All Photos: Corey Wilson
The 2015 WSL is good at a lot of things. Live broadcasting? Their forte. Making bold financial decisions in hopes of propelling the sport of surfing further? Swipe the AmEx! Assigning a number to every male and female WCT surfer? Umm, nobody asked, but sure. The list could carry on to the point where it fills a king’s scroll. But even with a hypothetical scroll filled with positive attributes, there is one thing that the WSL is very bad at: timing.
They were punched by the fist of ill fate during the season opener on the Gold Coast -- the waiting period was literally sandwiched between two great swells. And here at Bells, the fingers of ill fate are at least giving the League a good titty twister. Yesterday was firing. Classic Bells, and I only use the word “classic” because it’s Bells and saying “classic Bells” is like saying a husky girl has a cute face. So yesterday had a nice smile and today did not. Still, seven heats of Round 1 ran and let’s talk about that.
Jeremy Flores, Brett Simpson, Kelly Slater, John John Florence, Gabriel Medina, Mason Ho and Jordy Smith all won heats. One of those names should surprise you and no, we’re not talking about Brett. Mason Ho stunned everyone -- including opponents Frederick P. and Michael Fanning -- by winning his heat. He did it with an air that was worthy of a shriek from a fan and an 8.00 from a judge. Lest we forget that Mick won here last year and Mason has never surfed a ‘CT heat (outside of Pipeline) ever. Gotta dig stats like that. But let’s not hyperbolize it.
Mason Ho is a great surfer who’d find great success as a permanent resident of the tour. His performance today was proof. But it was only one heat at shitty Rincon, and that’s what makes the story of Mason today important. Not because the fact that it was shitty (not “classic,” much like a fat girl with bad teeth) Rincon should take anything away from Mason’s result. But because it was fat girl with bad teeth Bells and Mason made it interesting. His surfing is full of uncertainty -- you truly never know what to expect and every wave he stands up on sparks interest in your eye. The spark translated to a big win today, and that’s what made his maiden ‘CT appearance so important.
Oh and yes, his comments in the competitors area were better than anything he spouted on the webcast.