Like father, like son: Like Michael, like Mason
Mason Ho hit the DNA lottery at birth.
Consider the bloodline that he shares.
Mason’s Uncle Derek was Hawaiian Amateur Champion at 14, he won the 1984 Duke Kahanamoku Classic with brother Michael finishing second. Derek Ho won the Pipeline Masters in 1986 and finished second in 1991. He won the Triple Crown in 1984, 1986, 1988 and 1993. By 1993 he was our World Champion, a two-time winner of the Pipeline Masters and a four-time winner of the Triple Crown.
Meanwhile, Mason Ho’s own father, Michael, is a true legend in the pantheon of surfing legends, with a list of surfing achievements that is breathtaking. By 1970, Michael was already the US Boys Champion at 12 years old. He took fifth place at the 1972 World Championships in Ocean Beach as a skinny 15 year old. That same year he started charging Sunset Beach, by now squire to Eddie Aikau, Jeff Hakman, Gerry Lopez, Reno, BK and the entire pantheon of 70s Hawaiian greats. Michael Ho was a full time professional surfer by high school graduation, long before Shaun and Rabbit ever busted down any doors. By 1975, at 17 years old, He was runner up at the Duke and the Pro Class Trials. During 1976 through 1988 he was relentless on the international pro tour, rising to third in the world rankings. He and friend Dane Kealoha were the Hawaiian spearhead for all the world to see, ripping from J'Bay to Bells Beach to Japan and beyond.
Michael Ho has been a five time Pipeline Masters finalist. In 1982 he won with a cast on his right arm, inventing the backside 'pigdog' approach to surfing. Micheal Ho owns thirteen Duke Trophies, is an eight time Duke finalist and has won it in 1978 and 1981. He is a four time winner of the Xcel Pro, two time Triple Crown Champ and George Downing says he will not hold the Eddie without Michael Ho in it, Michael being one of the few contestants to whom Eddie was a close friend.
Remarkably, at 40 years old, Michael Ho was the runner-up at the 1997 Pipe Masters defeating Kelly Slater in an earlier heat. He won the World Masters Championship in France in 2000. And in 2003 at Makaha, he damn near won it again. And don’t even get us started about Mason Ho’s sister Coco.
Which is all to say that it has either been very difficult for Mason Ho to live up to this legacy, or very easy for him due to his inherited talent. It certainly looks like the latter is true. No top pro surfer seems to have more fun in the surf. But do not let this energetic approach fool you. Mason is the real deal. Just go back and take a look at the giant Waimea wave he almost won the Eddie on.
Obviously the Ho Family’s legacy is in good hands with Mason. His father living proof that legacy is not about leaving something for someone, it is about leaving something in someone. The goal is not to live forever. The goal is to leave something behind that will.
We will all be known forever by the tracks we leave.
(All photos by Pete Matthews)