Some people weren't so sure what to think about Mason Ho signing with Rip Curl. Would he suddenly go corpo? Would we be seeing him with numbers on his back now? Would he quit doing cross-step floaters? Thank goodness: No to all three. On the contrary, Rip Curl decided to make him disappear (in a good way) on various Search trips across the globe. Re-appearing in fantastic clips of perfect surf in far-flung locales that you can just never put your finger on. Yes, Rip Curl decided to fill up Mason's passport and give us views of these lesser known waves — and worlds — through his eyes. And we at SURFING have always loved the way Mason looks at life. Here's a clip of Mason from a recent disappearance in Indo, plus his own take on his five favorite spots to get lost in. –Beau Flemister
1. Lombok: It's for sure one of the best places in the world for surf…easily. Like, usually I've always gone there and we've just surfed that wave that everyone surfs — you know the one — but this last time I went there we surfed a few MENTAL spots I'd never been to before. Just some beautiful, fun little waves. I really like it over there, too. The land reminds me of a cross between the East and West sides of Oahu, like a cross between Makapuu and Yokohama, which are pretty much my favorite spots on those sides.Photo: Corey Wilson
2. Western Australia: I don't know what it is about this place, but there's something about it that's so easy for me to feel at home there. The weather and water aren't too cold, the people are sooo cool, and of course the waves… I stay with the Baldock's each time I go and with them, I feel like they're my family. But West Oz is one of those few places I can go and never feel homesick. In the past, it was kind of my nightmare to go somewhere as long as a month away from home but West Oz feels like another home. There's actually so many waves there that I wish I could bring back to Oahu [laughs]. The Box, Gas Bay, North Point — I know they're the frontrunners — but I wish they were in Hawaii so bad [laughs]. Even to non-surfers, I recommend West Oz when we talk about travel. It's a great place to get off the beaten path too and find your own break. Photo: Corey WIlson
3. Alaska: I love this place because before I went, my dad and I would watch all those Alaskan reality TV shows at home and then when I actually went there I realized those shows aren't even close. They don't even show a hair of how cool and special that place is. I can't even watch my shows anymore! It just belittles the zone now [laughs]. My dad's all eggy that I won't watch them with him. But I was lucky when we went though. We had an amazing captain that took us around and showed us all these spots he found. The guy has spent so much time dialing in the waves up there. I even got to surf a couple spots that haven't been surfed before…maybe they were a little dangerous, a couple rocks here and there [laughs]. I surfed a glacier wave, too. I just love how it's the total opposite of my home. The ice and snow, just sitting out in the cold in all that rubber. At home in Hawaii, we got all those pretty waterfalls and I'd think, f–k it doesn't get much better than this but when I went to Alaska, we'd just sleep in these lagoons with 10 waterfalls around. Just straight out of a fantasy over there.Photo: Celsdo Pereira
Photo: Brent Bielmann
4. Fernando de Noronha: This is one of the only places where I'd gladly go on my own dollar, it's that sick. I love Fernando because you get to drive pipe buggies everywhere. You get to just peel out everywhere and shoot rocks [laughs] and park up by the beach. But the waves — it's all just perfect sandbars and wedges and back home as far as sandbars, we only got, like, Ehukai. So it's great to surf all Fernando's bars. It's also such a small little perfect island, so you can just scope the whole island for waves in a matter of minutes. You could even check every single spot on the island before it's totally light out. I love that because for me, it's easy to settle on a spot and score. Also, you don't even need to forecast swells there, you just go on a full-moon. I always thought that was really cool — you go with the moons. Then the tides bring in the surf and do the rest.
5. Home (North Shore): In my eyes, the North Shore can't be beaten. Period. We got bodyguards, good waves, good food…all the "little things" you need to get happy. [laughs]. I know I'm really lucky, but I don't think you could ever top home. Waves-wise: Backdoor, Rocky Point and the Rockpile zone — those are my favs at home. But what I miss most when I'm traveling is my plate lunches…or when three of my best friends get together and it's chaos. I miss those things about home even more than the waves. But definitely the plate lunches. That sticky white rice…