Stab Magazine | Kolohe Andino wins two contests, don't dig nicknames
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Kolohe Andino wins two contests, don’t dig nicknames

Kolohe Andino is, at this point in time, 24th on the ASP’s one-world-rankings. The boy-wonder from Cali has a Justin Bieber effect on surfing: Handsome and freakishly talented enough to stir hatred and jealousy from all angles (and receive the appropriate hatemail, be it via this website or similar and varied others). The sudden climb […]

news // Feb 22, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Kolohe Andino is, at this point in time, 24th on the ASP’s one-world-rankings. The boy-wonder from Cali has a Justin Bieber effect on surfing: Handsome and freakishly talented enough to stir hatred and jealousy from all angles (and receive the appropriate hatemail, be it via this website or similar and varied others). The sudden climb to 24th place is a direct result of back-to-back victories at two six-star events in Brazil, the second of which happened today. After putting out the feelers with a text that read “K-Lo, congrats on the double-up! Can I call you for a chat soon?”, Kolohe responded with “Now if you want”, followed by “And it’s Kolohe. Not K-Lo, not Koho.” Red-faced at being so abruptly called-out by a dude seven years my junior, I buzzed in before Kolohe jumped a plane outta Sao Paulo.

Stab: So you’re dancing with the big boys now.
Kolohe Andino: That’s what the ASP wrote, but I don’t know if it’s true. I’m 24th now and the lowest my total can be is, like, 21,600. If I don’t keep my result or if I lose first heat in Santa Cruz then I think it’ll work. But yeah, I’m not sure, guys could blow up, anything could go wrong. It can happen, it’s the ocean you’re dealing with. But I’m stoked with where I’m at right now.

Tell me about the last two events you just won. Well basically the first one was in the jungle. Like, gnarly jungle. Everything was wet and muddy, it was full of bugs – my dad, Ian Crane, Evan Geiselman, Luke Davis and I stayed at Wigolly Dantas’ house and it was pretty gruelling. The waves were suited to my surfing though, it was more wedgey rights. So I made some heats and was also in the final. The final was really bad, I got my first two scores in, like, five minutes. Then this last one, we went to Rio (De Janeiro) and it felt good to get some internet and get back into civilisation, to have bread and be able to walk around buildings and stuff. At the start of the second event the water was pretty warm, maybe trunkable, then yesterday it got colder, then today it was freezing. I never wear fullsuits in heats, ever, unless it’s freezing, and I was wearing one. So yeah, today the waves were a lot smaller but it was the most fun I had.

You and Gabriel have had a lot of comparisons. He qualified, won an event, then you go win two, back-to-back. Did Gabriel’s whole thing light a fire? Gabriel’s three months older than me and he made the tour five months earlier than me, so I’m only two months behind (laughs). Well, I’m actually really behind ’cause he won the France event. People ask me a lot about what I think about him and I, but honestly I’ve never been in a WT event (except for a wildcard showing at Lowers two years ago), for me to be in the same conversation as him is pretty cool because he’s won a WT event – he was the best in the world, at that event. Y’know, once I’ve won one of those, or two or three, then we can talk. He won those six-stars back-to-back at Lacanau and Zarautz and that definitely lit a fire. I lost to him with an interference at Lacanau and being there, watching him it definitely lit a fire. I was like, this is kinda heavy, I’m tripping. I was pretty baffled when he won France. I was half-way through the first six-star in Brazil and I was like, oh my gosh, I’m over here grovelling this stuff and he’s winning WT events. But that definitely lit a fire, I was like, I have to make the tour this year, I have to be at Snapper. So winning two six-stars back-to-back has improved my chances a lot.

You’ve got, what, three years left as a junior? When did you decide that doing pro-juniors was off the radar? Well, I always like competing and staying busy, competing with my friends, y’know? So juniors are still on the radar if I’m kicking it at home or something.

In the past it’s always seemed like guys do the juniors, then move up through the primes, but now we got guys like John Florence, Gabs, Miguel Pupo and yourself who are still juniors but are reaching straight for the WT. Basically, the juniors, if you win, you get into the primes. And I was already in the primes at the beginning of this year. That’s why. If you win the junior world title, which is super insanely hard to do, then you’re in the primes. I’m already in the primes. By the time Bali came around, I was 45th on the one-world, pretty far into the primes for next year. That’s why I didn’t do the world juniors in Bali. It’s not that those guys aren’t good – most of those guys that’re in that world juniors also do the primes. It’s not like a skill-level thing. You could win a prime but lose first heat in the juniors. Those guys rip, I was so psyched watching Bali. But hypothetically, if you won the world juniors and then got on the tour, then I would do it.

The new format cops a lot of criticism but it’s been pretty kind to guys like John John, Gabs and Miguel. It’s also meant there’s a lot more top guys competing in primes and what not. How’s it affected you? For me, I feel like I’ve done really well this year and I’m still not guaranteed to be on the tour. It’s really hard to make the tour. But I guess the cream rises to the top so, I dunno, if you’re good enough you’re gonna make the tour. Some of those guys that would have made the tour a few years ago, now they’re having a hard time. But I still think that there’s a lot of guys that’re ranked from 33rd to even 50th, that’re good enough to be on the tour. So it’s a hard question for me to answer. It definitely made it a lot harder for me. Two years ago, I would’ve already been on the tour before I’d won these last two events. Now I’ve won these last two events and there’s a chance I’ll make it. I don’t like worrying about it and being one of those complaining guys, so I just forgot about it.

If you qualify, what excites you most about being on the WT? I’ve thought about that since I won today and, my dream, my whole life, has been to make the tour, since I was five/six/seven years old. Just the whole thing, from surfing against all my favourite surfers to just saying that I’m in the event, and everything in between. I couldn’t be more stoked.

What about the least exciting thing? Staying on it and doing good in those things. I don’t wanna be one of those guys that’re hopping on and then off the tour, or one of those guys that always need the result or something.

What waves are you most pumped about? Lowers. But I’d have to make (next year’s) halfway cut to get there, which is pretty hard to do. But Lowers is home, that’s the main reason why. But, if Snapper was draining or five foot and perfect, I’d be over the moon to surf there.

And finally, Kolohe likes to be called Kolohe? I don’t like nicknames. Koho is the worst. I can handle K-Lo.* – Elliot Struck
 

*I wasn’t the only one to feel the scorn of Kolohe’s hatred for being addressed with anything other than his proper name. In a recent Surfer interview, Dane Reynolds said he suffered a similar reprimand:

Surfer: How did you come up with the name “It’s not Kalohe” for his video?
Dane Reynolds: I had texted him, “Hey Kalohe, wanna go surf Trestles?” He couldn’t go because he was out of town somewhere, but he texted me back, “For the record, it’s not ‘Kalohe,’ it’s ‘Kolohe.'” (Laughter.)

That’s kind of an intense reply to a friendly text. Yeah, I thought that, too.

Did Kolohe like his video? Yeah, he told me he was psyched on it. He was like, “I hate it when people spell my name wrong.”

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