Kolohe Andino Is A Blind, Unstable Headcase Hiding A Soft, Bleeding Heart Under A Prickly Shield Of Armor… When It Comes To Surfboards
How he likes his sausage(s) made, raw and uncut.
Editor’s note by Ethan Davis:
We asked Kolohe Andino, our Stab in the Dark star, to spell out how he analyzes a shortboard prior to riding them. Of course, you can never know if a surfboard will work a priori — you can only guess using the touchy-feels, the bulletproof armpit test, and the mystical powers of induction.
As with any test, there are known unknowns (i.e. will Chris Borst’s squash tail work in Indonesia?). These are the questions you set out to answer and write hypotheses in relation to. But often you stumble upon something along the way that has nothing to do with what you originally set out to answer, but is interesting nevertheless. Byproducts, if you will.
For example, I bet you didn’t know Chris Borst was the third person to ever land a 540 on a skateboard, and he shaped Caity Simmers’ 2024 Hawaii quiver entirely on a machine without a single person laying a finger on them before glassing. It is one of the great byproducts to come out of our experiment thus far. We’ll have an interview with Chris on-site tomorrow.
That’s what this whole Stab in the Dark test is about really – figuring out what HP shortboard works best when you are blind to many of the assumptions you make when looking at a logo, plus learning some stuff about the shapers and test pilots along the way.
In the following article, we got Kolohe Andino to spell out how he thinks when greeted with a lineup of 13 near identical blanks, with only minor design features distinguishing them.
Getting a top-level surfer to spell out their heuristics when examining a surfboard can be illuminating as much as it is comical and character revealing, and we thought Kolohe’s ability to think in both absolutes and 50 shades of gray, and oscillate back and forth between them, fully aware of the irony, might be a good way to set the table.
Despite his request, the following words have been edited minimally.
Words by Kolohe Andino.
Precursor: Beware — if you know me at all, you know my brain is like Big 20’s rubik’s cube. Scrambled, frustrated with no rhyme or reason. Anything can come at any time, backed with passion and strong will. Only to be thrown against the wall with anger and hate.
So if I say I hate something right now, the wind might blow a different way tomorrow and I’ll be searching for that particular thing to solve all my questions.
You eat with your eyes.
Visually speaking as the board lays on the ground or in your friend’s hand or on the rack, I cannot stand bad colors on boards. Usually in the range of dull pastel colors. These kinds of foods make me want to fast. Surfing is about aggression, counter culture and youth. Pastels do not coincide with that.
Give me a full-bodied drop
Once I get over the rusty red sauce on my eggs, we can dive into how the premature chooks are cooked. Something that has always been with me and stood true, is the needle nose… I cannot do them. Always enjoyed a nice full outline. Maybe its my dad teaching me about round full surfing before kiddish flick turns. I don’t know what it is but those long 90’s pencil noses ain’t for me.
Ray Charles’ quiver; take your eyes away.
Without even going pit to palm, you already have an assumption of how the board may work. Sure, I have bounced around throughout my life on this subject. Heavy equipment for both large windy waves, weighted epoxy grovelers for choppy afternoon knee high slop, to a light 6’10” for Sunset that felt amazing until Garrett Parkes got a double barrel in the last second of the heat to beat me. But it’s not about me. One thing that absolutely cannot happen is that when you pick it up and the tail is heavier than the rest of the board. Uneven weight or tail drop? These colors don’t fly.
Dome decks also don’t fly
Next step as you put the sled under your arm. Something that has always been the no-fly zone for me in any condition… is what we call the “dome deck”. Where the center of the board is much fuller than the rail and creates a pinching sensation in your hand. These seem to ride extremely tippy… meaning when you hit that rail with brute force it tends to skip, slide or dig. And even though Margo said it’s a beautiful thing to learn to finesse your power surfing, I have one speed and one speed only. Now I’m sounding like Ricky Bobby. Whatever.
Eyes can be deceitful, follow your heart.
As I grab my board with both hands and turn it over, I tend to both look at the rail rocker and the stringer rocker. Both vs each other, where they bend and scoop. I have gone in and out and up and down and round and round with this concept. But hopefully by now I am comfortable enough in my own skin to say: “Rocker and concave are not for me”. You see when you have mood swings, always changing your mind and roaring anxiety, you have to have something that stands true. Consistency. Simplicity. Something that relaxes you and scratches your back and says it’s okay. Something that when you stand up all your worries dissolve into thin air no matter the wind, wave, foot placement, previous results or how many full rotations the Brazilians did in Portugal. Rocker and concave are for the simple man. The tack sharp man. The stable man. The man with finesse. These are not my traits…
Mood becomes my biggest hurdle whilst trying equipment. If I’m down and over it or sad and anxious I can have the best boards ever and not even know it. Sometimes I’ll have to try a board for weeks to know if it works good or not. All the while never really landing on any conclusions until I make some heats on it. I’m a perfectionist. So in its entirety… if every wave I don’t feel complete bliss, I’ll tend to nitpick and end up riding something completely different from when the process started. On the other end of the spectrum, if I’m in a good mood I can make anything work. Finally, I cannot try anything unless I’m really excited about it.
Please proofread cause lord knows I’m illiterate…
Episode 2 (February 6th, 5 pm PST)
James Cheal of Chilli Surfboards
Britt Merrick of Channel Islands
Jason Stevenson of JS Industries
Darren Handley of DHD Surfboards
Rusty Priesendorfer of Rusty Surfboards
Episode 3 (February 20th, 5 pm PST)
Hayden Cox of Haydenshapes
Timmy Patterson of T.Patterson
Episode 4 (March 5th, 5 pm PST)
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