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Kolohe and Mayhem in numbers

A breakfast with Matt ‘Mayhem’ Biolos in which the unusually specific nature of Kolohe Andino’s boards are discussed; Stab’s theory that Mayhem succeeds because his surfboards are designed for average surfers first and then filter upwards rather than vice-versa; and the discovery that Kolohe’s pops Dino and his speed runs at Uppers were responsible for creating the outline of surfboards ridden by every monster airing kid…

It is a gloomier than usual Sydney summer morn when I scoop up California’s Matt Biolos at the Sydney factory of his shaper pal and occasional biz associate Mr James ‘Chilli” Cheal.

In an industrial zone a few clicks from the beach, we see Biolos a fittish man of middle age, unshaven but not derelict, Jewish but not orthodox, grinding out boards for punters who’ve paid $80 over retail to taste his meats.

Can y’believe it? Taj Burrow and Kolohe’s personal craftsman ruining his lungs for surfers who may or may not’ve ever loosed a fin in their lives? Considering not one of those 100 sleds has my name on it, I don’t know whether to be stunned or jealous. “Every name on the order form is someone you wouldn’t know,” he says thirty mins later when we’re socking javas at the Armchair Collective in Mona Vale. “But, that’s what we’re here for! That’s what pays the bills!”

It’s a pet theme of Mr Biolos’, the importance of looking after the lil man first and believing rewards will follow. “That’s what makes surfboards so special. It’s the only piece of equipment made the way we do it.”

I lay out my theory that his success is strongly related to his ability to make stable platforms for average surfers and that once pro’s get a taste of it, they want it. Therefore, his designs filter upwards whereas most shapers get their feedback from a professional and let it filter downwards, often to no one’s benefit.

“The Sub Scorcher was an average guy’s board that Kolohe rode and then it trickled up and now you’ve got Drivers and all those higher-volumed boards being ridden by the hot shots. I’m shaping high-volume boards for Julian Wilson and thinking, whoa, how did that happen?”

Mick Fanning is another surfer who believes in the high-volume mantra. He was riding boards of around 24 cubic litres, often to radical success, but last year he was kinda feeling that there was more to life than a six-o by 18 3/8”. After riding a Kolohe board at Trestles he upped his cubic litres to 26 (Taj is a 23.5, if you’re wondering). “Put that volume into one of Darren Handley’s already amazing boards and they’re unbelievable,” says Matt.

We talk for a while about how Taj, when he was on the brink of leaving his board sponsor Firewire, made Matt promise he’d be there for him, surfboard-wise; about judges scoring flow more than ever before (Taj beats Adriano!); and in a scenic tour away from surfboard design talk about how Matt initially viewed the presidency of Barack Obama with suspicion (high taxes!) but now he digs on the guy. But, what stuck most in the conversation is the obsessive care taken in the building of Kolohe’s boards.

“(Kolohe’s pops) Dino’s a better version of Dr Frankenstein. He’s the ultimate grinder. He’s fanatical. I’ll be in a meeting and he’ll pace back and forth outside the door just waiting for it to end and then he’ll storm troop in and throw nine boards on the floor. Dino pushes and pushes. We get 30 blanks and we weigh ‘em all and write the weight on the order form. Then we weigh ‘em after they’ve been cut and then after they’ve been glassed. Dino personally drives ‘em to the glasser and paces back and forth at the glass shop making sure the laps aren’t too short, making sure the laps aren’t too long, weighing ‘em after they’re glassed, checking the fin angles and if the fin angles aren’t right he cuts ‘em off and puts ‘em back on again. He came to Australia, called up (shaper) Lee Stacey and said, ‘Fuck it, these waves are so sucky. I want more angles on the fins.’ So they fucking cut the fins off five boards and fucking put them back on. It’s… intense.”

Dino is more than just the meticulous father of a prodigy, howevs. Back when he was owning the US domestic circuit, Dino’s speed runs at Trestles helped create the forward outline that now, accidentally, has become the ideal shape for every hi-fi kid.

“Dino and I developed that forward outline nearly 20 years ago. Dino wasn’t using it for finners but it transitioned over nicely. Dino was always surfing Trestles, surfing Uppers, and he needed that forward outline to get down the line to do those floaters and now Kolohe uses those templates and those rockers to build a strong foundation. They force you to put it on a rail. They force you to draw out your turns. And, almost by default, they give you a much better platform for nose picks and landing backwards.”

Back at the factory, Matt stomps back into the shaping bay, the whip of Mr Cheal grazing his ample cheek. A dozen more boards to hack; a dozen more dreams to realise. – Derek Rielly

  • Aidan

    I pay less for boards than kolohe…whoa!

    • Esdee

      It’s noted $300, as the cost of constructing a board for Kolohe. I doubt he’d have to pay though.

    • hawaii

      your boards are probably made by some backyard crap shaper

      • real hawaii

        your ignorance is shining through…

      • Milton Whilar

        you dont even have a clue on what you are talking about ..I had personally check the work they do at Matt Biolos factory and you should be shamed talking like that, Its “A” CLASS work what they do there from shaping to glass, stick it to your small brain !!!

      • Milton Whilar

        sorry made a mistake, aI apologize, you where responding to #1, so my # 4 comment its not for #3 its really for #1…

      • Nh


    • Nh

      Kolohe doesn’t pay a dime for boards dum dum

  • tood

    best shaper in the world, hands down. how many are going to be riding mayhems at hte lowers event? anyone know?

    • Jeffrey Bell


  • Jack

    Yawns Kolohe’s surfing is ugly! heavy flapping going on in those cutties! as 4 Biolos, Go back 2 tha States Seppo! NEXT!!!!!!!

    • brawly

      jack must be the aussie kook riding buttos hand me downs going left at snapper

  • Smac

    Try around AU$800, I’m sure there’s cheaper going around but $375ish? No way.

  • x

    It says to Pros. Like, say maybe if Ace Buchan wanted to ride one or something.

  • Blizz

    Why is it only Australians feel the need to pointlessly bring to attention any ethnic background other than Cracker?

  • Spanky

    Ah yes my mistake, to the Pro’s indeed. $800…boards ain’t cheap these days huh

  • Jeffrey Bell

    What do you mean by high Volume?

  • nothing interesting

    so biolos finally does what Simon, DH, JS and CI have done forever and its news? At least now someone besides carissa is riding mayhems

  • Maurice

    really interesting to see that Kolohes working with matt on the technical side of his bds and has created the magic formula for him. hard work from his dad ,knowing you are as good as his equipment,shows how far aussie shapers are behind in developing new designs…….

    to see a 17 year olds model ,being ridden by our top surfers,is amazing……..are there ant young surfers in australia working with their shapers to create whats best for them,and not a B grade version of the orginal model…..what are the NEW design characteristics???

  • maggise

    I actually dont understand what all the hype is about. With all due respect, What could Matt Bilios bring to the table that say Greg Webber, Al Merrick or Rusty couldnt bring to the table. I mean how much better could Matt shape a board for a no name than those 3 other shapers ?

    • Wizer

      Rideable boards? Boards that work under hte feet of ordinary guys?

    • Dan

      I’m curious if you’ve ever ridden a …lost board? I could understand from a perspective of someone who hasn’t not understanding the hype, but honestly I’m from America and have been lucky enough to own two in my life and can honestly say they were the best boards I’ve ever owned in my life. It’s not that other shapers don’t shape great boards, it’s just that the …lost boards have something special and all the specs just seem to.. well, work. I’ve had a round tail speed demon II and rocket and think I’m gonna hit up tradewindsurf for another (when my wife let’s me drop another $700) it’s a big investment but if your curious ask a shop if you can try out a used one and see for yourself

  • maggise

    being the most popular shaper doesnt make you the best shaper either. If thats so then the NSP shaper would be the greatest shaper of all time !

  • Bl

    I’m an American and thought I’d respond to all the typical Aussie arrogance in these posts, particularly #14. Been riding Merricks for years. Bought 2 …losts recently. The last one wa to find a better board than the JS Blak Box that just wasn’t working for me. And te SubDriver is the ticket. FOR ME. I’ve had DHDs, McCoys, JSs, McTavishes that have all been ridiculously good boards. But Aussies don’t have a monopoly on the good idea market. And neither doe we “seppos.” (please come up with a better name for us, seppo is old and tired and kinda lame. Aussies are the kings of abusive nicknames and the one you chose for us falls flat.). So try a Biolos shape. If you like it then great. If you don’t, I’m not gonna tell you to F off. Just means it doesn’t work for you. It’s not a blanket national indictment againf Americans (look it up #14). It just means the board didn’t work for you. Just as I’ve had boards by all the Aussie shapers I praised earlier that didn’t work for me. And for those of you who have an overinflated perspective on how hard you rip remember: it’s the magician not the wand.

    • submit to the..

      ur so boring bro. f&^%ing boring yanky douchebagizzle

    • submit to the..

      koook. go blow some shit up some where u mineral snatching freak of liberty derived nature whereby u actually believe u have the right to be a complete waste of oxygen. well, u dont. so go play with some guns and protect urself u stupid c#nt

  • Ryan

    Number 23. You are right about the magician and not the want. It’s the cook and not the chook as my Pops used to say. LOST make good boards as do many others, variety in your quiver keeps it fun.
    Seppo is a fine nickname for most of you that are full of sh1t but if you have one better i’m all ears. A Seppo claiming typical Aussie arrogance is funny, I think you Seppos have us Aussies beat for arrogance in general.

    • Bl

      Yo, it’s the Seppo here responding one last time. Good point. Unfortunately the Ugly American (minority) is the one the draws all the attention, while the Good Ol’ Boy (majority) fly low and avoid the radar. Here in the US, we call our our annoying brethren Douchebags (look it up #14), while the rest of our bros, we just call bro.

      • submit to the..

        dude, the most arrogant yanky douchbags i seem to meet are all the same idiots that claim to not be one of the annoying, loud, arrogant, selfish, sociopathic group, which seems to be all of youm, with the only exceptions being the ones aware enough to know that if they were arrogant, annoying, loud, arrogant and these characteristics were the results of narrowminded mental growth, that they probably wouldnt be aware of it, like u, and as such continue to be the pests. U are the pests. sorry ‘bro’ but you’re a massive douchebag… and thats not arrogance, the results are in ur words. seppo kook

  • the yank

    put another prawn on duh barbie!!!

  • Boom bang

    On biolos,I started enjoying my surfing again after I got on a mayhem.on kolohe,ugly weak style, needs more power in his surfing!! More paddling,less skipping!!

  • antman

    old man dino andino sounds…really…well…adjusted, reminds me of damir dokic

  • F U M F

    Merrick is still the best. show up to a comp and see how many people are riding merricks.

    HOw many titles does merrick have? how many does biolos have? or anyone else for that matter?

  • sid an nancy

    get fucked ! get lost! at least Biolos is honest an tells like it is , does not suck industrie big wig cock , works hard , loves surfing,sponsors wardo , seppo or not ur stand on the mantle deserves respect buddy ,get fucked ,get lost

  • blow hards

    buncha negative Aussie cokeheads, go party your brains out.

  • Bl

    Two more things: It’s Yankee (capital Y, and ee at the end.) you are an angry , narrow minded bunch of illiterate English rejects. Maybe we have a right to be arrogant. Aussies greatest contributions to the world are the Lazer Zap keel fin and Mad Max movies. And fine piece of work Mel Gibson has turned out to be. Thank for dropping that assh@le on us. Nice work. But where’s the motivation to excel when you can go on the dole and surf for free while your countrymen pay your way? And as one Aussie told me:”Why work hard and invent anything? The Americans will figure it out and we will get it for free.” And don’t try to tell me “Footy” is a sport. A homo-erotic mess of meatheads running around in tight shorts, sleeveless shirts, and 1970’s disco haircuts grabbing eachother’s nuts. Not one original thing was said about “Seppos” on this board. Just repeating what you’ve heard from your fellow drunk countrymen. So to all the great Aussies I’ve met, sorry for the rant. To the one-dimensional smll minded white trash on this board, eat me. Oh, and by the way, it’s no secret here, Aussie girls love American guys. Why do you think that is?

    • 1FB

      haha classic! I agree on some levels BI…especially the “Americans invent and we get it for free”…haha i said a similar thing to an American once, but I didn’t actually mean it, just thought it was funny! Have you ever ridden a Simon Anderson? I heard he invented something kinda cool once. Did you mean “small” when you wrote “smll”? I guess we all make mistakes from time to time.
      What kind of footy are you talking about? We have AFL, NRL, UNION and even
      Soccer aka Football for the European Football enthausiast? I personally prefer NRL otherwise known as League…it all depends on what part of Australia you are from and what your Dad would follow when your growing up. For example, West Oz or South Oz chances are you follow AFL. I personally have never
      been on the dole at the age of 28 and I don’t intend to, I think its for foreigners.
      I was un-aware of the love Aussie girls have for American guys…is that a statistic or something you invented? Either way, I prefer Scandi girls myself! To be honest with you BI, I’d much prefer to enjoy a beer with an Americunt then a South African’t from my experiences. Don’t take any of this personally as I am just implying my general chat as I find these blogs are always entertaining as they end up having nothing to do with the the subject at hand. The worst part is i’m a 1 finger bandit when comes to typing so this takes up a good halfa of my time!

  • af

    yeah he doesnt pay a dime.

  • ginz

    Right on BL could not have said it better

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