Mason Ho is sitting in a rusty lawn chair in his overgrown yard in Sunset Beach, scratching his dog, Hurricane, behind the ears, reassuring him that he is, indeed, a good boy.
"Well, except when you bite people," Ho qualifies.
Hurricane and his owner are both oddities: one is an old, three-legged pit bull mix, and the other is one of surfing's strangest characters. Ho is best known for his unorthodox approach in the water, doing things like off-axis airs and cross-step floaters, sometimes on the same wave. He also gravitates toward weird surf spots, spending much of his time getting barreled and dodging jagged rocks at one of Oahu's least-surfable slabs.
While Ho's playful, chaotic dance translates perfectly on video, which is how he's made a name for himself as a freesurfer, he explains that he has lofty competitive aspirations as well. No one doubts that Ho has the raw talent to succeed against the world's best; the question is whether or not he can do so without losing the unique, rough edges that have defined him as a surfer.