Mason Ho Interview

A conversation with the son of one of Hawaii's royal families

What are you doing in California?

I came here to surf the US Open contest and I didn't go too good. I had a kind of an easy heat. I mean, I had Slater and stuff but when the waves are like that, anyone can win. So I lost my heat early and then now I'm just trying to go on a surf trip.

Is it tough for you to leave Hawaii?

Yeah, it gets pretty tough to leave home. A trip to Nicaragua would be 10 hours from home. It's always tough to fly 10 hours to surf the same kind of waves that I usually get at home with my friends. But then I guess to be a pro nowadays you have to actually get out there and get work done.

What is it like traveling with your sister, Coco?

It's super fun. When the US Open comes around we always like to hang out and whatnot. We'll just roust each other. Coco's so funny, she'll put me in my place more than anyone. My friends give it to me all day but it means something coming from her. But it's awesome hanging out with her--I love it. And I love beating her up in the water. I don't let her get nothing on me when we're out there, but she rips. If I have a bad board, it's on. It'll be a good heat between us.

Has her recent competitive success made you want to step your game up too?

For sure. We've been competing since we were babies, it seems. I got seriously into it when I was 9 years old and she did the same thing when she was 9. We just wanted to be like Dad, and we did surf contests every other week, just contest after contest. I just grew up like that and then I'd go on freesurf trips and be like, "Man, I just want to compete." I just want to put a jersey on and surf with these guys and try to get on the Tour. So my main goal has always been to get on the Tour. I know I'll never be happy without it. I mean, maybe that's a little extreme, but that's my dream. When Coco got on Tour and was winning contests, I was just like, "Come on Mason, you're blowing it!" But I literally try to do my best at every contest. I've actually been trying for a while now--at least three years solid. I'm just waiting for something to click. I've got to just keep working and stay on it--just keep swinging. I need to be on this Tour already.

If someone Googles you in five years, what do you want the first thing that pops up to be?

I wouldn't mind it being a nice picture of me, my dad, my sister, and my mom at the beach or something. But then I actually wouldn't mind a big Waimea photo. Maybe just a tiny knee-high air, or even just me signing some chick's tits or something. I'll take any of it.

It doesn't have to be a photo, it could be a story...

Man, I hope when they Google me there will be a story of how I won the World Title. That would be my dream.

If you could pick one lineup in the world where you could have any wave you wanted at any time, what lineup would that be?

I know we all try to do that at every spot, but it's impossible. I think the spot I'd want to get any wave at would Desert Point for sure. That's my favorite wave. If there was a right like that, it would probably be there, but that left is probably the best wave in the world. I had to leave there when it was firing to come to this Huntington contest. That's a perfect example of what happens when you're trying to qualify for the Tour. Sometimes you just have to leave the best wave in the world while it's firing to surf Huntington Beach. Good thing I love Huntington so much, because I can actually do that. Some guys I know would just say, "I ain't going to Huntington when there are 20-second barrels." But I just love grinding out heats and I'll go back to that wave after I make a heat or two.

Do you have a blog yet? Because blogs are really hot right now.

No, somehow I haven't made a blog. My friend has a Vimeo website and I remember for a while one of my friends got into filming, so I was filming every day and it seemed like we were making a segment every day--pretty good segments. It seemed almost like a blog. I've thought about starting a blog a few times but right when I thought about it people were already teasing it. Like, "Oh, he has a blog, and so and so has a blog. Everyone has a blog." I can't get a blog now. I blew it. I missed my chance.

You've had a mustache from time to time. Do you think that success or good times come and go with a mustache? Like a lucky charm?

Yeah, the mustache is fully a lucky charm. I actually just had one a little while ago and I pulled one of the hottest chicks I've ever had with it. My mind is spun out right now on the mustache thing. I remember I had one when I was like 14 years old. The funniest thing is when I was a kid, I was at the Pipe Masters and Andy was so cool that even right before these gnarly heats he'd just sit there and talk to me and we'd just have these funny conversations--like classic ones. I remember this one time--it was the year he and Slater had that gnarly heat and then Rob went on to win--but I remember that year we had this conversation. "Whatever you do, don't start shaving," he said while rubbing his face. He said, "Wait as long as you can before you shave your face, because that's what I did wrong. I was probably a year or two older than you when I shaved my face and I regret it so much. I have this beard always coming in so now I have to shave every day." He's all like, "It's the worse for kissing chicks." I was a grom and was all like, "But you shaved your face?" He said, "Yeah, don't do it," and I'm like, "Okay" and I went straight home and shaved. I was like 11, and before you know it I was 14 already had a mustache in school. I rocked it for a while. I loved it and then I just figured I've got to change the luck up here and there. I almost want it again because I got a hottie and a lot of good waves with that last mustache I had.

Although his family casts a long shadow, no one can deny that Mason has incredible talent in his own right. Photo: Van Swae