Stab Caddy 2.0: Kolohe Andino’s AOS-Winning Mayhem
The ultimate Q board!
This time last year, Kolohe Andino was just beginning to figure out his competitive hand on tour. His first years in the league weren’t great, which he’ll admit. He whirled in on a magic blanket of hype having grounded the Q(S) into dust, and we all expected a similar texture on the CT. But the vets just puffed at his hype and their level 15 exp. points were too much, even with an invaluable asset like Dino Andino in Brother’s corner. That’s just part of learning, though. He was training too much, skipping rope too often and throwing metal didn’t convert to heat wins. By his own admission, he just needed to surf. And by year’s end in 2014, Kolohe didn’t look out of place on finals day on the CT. Now, it’s what we’ve come to expect, and when he won the QS6000 Australian Open of Surfing at Manly it was the definitive sign that Brother’s autopilot mode is now an ultra-competitive global haul. His surfing was rapid in the beachbreaks of Manly. Despite the gutless force he was fast, on point, frontside and back. Stab wished to know more about the Matt Biolos-shaped Mayhem which delivered said performance, and what that giant “Q” is all about.
To understand how tightly tuned Kolohe’s contest boards are, you’ve first gotta understand one of surfing’s best surfer-shaper relationships. Matt Biolos is undoubtedly one of the world’s premiere foamsmiths, but a large part of his value is in his penchant for communicating and perfecting his craft via surfers like Kolohe. According to Kolohe, a common conversation between the two often has to do with different spots on tour. “Like at Bells how you have so much speed that you want to slow down a bit in the bowl – that’s a secret that Joel told me BTW – so I need to tailor my boards for that. But I get so many good boards that a lot of the time when I talk to him it’s just, “this board is good, but this board is really good!”
The Oz Open board was one of the really good ones. “In the earlier rounds I was riding a different one with black rails, the one that I rode at the US Open last year, and a one star this year, and it just felt like it was dying a little bit. It’d been broken before, and I was kicking a dead horse down the trail I think. Before one of my heats Mick picked it up and said, “wow this board’s heavy for an epoxy.” Then later he picked up the one that I ended up winning on and said, “yeah this one’s way lighter.” I thought I had a magic board and managed to scrape through my heat on it. But then I asked my team manger if I looked a little slow, and he said maybe, so I tried the new one and it felt way sparkier.”
On literage, a subject that’s often debated, Kolohe is unquestionably sold. “My boards have changed a lot in the last year, but my litreage hasn’t changed much. My boards look a lot smaller but they aren’t, the foam is just distributed differently.” This is true of the board Brother rode in last year’s AOS compared to this year’s: “It was still a 5’10, but instead of being 18 3/4 wide it was 19 wide, so quite different. A whole quarter in width is pretty significant. Matt started hiding the literate in the middle of the board. Instead of being wide and flat, it’s domey and narrow.”
Some finer details include that fact that the board’s an epoxy (“they take a little getting used too. They feel floaty, stiff, and a little slidey. Once I got used to that board I felt really connected to it though,”) and the fin setup (“I use FCS II plugs and my signature FCS II KA fins. My fin’s is really close to that old Soar fin, the old glass on one. I liked them so we just tweaked it.”) – but one of the best parts about this board is what’s written on it. ‘Michael Dunphy’ on the bottom, ‘Q’ on the top:
“Derek Reilly texted me and said, “what’s Micah El Dunphy. Who is this enigma?” I think he thought I was some kind of linguistic genius. I was just going to Sydney to have fun, and to get a warm-up with the jersey on in front of a big crowd. I was staying with Dunphy and it was my dedicated groveller Q board, so I put the Q on the top and Dunphy on the bottom. Before the event Dunphy was like “imagine if you won on this thing,” so when I was getting chaired up the beach I pointed it out. He wasn’t there because he was in Newcastle, but I texted him and said “I can’t believe that I won the Oz Open on a board with your name on it!”
Because he’s the Q’s animal spirit? (Laughs) “Yeah kinda, it was a little bit like that. Just giving him respect!”
Photo: Magi Kernan
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