With the DNA of a Sunset Beach surfing champion, 25-year-old Mason Ho followed his father Michael's legendary footprints to post his first ASP victory in the HIC Pro.
His dad won this particular event four times between 1988 and 1996, and now Mason becomes the 30th name on the HIC Pro winner's cup. His win earns him $15,000; takes him to No.1 on the ASP Hawaii regional rankings; and earns him a wildcard into the Round of 64 of the first two events of the prestigious Vans Triple Crown of Surfing that starts next Tuesday.
Mason will now be hoping his dream run of today continues with a dream finish in the Vans Triple Crown. His dad was the original Triple Crown champion back in 1983, and won the Vans World Cup of Surfing 3X from 1983-85.
Ho fended off a late challenge in the final from veteran Pancho Sullivan, as the two traded off tube rides and deep carves - posting 16.26 and 13 points respectively, for their top two rides. Ho had the highest single wave score of the final - an 8.93 for his tube ride. Third place was Evan Valiere (Kauai, 29 - 8.6 points). Fourth was Gavin Gillette (Kauai, 27 - 4.57 points).
"It feels great to win in front of all my best friends and all the people that I walk past every day," said Ho. "It's always been a goal in my life to win contests, but to do it here at home. I've never really won a World Tour contest before and I've been doing it for years, so I'm really happy.
"I already was in but I didn't have a top seed and I've always wanted that going into the Triple Crown. Momentum's always nice."
The island of Oahu was under a deluge of rain and flood warnings, yet an eery break in the clouds over Sunset Beach kept the crowd dry for the duration of the final. There was plenty to cheer about with an all-Hawaii final and two of Sunset's favorite sons in the water. None cheered louder than Michael Ho, for his son, elated to share an experience he knows so well.
Equal fifth after semi-final losses were Maui's Dusty Payne, and Haleiwa's Joel Centeio. Equal 7th in the event were Torrey Meister (Haleiwa), and lone Australian Mitch Coleborn (Queensland).
The HIC Pro was a local qualifier for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Nine regional surfers will qualify once final seedings and ratings have been calculated.
All eyes now turn to the Vans Triple Crown, which potentially starts Tuesday, November 12, at Haleiwa Ali'i Beach - home of the REEF Hawaiian Pro.
1st. ($15,000) - Mason Ho, 25, Sunset Beach, Oahu - (points)
2nd. ($7,500) - Pancho Sullivan, 40, Sunset Beach, Oahu
3rd. ($5,000) - Evan Valiere, 29, Kilauea, Kauai
4th. ($3,500) - Gavin Gillette, 27, Kilauea, Kauai
SF1: Evan Valiere (HI); Gavin Gillette (HI); Dusty Payne (HI); Torrey Meister (HI)
SF2: Mason Ho (HI); Pancho Sullivan (HI); Joel Centeio (HI); Mitch Coleborn (AUS)
QF1: Dusty Payne (HI); Evan Valiere (HI); Ezekiel Lau (HI); Skip McCullough (USA)
QF2: Gavin Gillette (HI); Torrey Meister (HI); Gregg Nakamura (HI); Ian Walsh (HI)
QF3: Mason Ho (HI); Pancho Sullivan (HI); Nathan Yeomans (USA); Isaiah Moniz (HI)
QF4: Joel Centeio (HI); Mitch Coleborn (AUS); Dion Atkinson (AUS); Matt Pagan (US