If the old saying “The best surfer in the water is the one who’s having the most fun” rings true, then Mason Ho is the best surfer ever. For those of you not familiar with him, allow me to introduce you: Mason is the son of legendary Hawaiian surfer Michael Ho. He’s the brother of women’s world tour standout Coco Ho, and if you ask just about any surfer fromKelly Slater to Dane Reynolds, you’ll no doubt get a consensus that Mason Ho is hands down one of the most exciting, unpredictable, and fun-to-watch surfers on the planet. Whether it’s pulling into massive Pipeline while looking back into the barrel with a huge smile, or doing insanely creative and high-risk aerial surfing over dry reef, Ho’s act on a surfboard is like no one else’s.
Ho has become a huge Internet surf sensation with the clips he’s been dropping for the last few years on his website, burgerinparadise.com—he shares the site with his best buddy, Cheeseburger—as well as every other surf website and blog on the ’net. Clips featuring Ho literally dodging rocks while getting spit out of tubes and doing some of the craziest flips and spins have been rocking the Web, and Ho shows no sign of slowing down in the video department; a slew of footage from his epic 2013-’14 North Shore season is being edited and prepared for drop as we speak.
While Ho is the master of his home domain on the North Shore of Oahu, he feels equally as confortable at far-flung beachbreaks and reefs around the world—a trait he learned early while travelling the globe with his dad and then, later, on his own to compete in WQS events and go on frequent freesurfing filming trips. We caught up with Ho between adventures and asked him for a few tips on how to travel like a pro—or at least like Mason Ho.
Must be a little bit hard for you to travel all the time when you already live in one of the best places in the world.
Oh man, that’s true. I love everything about staying home: the friends, the family, the perfect waves, and I love my favorite little schedule. Just wake up, cruise, check the waves, surf all my favorite little spots. Then again, if my pops or sister is traveling with me, it feels like home wherever I am. I try to travel with them as much as possible; that way, I don’t get homesick.
Besides your dad and sister, what are your top-five travel essentials?
Well, the first thing would be my surfboard—never leave home without your surfboard! I would say boardshorts, but sometimes I guess they’re not essential, ’cause you can surf naked if you want, and sometimes I do. I always have to have my music. I never travel without a set of speakers and an iPod or my computer to play music with. Lately I’ve been listening to a bunch of live Jimi Hendrix stuff and it’s getting me so amped to surf. Another thing I always bring, and this may sound like a sponsor plug, but for real, my new Etnies Scouts are the perfect travel shoe. Lightweight and great for keeping your feet safe when you’re running through fields … away from cops. [Laughs.] Nah, but they’re really light and roll up so you can pack them away when you don’t need ‘em—like I said, the perfect travel shoes.
Did I say my wallet? I guess that’s a given. Oh, I never leave home without my little Cricket switchblade knife. You always need a knife no matter where you’re at. I use it for everything—cutting leash strings, fixing stuff, everything. Always bring a little knife. I guess last, but very importantly, I gotta bring my good friend and filmmaker Rory Pringle! You gotta have someone good behind the lens to get the clips and share your adventures with, and Rory’s the best.