Mason Ho, son of Hawaiian legend Michael Ho, recently won the International Final of the Rip Curl GromSearch at Bells Beach, Australia. We caught up with Mason at his house on the North Shore of Oahu to ask him a few questions.
SURFERMAG.COM: Aloha Mason! How long have you been back from Australia?
MASON HO: : My dad and I got in today. We have been gone since March 22.
SURFERMAG.COM: Have you been to Australia before?
MASON HO: : Yeah, I went by myself when I was 14 to watch the Quiksilver Pro. My dad [Michael Ho] went with me this time.
SURFERMAG.COM: Your dad is an amazing surfer, and your Uncle Derek was World Champ. You have some real inspiration coming from home. Do you find a lot of inspiration from them?
MASON HO: : Oh yeah, totally. They both surf so good. My dad was surfing so good in Australia. Dad and Gary Elkerton were like throwing heats out there in the water. It was great to watch.
SURFERMAG.COM: Man, my dad was trying to ground me from surfing when I was your age. Does your dad coach you? Is he supportive?
MASON HO: : My dad says that he isn’t my coach. He just gives me advice. He helps me out a lot … he's really supportive.
SURFERMAG.COM: How were the waves for the contest this year at Bells Beach?
MASON HO: : It was small at first, but they had to run it [the contest]. It was a good call because the waves got pretty good for the Finals.
SURFERMAG.COM: So the waves were good. What was your contest strategy?
MASON HO: : Well, I sat on this one rock boil on the outside. I was pretty much trying to just catch the set waves. My dad told me just to sit on the boil and catch the best waves. I got some good ones.
SURFERMAG.COM: So tell me, you are sitting there in the International Final of the Rip Curl GromSearch. What was going on in your head? Did you know you were winning?
MASON HO: : Like I said, I paddled outside and was waiting for set waves. Right off, I looked inside and saw Jordy Smith [of South Africa] on a wave getting some good turns. I then heard the announcer say that he got a 7. That's a good score—pretty good first score. I waited, caught a set wave and got a 7.5. Then I saw other guys, like last year's World Junior Champ Matt Wilkinson getting a lot of inside waves. I knew they were getting some scores. The announcer said I needed like a 5.25 to get in the lead.
SURFERMAG.COM: Wow, that sounds intense. Then what happened?
MASON HO: : Well, I sat outside and decided that I was going for a 7. I saw this wave swinging wide, and I caught it, and I got an 8. My dad was right up on the point, and I could see a huge smile on his face, so I figured that I had done well. Then Jordy Smith got a good one … he was blowing up and sticking air-reverses like candy. I was tripping. The scores came back and he had gotten a 6. Then I figured I'd better sit on those guys because there was only four minutes left. It was the longest four minutes of my life.
SURFERMAG.COM: I bet. That sounds like an exciting finish.
MASON HO: : Yeah, it was intense.
SURFERMAG.COM: Well, congratulations on a solid win. I have been watching you surf since you were a Super Grom surfing at Shores [a little spot inside Sunset]. I knew you could do it. What are your plans for the next year?
MASON HO: : Well, I am planning on doing the World Juniors, and doing some of the 2- and 3-Star WQS events. I will be heading to Trestles to do the Body Glove Surfbout on April 26.
SURFERMAG.COM: Where do you see yourself in five years?
MASON HO: : I’m aiming for the WCT. Nothing less.
SURFERMAG.COM: Oh yeah, who sponsors you right now?
MASON HO: : I am riding for Oakley, …lost Enterprises, Poorboy Accessories and Warrior Wetsuits.
SURFERMAG.COM: Well, I think these older pro guys better watch out. Thanks mason.
MASON HO: :Hey, yeah, thank you!