Mason Ho (HAW)
After missing out on the swell of the year hit Padang for last year’s Rip Curl Cup, the barrel hardened regularfooter from the North Shore is looking to claim the crown – and making sure he won’t miss any good swells to hit Indo this season. Surfing’s Ambassador of Fun finished third in his first Rip Curl Cup appearance in 2016. But competitors beware: While he may be the ambassador of fun, Mason’s skills in heavy barrels are no laughing matter.
Keito Matsuoka (JPN)
Keito Matsuoka won the O’Neill Wave of the Winter with his psychotic 2nd reef bomb at Pipeline during the Backdoor Shootout this year. The judging apanel included Shane Dorian, Gerry Lopez and Shawn Briley, and everyone agreed, Keito’s wave was nuts! Matsuoka, 29, started coming to the North Shore when he was 12 and has stayed with Cheeseburger for the last ten years. The Japanese regularfoot trained with North Shore legend Kahea Hart as a teenager, learning the various lineups, boxing, doing yoga, etc — and hanging with Burger and Mason Ho. (A learning curve in and of itself, to be sure.)