Mason leaves no stone unturned, no wave unembraced.
There are few guarantees in life with the exception that one day we’ll all be drawn towards a blinding speck of light whereupon our deeds we’ll be tallied up and we’ll be dispatched either to heaven or sent to rot in hell.
Apart from that inevitability, the filming combo of Rory Pringle and Mason Ho is a perennial.
Over the course of every week during the North Shore season, the pair will find enough waves to stitch together into an edit featuring a Jimi Hendrix song taken from his mama Brian’s collection, in this instance, Rock Me Baby.
These are little films that give you a feeling of tropical sunshine on your skin.
You'll be hypnotised watching Oz.
Watch Ozzie Wright and Jimmy Banks in “He made queer little snorts like a pig sniffing around the trough!”
In this shortish edit, filmed in the tropical Indian Ocean, we find Oz in his trademark open-zip rubber jacket riding a six-foot long Jim Banks-shaped surfboard, turning it this way and that, riding switch, cheater fives, fins first takeoffs.
Music is provided by a live performance by Jim, on guitar, and Oz on his ukulele.
Very stylish and dissipated.
Darcy Piper slides as if coated in Vaseline into this blue cold-water hole.
Watch Russell Bierke and Darcy Piper in “Before the Great Australian Bushfire Inferno!”
A thrilling adventure to surf empty cold-water reef ledges, and filmed before the country was burned to a cinder.
Russell Bierke is one of those breathtakingly rare surfers who aren’t quite WCT level and yet in some way are far more magical.
Russell is twenty-two years old, diminutive and old world. A bantamweight, small, muscular and wiry. He was born in Hawaii and is the son of the Californian-born shaper Kirk Bierke whose boards are sold under the label KB Surf and made in Ulladulla, three hours south of Sydney. Russell’s earliest memories are of watching his dad run out the door whenever the surf was big, going to the beach and seeing him ride these big, blue-water reef waves, and wanting to be part of the game.
This film, in which he co-stars with his Ulladulla neighbour and pal Darcy Piper, features these two little bees drawing their nectar and existing in a state of perpetual euphoria from a series of empty ledges along the coastline of…oh we really don’t need that detail do we?
All of this was filmed before the inferno that engulfed Australia and had, at one point, flames licking at the border gates of Bondi Beach.
Surfing, which Moz became very good at, two Victorian titles, sixth at the worlds, was his escape, a relationship he articulates in this tender film by Peter Baker, brother of noted surf writer Tim Baker.
“I was always timid. I always felt a bit different. I never felt comfortable until I started surfing,” says Moz.
Peter made this film in 2017, winning Best Short at the London Surf Film Festival, but has only just made it available for public release.
Moz, whom you may know as Brutus in various comment forums, also talks about prison and the resulting PTSD and depression.
“I asked my wife and my family not to visit me. I was in a hard place. It was for survival that I cut myself off from the world. I came out vulnerable, but very angry, very aggressive. I’d back it up big-time. When I came out of jail I was pretty crazy. I was always carrying this dark side with me.”
The last time I spent significant time with Moz on the phone I asked him what had happened to all the money he’d earned.
I reminded him of his lucrative shaping deals in Japan and Europe, of his palace in Margaret River with the nightclub, the fleet of jet skis and so on.
“I have nothing (but) I’ve got a pretty good surfboard collection,” he laughed. “My wife’s over me. I made so much, lost so much. That’s why I’m here in France. I pick up five grand here, ten grand there, pay a few debts. I have a twelve-year-old car worth five hundred bucks. I think I’ve got my integrity. Can you tell that to my wife? That it means something? She’s over the drama of making surfboards. She wants to live a simple, peaceful life. She’s been with me since I was eighteen, poor thing. She’s just burnt out. I was telling Ross and he said, ‘You can’t fucking retire. You’ve got too much fucking shit to do!’”
Mason Ho, graceful in the tube, like a man who is tiptoeing from a room where a child is sleeping. Rory Pringle
Watch: Mason Ho and pals ride a one-day sandbar in “Lambs in the claws of the tiger!”
In this film from the prolific Rory Pringle, which features his master Mason Ho and a network of fellow North Shorians, we are gifted the miracle of a one-day sandbar.
“Few days ago a big swell hit the Hawaiian Islands and pushed sand all over the place,” writes Mr Pringle. “When this happens it makes special waves in places that usually don’t have waves. Surf spots like this only last a little while. This specific sandbar lasted only about 12 hours till it was gone and the boys were on it!”
Oh yes they were.
Like a bomb whose slow fuse has finally reached the dynamite, the sandbar explodes into life.
This little film, short enough to keep your attention but long enough to gift a complete examination of the surfing, is a whirlwind, a dazzling frenzied whirlwind that will tear you up by the roots and carry you high into the heavens, to places you did not know existed.