Kolohe ‘Brother’ Andino has Lower Trestles, California wired about as well as a 17-year-old can have any spot wired. He lives as close as you can get to the place and has been surfing there since he first stood up. He’s also dialled-in with competitive surfing, being an avid student of judging, the main players and, well, every other element of the game. So, with the 2011 Hurley Pro, Trestles starting in, like, three days’ time, Stab asked Brother for a lil’ breakdown of the whole damn thing.
*Kolohe might’ve been a wildcard for the event, had he done better in the trials – they were held during the US Open, Huntington, and Kolohe’s unfortunately-timed trials heat immediately followed a close loss to Dane Reynolds in the main event. Bummed-out by the loss, he couldn’t pick up the pieces. Can y’blame him? Neithers. Anyhow…
Stab: What’s the key to owning Lowers? What’ll sort the men from the boys?
Kolohe Andino: The first section on the wave allows for a huge manoeuvre, and if guys are really willing to fall on a perfect wave, first manoeuvre… y’gotta put the risk against the reward, but if you do a big manoeuvre on the first turn, that’s where you’re gonna see the huge scores. Everyone’s starting to do airs, so the guys with that first manoeuvre are gonna get the big score. Plus, if you do it right, you’re set up for the rest of the wave. You could do, y’know, one or two more airs, with turns in between. The airs are gonna be scored highest I think, for sure, but then guys like Taylor Knox, and obviously Kelly, who can do it all, and the same with Dane, they’re gonna get huge scores for traditional power, on-rail surfing. It’s a challenge for the judges. But, there’s no way you can do double grabs. Can’t do ‘em. They’re one of those things where it’s like, an air, but not a good air, so you can’t get scores for those. No one should be doing them.
Who’s gonna win the event this year? (Without hesitation) Kelly (Slater). F’sure. Well, not for sure, but I think it’ll be him. He’s won there a lot (’05, ’07, ’08, ’10). And even though all the madness is going on with aerials, if he has to do a big air, he’s gonna do one, like we saw in New York. Even if he hasn’t been going mental the whole event, he’ll keep advancing, then all of a sudden he’s the best guy on the last day. That’s just the way it works with him. Y’know, with Teahupoo, Josh Kerr, Owen Wright, they were all stand-outs the whole time, and Kelly was making it through with some of the lower totals, but still winning his heats. And the last day is when he really shines. That’s just what he does. I think he’s gonna win here.
If you had to name three other guys that could win, who’d they be? I think Taj Burrow, for sure. He’s been ripping. I consider him a friend of mine and I’d be so psyched for him if he won. Then, I think Mick Fanning. If it’s bigger rights, the waves really suit his surfing, so I think he’d have a good chance. And also, Owen. He’s hot off a second and a first, hot off that $300k. He’s one of those guys that’s going for the title, y’know? And he has those airs on lock, like, whatever he wants, whenever. Different grabs, backside and frontside. So, I think he’ll do good for sure. Gabriel Medina and that whole new crew have a good chance, but it’s hard for me to see them winning the first event they enter. I think next year will be more the year for them out here. But they’re gonna have some amazing heats, f’sure. I could see all three of those guys – John John Florence, Medina, Miguel Pupo – all in the quarters. But for them to sustain amazing surfing for the whole event, with the jitters and the mindset you gotta be in for a WT event, it’d be pretty hard straight off the bat. – Elliot Struck
Below is as good a reason as any other why we asked kolohe for a breakdown of Lowers. And yes, he goes against his own advice and does a double-grab, but this was a while back and he’s since learnt the evils of gripping-double.