cara Delevingne on her barrel-riding skills. People have designated lanes." | Photo: Justin Jay/@justinjayphoto

Series: Mason Ho, Dez Ho and John John!

Two world champs and a jibber walk into a bar… 

You like this ooze, this boiled-down collection of reportage from the North Shore season? With his old Nikon and a portraitist’s eye, Justin Jay hits the shutter when it matters.

With his photographs, we’re able to scrutinise the minutiae of life on the North Shore. Today, three generations of Hawaiian icons, the two Hawaiian world champions, Derek Ho and John John, and Mason, who bewitches us with his jumps and jibs.

“The Surfer Poll is the one time of year where the top surfers in the world gather to wear skirts too small and suits too large. But then again, judging surfers on their fashion sensibilities is as pointless as trying to critique Cara Delevingne on her barrel-riding skills. People have designated lanes,,” says Justin. “The attendees that chose to keep it simple with a modest black dress or a button down shirt with closed toed shoes tended to pull it off best. JJF’s well-tailored blue suit was the exception that proved the rule, while Mason Ho made the sensible choice of a Hawaiian shirt and black pants. Classic look. Although these two Hawaiian locals have very different personalities, they share at least one thing in common. They are both universally revered on the North Shore. John is the humble heir apparent and Mason is the loveable wisecracking prince. Both of them have the upmost respect for their surfing elders and the DNA of the sport. Mason loves to get loose, but he also knows just where to draw the line. Shortly after this picture, he had to politely reign in his right hand man Burger’s rowdy backstage antics.

“Just because we won this award, doesn’t mean that they won’t kick us out, Burger!”

News: Laird Hamilton douches Sundance!

“I walk on coral for a living. This is nothing.”

When I was a young high school boy growing tall and skinny in rural coastal Oregon I dreamed of Southern California. I wanted the tan skin, the sun bleached hair, the coconut surf shop smell, the chill I-go-surfing-every-damned-day gait. I wanted it all. The only small problem was that I was growing tall and skinny in rural coastal Oregon. The sun did not shine, the nearest surf shop was 500 miles away and the surf was a giant washing machine that did not lead to a chill anything except literal chill. Like cold.

Like cold all the time. Wet cold. Get in your bones cold. Cold cold. But I wanted Southern California and was totally clueless and thought I could replicate my desires by wearing shorts every damned day. I would wear shorts in the rain, I would wear shorts in the fog, I would wear shorts in the rain. And, looking back at the few pictures that exist, I looked like a total douche.

Like Laird Hamilton!

Should we read about his recent trip to Sundance in support of his film Douche Every Wave by Laird Hamilton on the famous Page Six?

World-class surfer Laird Hamilton didn’t dress for the freezing weather in Park City, Utah, at Sundance — and stepped out in the snow in a T-shirt and flip-flops — but still managed to help people out in a blizzard.

Hamilton was on his way to the premiere of “Take Every Wave,” his new documentary from director Rory Kennedy, when their car got stuck on Main Street due to a snowstorm.

“He was wearing his uniform T-shirt and flip-flops, and he got out to help cars get off the road and park so vehicles could make their way by,” says a source. “He made it to his Q&A despite taking the time out to help people.”

When asked about the flip-flops, Hamilton said, “I walk on coral for a living. This is nothing.”

I’m on the floor laughing right now. Literally. Wearing a pair of jeans. Dying.

Ha! I walk on coral for a living! This is nothing! Ha ha ha ha ha! Somebody make it stop!

Owen Wright
Remember when Owen Wright, who is twenty seven, hovered in world title contention in 2015 before a mysterious brain injury restricted him to occasional surfs on a softboard with his girlfriend? Now, maybe a titanic rebirth! Owen just entered February's Surfest at Newcastle, Australia. O's coach Glen Hall told the Newcastle Herald "that Wright had spoken about competing at Surfest and 'wanted to be there, but he’s not quite ready yet. He’s slowly making his progress towards a comeback, but the timeframe is still unknown for everyone, even himself,' Hall said." | Photo: WSL

Just in: Owen Wright to compete on WQS!

One-time title contender enters first pro event since brain injury at Pipe!

Oh the fragility of life. One minute you’re on the cusp of greatness, every moment a pleasant surprise, every encounter fabulous, the next you’re in a hospital unable to speak or remember a damn thing.

The story of one-time world title contender Owen Wright goes something like this: Owen was surfing Pipe in the lead up to the tour’s final contest, wiped out, came in rattled, walked back to the Rip Curl house, went to sleep, woke up disoriented and was taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with concussion and bleeding on the brain. Matt Wilko was there and says O couldn’t even speak, that his “body was out of fuel. It was scary.”

Owen’s barely surfed since.

As his pal Luke Munro told the Gold Coast Bulletin,

“I’m just glued to his Instagram to see the little steps he’s been making,” Munro said. “I just don’t think anyone knew how bad Owen’s injury was at the time … everyone thought ‘He’s hit his head, he’ll be right’ but then the extent of the injuries became clear. He wasn’t able to talk. He couldn’t remember anything from the day before … he’s a guy we all thought was indestructible…”

In the interim, Owen, who is twenty seven, has fathered a daughter with his girlfriend, the musician, Kita Alexanderand according the Newcastle Herald, has fielded an entry for the WQS 6000 Maitland and Port Stephens Toyota Pro at Merewether Beach, February 20th through 26.

He’s in, entry-wise. But is he going to show?

O’s coach Glen Hall says, maybe. 

Owen, who won Surfest in 2008, “wanted to be there, but he’s not quite ready yet,” Hall told the Newcastle Herald. “He’s slowly making his progress towards a comeback, but the timeframe is still unknown for everyone, even himself. He’s just taking it easy and easing his way into it. He’s surfing and training and he’s really happy, which is a good thing. He’s past the real serious side of the brain injury and he’s in a position where he can slowly get his back into the groove.”

If O makes it, he’ll join sister Tyler, the women’s world champ, and his lil bro Mikey.


Parker Cohn Seal Beach
Parker Cohn, SB. This concrete overhang overwhelms the eye!

Watch: Seal Beach Takes No Prisoners!

Few will survive...

Have I told you about my one and only Seal Beach experience? Of course I have!

But here’s a free recap:
– Catch two waves
– Both bad
– Set comes through
– Probably a closeout
– I go
– Definitely a closeout
– Also backwash
– Pin drop
– Penetrate
– Not enough
– Sucked over
– Land on feet
– Dry sand
– Back compressed
– Accordion
– Ow
– “Karma”

Two plus months out of the water, all of it during California’s unprecedented ’15/’16 El Niño. I was miserable.

I’m technically back to 100% but feel as though I’ve aged fifteen years. After a full day of surfing, I’m sore. Old man sore. Small-guy-in-prison sore.

Seal Beach did a number on me, but something about that place makes me want more. I was sour to discover that yesterday was blitzkrieg in North OC while I was gliding into lumpy burgers at Swamis. The video below details my regret.

Part of me is glad that I missed it, as no three-foot tube is worth two months out of commission, or worse. Still another part of me has unyielding FOMO.

I’d be remiss not to congratulate Parker Cohn for nabbing the heaviest beachbreak wave I’ve seen. That thing is fucked up.

Now dig in and go sideways… quick!

Kelly Slater Justin Jay
"I watched Kelly amble around his house in a perpetual state of motion like a shark that would die if it stopped moving." | Photo: Justin Jay/@justinjayphoto

Series: Kelly Slater at his North Shore home!

See Kelly wear a funny outfit, feel the intense pitch of his ultra-competitiveness!

All this week, we’ve drip-fed the North Shore location work of NYC shooter Justin Jay. With the notable exception of Steve Sherman, there ain’t a soul who records the North Shore’s casual narrative as comprehensively or expertly as Justin.

Today, we peel open the curtain to the world of Kelly Slater, 11-timer etc.

(As revealed by Mr Justin Jay.)

“Kelly Slater’s living room is, basically, the backstage of the North Shore. Nestled behind a nondescript gate is his comfortably-appointed hangout for surfing’s elite. It was a rainy contest lay day and I had dropped by to give Kelly a gift print. While the other guests relaxed, exchanged stories and laughed, I watched Kelly amble around his house in a perpetual state of motion like a shark that would die if it stopped moving. Kelly disappeared into the other room for a few minutes and then returned wearing a ridiculously futuristic apparatus strapped to his shoulder, which turned out to be some sort of a high-tech muscle stimulator.

“In most scenarios, anyone entering a room wearing this contraption would be subject to ridicule. But it was painfully obvious that I didn’t have the proper status to comment about Kelly’s bizarre accessory and, clearly, it would be an act of hubris on my part to do so. Not sure how to react, I averted my eyes the floor. Benji Weatherly however, is Kelly’s peer and close friend. He also happens to be a world-class wisecracker. He couldn’t pass up the opportunity to lob some friendly barbs toward the 11-time world champion. Kelly appeared to brush off the remarks, but he did leave the room shortly after and returned wearing a plush Baja striped-blanket hoodie reminiscent of the one Jeff Spicoli wore in Fast Times, albeit perfectly fitted, and obviously quite expensive.
“Meanwhile, I eavesdropped while Kai Lenny described how his windsurfing skills came in handy while pulling airs on a 40-foot wave at Jaws. Shane Dorian lounged on the couch while his son Jackson taught Benji the fundamentals of chess. Jackson’s primer on game strategy and the significance of the King and Queen contained a few flawed interpretations. Benji was willing to keep his kid gloves on for the 10 year old and simply play along, but upon hearing the conversation, Kelly’s competitive gene kicked in. Perhaps he sensed blood in the water. He pried himself away from making his organic pancakes and strolled over to correct the young contestant and give his input on what Benji’s next move should be.”