Form SURFING MAGAZINE, January 2012.

Under the Influence – Mason Ho
Photos: Taras

When Mason Ho says “Dad,” he means North Shore competitive icon Michael Ho. When he says “Uncle,” he means 1993 World Champion Derek Ho, Gramps was an original Waikiki beach boy and lil’ sister competes in the men’s Triple Crown. Mason was born into surfing. And one might wonder whether such a legacy is actually a heavy trip. But then you meet Mason Ho and realize that’s a crazy thought. That it would really be the best thing ever. Surfing is all you need. And possibly a world title. – Nathan Myers

Mason Ho:

I don’t use deck pads. When I try to use ‘em, it just seems like I get too excited. It feels like I’m locked in, so everything gets a bit more inverted or tweaked and I just end up doing a face-plant or digging a rail. I can’t even bottom turn. That little block on the tail, it’s a mind block. Dad literally hypnotized me that I can’t use one. It’s a weird trip.

When I was a kid, I would rip the deck pads off all my friends’ boards. Some of them finally just stopped using one. One of my friend’s parents got so pissed she got his next pad resin-ated onto the board, so when I went to rip it off it wouldn’t go. My friend started laughing, so I just sunk my teeth into the thing and bit holes through it.

If it weren’t for my Dad and my uncle, I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am now. Same for Coco. She started surfing ‘cause Dad was always watching me. Dad and I would roust her, saying, “You surf like a girl.” Before you know it she was like, “I wanna surf like Chris Ward ‘cause he’s the opposite of a girl surfer.” I was like, “Yeah, Coco, you’re getting better already.

When I was young I thought I was just gonna outdo everything Dad and Uncle Derek had done. I was like, “I’m gonna win 20 at Sunset, 20 at Haleiwa and 10 world titles.” That’s how I was thinking ‘til I was about 18. Then I started realizing how gnarly my dad and uncle were. Now I’m almost like, “There’s no possible way I can live up to that.”

Dad’s never been much of a coach, but he always has these little sayings. He’ll look at the water and he’ll have some simple little theory for the day. He’ll be like, “Slow down.” And I’ll go out and slow down a bit and go, “Whoa now I get it.”

Sometimes it seemed like Dad didn’t want me and Coco to be surfers because of everything he went through. He never pushed it on us. He wouldn’t even get us boards – just like, “You can have one of mine if you want.” Or he’d say, “You want to surf?” And I’d say, “No, I wanna play kickball with all these girls.” He’d start laughing, like, “Good, now I can go surf by myself.”

I don’t feel no pressure, but I do want to start winning some events. Uncle Derek won his world title at 29, and I definitely want to win a world title. Seeing Slater surf the best I’ve ever seen at 40, I still know anything’s possible.

I’m travelling a lot these days, so when it gets rough I take out a notepad and write down little stories. There’s some funny stuff in there: stuff I remember of Andy, stuff my Dad told me, lessons I’ve learned on the road. I’m sure none of it makes sense if you tried to read it, but it just write it down anyway. I started doing it when Andy died. I love to write down my memories of him.

My philosophy on girls, you gotta go for the super hot ones. If I see one, no matter what the situation is, I’ll at least go and try. I’m not afraid to get denied. Me and my sister will be eating and I’ll see a girl, it’s like, “Hold on, Coco,” and I’ll just jump up and try. Sometimes I get dissed, which is funny too. But a lot of the time it works.

When I go up to a girl. I just always say the truth. Whatever’s in my head. Even if it’s bad. Just say what’s on your head, not bullshit, and usually they like it. Lately I’ve been murdering that department. Such a murderer.

Well, well Mr. Surfing Magazine last time I checked we are making a movie… we just haven’t finished it yet. And, yes, it is starring Mason Ho.