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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, September 17, 2006

Surfer Ho has name, game

By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer

Charlie Carroll of Wai'anae catches a ride off Kewalo Basin in the opening contest of the 2006-07 Macy's E-Series. He placed third.

BERNIE BAKER | Special to the Honolulu Advertiser

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Based on family history, Mason Ho has been ready to become a professional surfer for several years. Yesterday, he solidified it.

Ho won the shortboard surfing division of the opening contest of the 2006-07 Macy's E-Series yesterday at Kewalo Basin. It was the first professional victory for Ho, who is 18 and a professional rookie.

"Some of these guys are the guys I used to try and copy when I was younger," Ho said. "So I was happy just to be in a final with them. I was trying not to be intimidated."

Ho is the son of famous North Shore surfer Michael Ho, and the nephew of former world champion Derek Ho.

"There's some pressure that comes with the name," he said. "But my dad and my uncle have helped me so much to get to this point. I can't complain."

The intent of the Macy's E-Series is to keep the up-and-coming professional surfers from Hawai'i active in contests when on break from international events. Ho, for example, is currently on a break from competition on surfing's World Qualifying Series.

"I think it's a great idea to have this," Ho said. "The more events in Hawai'i, the better."

Defending E-Series champion Dustin Cuizon of 'Ewa Beach placed a close second yesterday. Ho's top two waves received a total score of 14.5 to Cuizon's 13.9.

Ho's best ride featured an aerial maneuver that received a score of 8.0.

"I was just going for it, having fun," he said. "I didn't think I was going to land it, but I did."

Cuizon actually led for most of the heat, and Ho took the lead for good with around three minutes remaining with a wave score of 6.5. Cuizon needed a score of 6.86 to win it in the closing seconds, but his final wave received a score of 4.1.

"The waves were fun, I just came up a little short," Cuizon said. "But these contests are always good. It keeps us ready for the bigger events."

Charlie Carroll of Wai'anae placed third, and Joel Centeio of Makakilo was fourth. Centeio dominated several heats earlier in the day, but could not find the same success in the final.

Kapono Nahina of Hale'iwa won the longboard surfing division yesterday, thanks in part to a new board."

"I got it three days ago and it feels really good," Nahina said of his 9-foot board shaped by his sponsor, Craig Sugihara.

"I think that was the biggest difference because everybody here is good."

Kekoa Uemura, the defending longboard champion of the E-Series, placed second. Nahina's two best waves received a total score of 14.25 to Uemura's 13.75. Uemura needed a score of 6.5 to win it in the closing seconds, but he received a 5.5.

Keegan Edwards placed third, and Kai Sallas was fourth. The 2006-07 E-Series will feature three more contests at various locations around O'ahu. The next event is scheduled for February at Ma'ili Point.

Reach Dayton Morinaga at dmorinaga@honoluluadvertiser.com.