The New Normal: Kolohe Andino On The Lowers Lockdown, Millennial Obliviousness, And Learning To Fish Online
“I need a frickin frontside wrap like a hole in the brain. It’s all good. Shut it down.”
Lowers is closed today and would you believe us if we told you San Clemente’s favorite son is pleased? Nay, relieved. The result of schools and all non-essential business being closed, the crowds at his local were rightfully concerning to San Clemente.
Kolohe just turned 26 years old, after finishing within striking distance of the World Title. A year ago he almost took out his first ‘CT event, and if you ask around, most will tell you it should have been his.
A week into this pandemic’s isolation, we woke Kolohe up from his afternoon nap to hear how the birthday boy was handling the situation.
Stab: You stocking up on ammo or fishing supplies or something?
Brother: Well, I was taking an All-World nap. Hour and a half. All-World.
You do understand why that goes against your blue collar image, right?
Yeah, it’s all a facade. I surfed for five hours this morning. That’s why.
[Ed. note: this interview was conducted prior to Trestles’ closing].
Does it not feel like the world is ending down there?
Dude, it’s so crazy. You go down there and surf and you forget about it, but then you gotta remind yourself that people have it and they don’t know. I’ve been surfing Uppers and not Lowers. But you come home and its doomsday.
Are you learning anything from this?
I was just watching fishing videos on my phone. How to catch halibut. Everyone should know how to catch a halibut.
They eat shit off the bottom of the ocean.
Dude, you order them at sushi restaurants.
You’ve never caught a halibut?
I got one at Lowers Left like three days ago.
I just learned how to fillet one on YouTube. Because I got one the other day and I had no idea what to do.
Did you have to carry it home in your cute little bike cooler?
No, I got a little kill bag,
But I was trying to eat it on the beach, and I pretty much just hacked it up.
Was that the abortion of a butchering you sent me the other day?
Yeah, dude. Living off the land.
How do you feel right now, at one of those times that try men’s souls?
The way I look at it is, it’s the fucking cards, I gotta deal with it. I don’t know, I’ve been competing since I was seven years old. I’ve literally been competing for 21 years or no… 19. Okay.
You’re going to learn basic arithmetic before this thing’s over.
My math’s going south with no heat time.
But honest truth, I support my whole family too.
Does it make you feel strangely adult to be in this situation right now at this time?
I just look at it like I’ve been extremely lucky to have what my dad has set up for me my whole career, my whole life. The way he raised me to not spend money and to invest smartly. Him and my manager setting me up with a 10-year-deal when I was, you know, 17 years old. I’ve been sooo lucky. But if it gets down to it and I have to go pound nails, I’m not scared to do that.
I was just discussing that with my dad the other day. Because he’s scared. Scared there’s not going to be any more surf industry at all. And I told him, look, if this all falls apart we’ve had an epic ride. The way you raised me was to not be a flashy, spend a lot of money dude. We just want to surf. That’s our family heritage and if we end up running out of money and my wife has to go work and become a teacher and I have to work construction, it’s going to be all good. It’s going to be fine.
What did it feel like to be able to have that conversation with your dad?
Oh, it’s great. I mean, we argue about everything, every single day—where it’s like the world’s best debaters against each other, even if we’re agreeing with each other—it’s like I’m an old man with him now.
But he’s like a… he’s a street kid, so he’s street smart and planning for the future. He didn’t grow up with any money. He was a street kid that learned how to surf and made money in the 80s off the frigging Bud Tour. That’s what he raised my family on. So he’s just a little bit worried, which is good and smart. And he’s just opening up to me about that, but I don’t want him to live in fear or worry.
I feel like my dad worked so hard when I was younger, and he works so hard for me now, he helps me with everything, buying properties, making sure I’m spending money in the right places. I think he deserves the fruits of what I’ve earned. It’s not really mine and I’m taking care of him. It’s ours. 100%..
When we used to argue, you know, there’s anxiety and emotions and whatever, and of course people still think that’s going on. That’s fine. Think what they want. But he’s my best friend. And it’s, it’s been awesome, that we’ve been able to have our relationship be epic and be a rad team. Yeah.
I mean there’s always two ways to look at things, you know, or, or to two different directions to point. Yeah, everyone’s always just preaching the Grateful thing. Maybe they mean it. Maybe they don’t. Just be fucking grateful.
Do you think people are taking things seriously enough?
It’s been weird for me to be at Lowers and some of my friends, they’re just treating it like it’s like it’s the flu, it’s this and that. I’m like, dude, if I have a 1% chance… cause my dad has had heart issues in the past and then my mom has stomach issues. So they’re super susceptible to potentially die, you know, from the thing. So I shut it down like a week ago.
It’s just been weird for all the people that are my age, the whatever… millennials and the Gen Z or X or whatever it is. They don’t listen. Dude, the beaches look like it was 4th of July. Lowers had 200 people out and and 500 people on the beach and it was high fives and vacay.
If I have a 1% chance of someone that I know dying because of me, because the symptoms didn’t show up, and I can’t live with that. I can’t have that in the back of my head.
It teaches me a lot about where society’s going. They’re just like, ‘Oh, I’m not going to die. I can just hang out with all my friends and it’s spring break.’ Gosh
The crowds and everything are fine, normally, because without crowds and people surfing you and I both don’t have a job.
But we’re talking about three weeks out of the year to just go stay in your local break. I told my dad a couple of days ago, I was like, ‘Dude, they should shut the beaches down for a month. I need a frickin frontside wrap like a hole in the brain.’ Like, it’s all good. Shut it down. If we get out of this in a month, you know, we’ll be on the other side. What? Mid-May? Even June. Shut it down for two months.
So you’re completely locked down, isolated, etc.?
It was my birthday on Sunday. So everyone wanted to hang out. I’m like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
Happy belated birthday, Brother.
Birthdays are for teenagers.
What did you do for your birthday? Where did you brunch?
I had maple bar and a Popeye’s chicken sandwich
Is it as good as Chick-fil-A?
I think it’s better, but it’s up for debate.
These are the issues that used to plague us.
I know, a week ago!
It’s better, though. It’s, like, moist. More moist.
Anyhow, we’re only a week in dude. It could potentially last… who knows how long? I know one thing: people not doing their part will make it stick around for a lot longer, obviously.
I heard that every single state park in California was closed except for Lowers today. Really? Every single one. Except for the Lowers parking lot. Or, the Trestles parking lot. The lifeguards think it would be more crowded if they closed it, cause everyone’s rushing now they’re thinking they’re going to get empty Lowers.
I mean, its a mushy peak. It’s rippable, but come on.
We’re psychopaths. What are three things that are getting you through this?
Fishing. I’m sauna-ing.
Do you have a sauna at your house?
Yeah, I do. Maybe don’t put that. Sounds like first-world deal.
But I went like full fish mode a week ago. Fish for your family, apocalypse deal.
I’ve been spraying my boards [laughs]. Lot of couch time. Netflix, Love Island, fishing, Love Island [laughs] and uh. Quarantine, dude.
Griffin and Crosby came home from Australia, flew international and I was already in quarantine for three days. They’re out. Luke [Davis] on occasion comes and stays/lives at my house. He’s just like nomad guy, but he’s locked in with me now, and if he leaves I’m like, ‘Who are you with? Oh, who were they with?’
I was talking to Griffin, and asking him, ‘You just got home traveling international, are people like tripping out that you’ve been gone or avoiding you?’ He’s like, ‘Oh yeah, people are super weird about me.’
But I started thinking about my mom and dad and even Jacob [Vanderwork]—he lives with his grandma and I was like, ‘What if I got it, didn’t know, and gave it to Jacob and he gives it to his grandma…’
So, yeah, they’re all out. No one’s allowed in.
Do you think, all things go south, you would be able to live off of the land like the Fourth Malloy Brother you always say you are?
I mean, I can catch fish off my surfboard in the Lowers lineup.
You didn’t finish your other two things. Your other two essentials
Fishing. Uh, my wife’s saying “me,” uh, I guess.
What’s it feel like to have the support of a good woman?
That’s awesome and great [laughs].
Having a partner that’s ripping is awesome. I couldn’t imagine if you were single or by yourself during these times and you’d have to stay inside. Right? It’d be brutal. So, even if you are single, find a buddy that you know doesn’t have it or has been clean and I don’t know, play cards or something
I think a quarantine group helps a little bit. My wife, Luke and then Crane, but Crane’s been kind of on the fence ’cause he’s not staying here, but he’s been pretty good. When he comes over, I’m like, ‘So what’d you do yesterday?’ ‘Oh, I hung out with Quinn Matthews.’ ‘Oh, he just got home from New York?’ ‘No, he’s been in isolation for two weeks up in…’
I’m like, ‘Oh, okay. Cool.’
And then I got Taj Lindblad ’cause his parents have been super on it, crazy cautious to the point where he was getting made fun of. I didn’t make fun of him, but I was like, his mom’s maybe taking it too far and then literally a day and a half later I said, ‘Your mom’s a legend!’ She saved all of us. I’m on her program. Let’s do this. I got four right there. That’s a small army.
Then I have Dooley and Levi, they’re both labs. I think one’s blind.
What do you mean, you think?
Well, because he just thousand-mile-stares you from across the road and just… Nothing.
I mean, he can’t be blind because he can walk up the stairs and stuff. But I don’t know, he just acts really dumb. He’s a simple man, dude. He just likes hanging in the garage, you know, bathing in the sunlight. It’s easy for him. The other one’s really smart and fidgety and worried.
But honestly, surfing has taught me a lot about life. You can’t control what you can’t control.
I was working towards the season, trying to get my knee better. I was out of the water for seven weeks cause my knee and then all of a sudden these events are done and the next ones are out and now we’re wondering if we’re even going to have a year, or a specialty event at the end of the year or something. The Olympics are canceled, potentially for us there’s like only six events after the Olympics. So the world’s thinking this is still going to be around then.
My whole life I’ve been looking towards something—I gotta get my boards ready or I gotta train and get ready for the season or this and that. Like, do I train like for the next 10 months straight and just come to frickin Snapper next year weighing 210?
Or do I just go surf, because I haven’t surfed for seven weeks and enjoy my life.
With big events you work backwards. Snapper’s here, so I’m going to give myself 10 weeks to train or whatever. There’s none of that. It’s a little bit of mental work but whatever.
I always worry about people having a hard time retiring, slipping into depression or whatever. ‘Cause they’re always looking toward something and like looking for that event, they’re working on their boards or they’re trying to get ready for this and that, getting excited about it. So it has been a little, ‘Oh, this is what retirement’s going to be like.’
But I guess retirement for me is like living off the land. Right? [Laughs]
That’s going to be the takeaway from this whole interview: Kolohe Andino, the Fourth Malloy brother.
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