Coco Ho Interview: Wave Pools Have a Place but It's all about the Ocean

Jason Lock

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Updated 18d ago

It seems nuts that it was a decade ago when Coco Ho first qualified for the Championship Tour. A few years later, Cokes bagged the rookie of the year award and solidified herself as a stylish fire-cracker.

But that was to be expected, right? Daughter of Michael Ho, a Pipe Master, and her uncle Derek, is a former world champion – a life growing up amidst two rippers will instil a natural love of the ocean. And while brother Mason may be remembered for those affable and lively interviews (plus, you know, being one of the top surfers of a generation...) it's Coco who's really taken to the competitive side of pro shredding.

Before jetting to the Keramas event, we checked in for a brief catch up with Miss Ho talking women's vs men's prize money, goals for the CT, and Slater's wonder ranch.

So, what are your goals for the CT this year?
I want to win an event this year. Any one, the entire schedule, every stop is pretty special.

After qualifying for the tour at 17, what was going running through your mind? Nerves? Excitement?
Almost nothing [laughs]. You’re so new to the whole thing you don’t know the impact it has in years to come.

Is there anyone on tour you don’t like competing against? And how do you cope with that?
Not in particular. It’s funny because you travel with the same girls so you learn everyone’s tendencies, strengths, weaknesses and then it becomes more of a science. 

What about the venues – where’s your favourite/least favourite?
I love Snapper Rocks, Bells Beach, US open, France and Honolua. Anywhere could be your least favourite if the waves are bad on that day [laughs]. 

How do you feel about holding a comp in Slater’s/WSL’s wonder pool?
It’s pretty interesting. We always complain about not having equal opportunity when we do lose, now we have this. But it has its faults and it’s really hard to not want to sit in the barrel the entire time...

What do you think of the wave pool movement in general?
It definitely has a time and place but can’t take up too much of the sport as it’s all about the ocean. 

Mason’s probably one of the most-liked personalities in our humble little world, talk us through growing up together – if you could describe your brother in one sentence, what would that be?
Oh my! He’s heaven sent - positive, funny and so enlightened. Anytime I’m sad he’ll text me or make me laugh and I realise... wow... I am the luckiest girl in the world. 

And do you find yourself giving him any advice about the pro circuit?
The QS for the men is so brutal I try not to even watch. It’s heartbreaking. I love watching him do his thing in the triple crown — he shines so bright. 

The boundaries of female surfing are continually being pushed, where can you see it going?
So much further. I love the grace women bring to the sport, it’s so pretty and fun to watch the likes of Steph and Carissa.

Given the WSL prize money structure – do you think it’s unfair that the men get paid more?
Of course. But I look at it in terms of work. And they make more heats to be in the quarters, semis...

What would you say is the Ho family ethos?
Love what you do, or don’t do it. 

What’s next in the world of Coco Ho?
Progress [smiles].