Mason Ho (HAW), a wildcard in the upcoming Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal, is from one of Hawaii's legendary surf families: His uncle Derek is a World Champion and four-time Vans Triple Crown winner; his Dad Michael was a two-time Triple Crown winner and former Championship Tour standout; and his sister Coco is a current CT surfer.
And yet Mason, at age 25, is a distinguished surfer in his own right. Not only can he boost and ride barrels with the best of them, but his upbeat and sometimes quirky sensibility makes him a favorite among fans and fellow pros. Before he paddles out in Peniche, he emailed with the WSL about facing Gabriel Medina (BRA) in Round 1, his favorite surf movies, and Supertubos, the site of the Rip Curl Pro.
WSL: You last competed against CT surfers at Bells. What's the biggest thing you learned there that you'll take with you to Portugal?
Mason Ho: From Bells I learned that these events for me could be the opportunity of a lifetime, so focus, grab it and have fun.
WSL: What's the toughest part about competing against CT surfers?
MH: The toughest part for me would be picking my pintail from my squash tail.
WSL: In Round 1 in Portugal, you'll be surfing against Miguel Pupo and Gabriel Medina, who defeated you in Round 3 at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in April. What's your game plan to beat that guy? Does his performance in France impact your take on things?
MH: I'm stoked on my heat draw here, it's always fun surfing with my friend Gabriel. He is a pure-breed freak. No game plan specifically for him. His performance in France was amazing but doesn't change my take on things.
WSL: How would you describe the wave in Peniche? What's your game plan to tackle it?
MH: The wave in Peniche is SUPER SICK. It's like a perfect barrel at home but over pure sand.
WSL: Does your sister, father, or uncle give you any advice on competing? If so, what have they told you about Portugal?
MH: Yes they do. Dad's list is far too long. My uncle says don't leave my wetsuits outside no matter what. And Coco has a lot of good advice like stay busy and don't sit still for too long over here because the waves are always moving around the sand bank.
WSL: You're known for your fantastic surfing -- in heavy waves and above the lip -- but also for your upbeat personality. What's your secret for staying so positive? Do you ever have bad days -- and if so, what do you do to manage them?
MH: Thank you! I'm not sure if there's a secret to it or what it is. But I do know I just try to enjoy myself and listen to my gut with good breathing. Also positive gangster music from the '80s and early '90s.
WSL: Living on the North Shore seems like a surfer's dream. What's the biggest misconception about the place?
MH: No misconception, it's the surfer's dream.
WSL: Here are some rapid-fire questions for you:
Backfire 4- 13-foot and glassy.
Michael, Derek and Coco Ho, as well as Andy Irons.
Blue Crush or Big Wednesday?
I like Blue Crush better because my sister is in it. Also all the actresses were cool in person ...and [good-looking].
Point Break or The North Shore?
North Shore because Uncle D and Dad were in it.
Number one goal before the year is out?
Win a WSL event :)
Catch Mason and Championship Tour surfers go to battle in the Moche Rip Curl Pro Portgual, the second-to-last elite contest of the 2015 season, starting Tuesday, October 20. The contest will stream live daily on the WLS website and WSL App.