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Meet Mason Ho—Legacy Talent and Inexhaustible Entertainer

When it comes to surfing celebrity, there are a number of ways to find success. Some people battle their way to the top of the world tour rankings. Others specialize at specific waves, such as Pipeline or Teahupoo.

Some surfers develop reputations for being big wave psychos, while others style their way to fame in freesurf edits, whether on shortboards or logs.

On the North Shore, in particular, there are a lot of different ways to become famous. Entire generations of surfers have built careers simply from charging the heavy water spots located between Turtle Bay and Haleiwa. In addition, there are hipsters, influencers, Triple Crown competitors, bodyboarders, body surfers—just about anything you can do in the water can turn you into a celebrity on the North Shore. But with so many talented watermen and women packed into such a small area, it can be hard to stand out. Ultimately, the vast majority of surfing pros and celebrities end up looking very similar—which is a nice way of saying there isn’t much originality in our sport anymore.


The bright and shining exception to this rule is Mason Ho. A surfer destined for greatness for any number of reasons (he is the son of North Shore legend Mike Ho, nephew of world champion Derek Ho, brother of world tour veteran Coco Ho, and an uber-talented surfer in his own right who regularly puts in dominant performances at Pipeline and Waimea), Mason built a career on all of these factors, but at the same, something completely different—his wacky, unique, often hilarious personality.

Much of Mason’s success has come on the back of his successful YouTube channel, which is widely considered to be one of the most entertaining in the business.

No one ever knows what to expect when he drops a new edit. It could be anything from a hell big wave session to a crazy word salad interview about random topics (his description of his perfect wave is legendary).

But more likely than not, it will be his specialty—a dry-reef, rock-bounce session at some strange, novelty slab or wedge that anyone else in the world would consider to be unsurfable.

Mason has destroyed more boards and fins on dry rocks than most pro surfers will ever own, and we surf fans love him for it. When we tune into his channel, half the fun is seeing what strange …Lost design he will be riding—and the other half is holding our breath as we wait to see if it’s going to get blasted to smithereens on exposed rocks.

Incredibly, Mason never seems to get hurt, which is pretty crazy considering the mutants that he surfs. But there’s never any guarantee that he’ll come out of his sessions unscathed, which is what keeps bringing us back for more—that, and the fact that every time he talks on camera, it’s the funniest thing we’ve seen all week.

The amazing thing about Mason, of course, is that even though he rides novelty waves and makes novelty edits, there’s nothing novelty about his surfing. Sure, he does weird stuff on a surfboard—crazy laybacks and lay forwards in the barrel, as well as bizarre airs, cross-step floaters, and switch-stance thingamajigs—but he isn’t clowning around for the camera. Mason is just so incredibly good at surfing that these are the sorts of variations he has to incorporate into his wave riding to stay interested—and amazingly, he actually makes them functional.

Pic by Mason Ho IG @cocom4debarrelkilla

In a world that is full of either cookie-cutter pros or wannabe hipsters who intentionally surf crappy boards and spend half their time on the wave worry about posing and weird body positioning just to make themselves look unique, Mason Ho is a breath of fresh air every time he paddles out. He’s one of the most unique surfers out there, but also one of the best—and even though he’s the ultimate entertainer, he never appears to be putting on an act. He’s simply a modern-day throwback to a generation that his dad and uncle used to dominate—one in which unique boards, personalized approaches, a ton of natural talent, and the desire to have as much fun as possible helped shape surfing into what it is today.