The Best Surfing I Have Ever Seen By Mason Ho

27 Jun 2016 1 Share

Clyde Aikau portrait, Photo by Bernard Testemale

Clyde Aikau portrait, Photo by Bernard Testemale

SURFING WORLD MAGAZINE | Issue 375

The Best Surfing I Have Ever Seen by Mason Ho

EDDIE’S HOUSE

CLYDE AIKAU, THE EDDIE, WAIMEA BAY, 2016

The best surfing I’ve seen in my lifetime is Uncle Clyde Aikau at the Eddie contest this year. It wasn’t the gnarliest high-performance surfing I’ve ever seen, but as far as inspiration and spirit is concerned, he was without peer that day.

I mean, I’ve seen some spirited stuff in the surf. I got to see Andy and Bruce in their prime, and my Dad and Uncle Derek too. I always thought my Dad was the gnarliest guy in the world. He still does throw tails and pulls into Pipe every swell. And it’s even gnarlier when you see what he eats. I’m like, “Woah you ate four waffles today and got barreled at Backdoor! You’re my favourite guy!” But seriously... Uncle Clyde this year was the best ever.

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I was the first guy out for the heat, ’cause my Dad was freaking on me to paddle out real early. I remember seeing Uncle Clyde out there already surfing the heat before mine, and I was thinking, “Woah! Uncle Clyde’s out here. He’s like 66!” It was so wild. I was excited and stoked but every time the fear started to creep in I’d just look at Uncle Clyde and think “Woah! look at that!” He was sitting in the pit man, deeper than some of the craziest big wave surfers in the world.

So I’m sitting miles out to sea waiting for my heat when I hear someone yell “They’re coming, they’re fucking coming!” I thought “Oh my God!” I remember looking back at Uncle Clyde, he and everybody else were like a whole football field back on the inside. I barely got over it and everyone else in the line-up got completely motored. It was the biggest set of the day and it took Uncle Clyde out. And you know what? Uncle Clyde paddled straight back out to do it all over again.

I was only in the event because Uncle Clyde personally invited me to surf in it. I can’t even explain that one. It’s the most amazing honour ever. I don’t know if it all went to my head, but in round two I paddled out and went to give him a big high five, like, “Yeah Uncle!” and he gave me the sternest look. Like, “Brah, why are you trying to shake my hand right now?” It was a real mean old-school Hawaiian look. It just snapped me out of being jokey and talky into deep Hawaiian respect mode and it actually helped me because not long after everyone got steamrolled again, this time by a set that was even bigger than the first one.

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Uncle Clyde got some really nice ones during the event. He has this super cool style when he takes off, the iconic Aikau style. When he takes off his stance is regular, but really it’s postured forward, like the old traditional Hawaiian surfing, like the Duke with a foot forward and parallel look in their stance. It looks so cool. He’s never phased when it’s big, he’s always super calm and I think it has a lot to do with that stance.

He’s such a special guy, like family to me, and a tough nut to crack. There’s always been so much good energy around him. Growing up, I’d always drive past Waimea and think of the Eddie Aikau. If I didn’t, I’d feel guilty. I never drive past without seeing the ocean, the Church, and thinking of Eddie. I pray when I get to his age, I can surf like Uncle Clyde.

Clyde Aikau in the 2016 Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau, Photo by ELLIS

Clyde Aikau in the 2016 Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau, Photo by ELLIS


Tags: mason , ho , clyde , aikau (create Alert from these tags)

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