We Followed Kolohe Andino’s ‘Reckless Isolation’ Tour Across Two Coasts
Hard work, unrelenting vision, DIY ethic, and tens of thousand dollars in shirts and hats for the groms leads to a raging success.
It’s late Friday afternoon and Far Rockaway Beach is glowing as the sun sets over Jamaica Bay. For Kolohe Andino, Ian Crane, Luke Davis, Griffin and Crosby Colapinto, this is day 10 of an east coast blitz premiering Kolohe and Jacob Vanderwork’s Mentawaian excursion, “Reckless Isolation,” filmed over a month in Indonesia at the height of 2020’s international travel restrictions.
The film is a serious project for Kolohe — one he’s wanted to do his whole career, a proper full-length featuring him and his best friends — and this tour is the culmination of tremendous efforts on Brother’s part, making this film the milestone event it is for the five San Clementine stars.
Kolohe is quiet and humble, even dismissive of the facts of this tour, but the reality is he dropped somewhere between $200,000 and $300,000 of his own coin to make this project happen, self-funding it entirely.
On top of the rock-band-style tour bus Brother rented for their crew’s trip up the coast, he also threw down for an enormous run of neon orange merch, hauled behind the bus in a rented trailer all its own to be given away, for free, to groms at each stop.
Ten states later, the boys have covered more than 1,500 miles over eight stops, traveling south to north up the east coast. They started at Catalyst in Melbourne Beach, Florida, and finished in New Hampshire, with stops in Orlando, New Smyrna, Jacksonville, North Carolina, New Jersey, and New York. Each premiere has been bigger than the last, as have the afterparties.
In Florida, Kolohe hired old friend Eric Geiselman’s band Digital Garbage to open and close shows. The New Smyrna and Jacksonville premieres were riotous, full-send ragers. In Wrightsville Beach, the crew was greeted by a swarm of kids waiting for schwag and signatures, and an entire football field full of adult and college-age viewers. The premiere started with a jaw-dropping display of iPhone lights illuminating the North Carolina crowd. (That night, asked if there were any parties to go to after the bar closed, a crew of university kids immediately went door to door to every sorority and fraternity to rally, and threw the boys a proper 100-person house party that went well into the morning.
This evening Rockaway is buzzing from an afternoon glass-off. Three- to four-foot wedges are chipping off pretty much every groin from Beach 108th through 67th Street. Kolohe and crew spent the morning cruising around Lower Manhattan by boat and on foot, visiting the 9/11 Memorial, before an afternoon session ripping with the local kids and Long Island hero, Will Skudin, who is about to introduce the crew to a crowd of five or six hundred on top of The Rockaway Hotel’s rooftop bar.
They will spend the next morning ripping groomed chest-high wedges in Long Beach before the six-hour haul to their final East Coast premiere in New Hampshire, then a flight out of Boston back to California for the US Open and the final California premiere in Santa Cruz.
Almost exactly a year ago, “Reckless Isolation” began as a cast-off pie-in-the-sky plot to escape the Southern California lockdown late last summer. They risked being denied at customs, or forced into government quarantine, getting through loopholes in Indonesia’s COVID Restrictions to enjoy an empty, pumping Mentawai. (Before you get on your soapbox about the irresponsibility of the crew traveling during COVID, it’s worth noting all ticket sales of the film went to Indonesian COVID relief efforts).
To say that the five-pack of childhood friends were rewarded for their efforts would be an understatement. “Reckless Isolation” is a 50-minute blitz of mind-bendingly empty, dreamworld Indo, from a sparring match between Griffin and Brother at four foot Office, to one of the most incredible Greenbush sessions and sections in recent memory.
Kolohe has been the driving force behind this project at every corner, from planning the uncertain strike, directing and editing the film, choosing and licensing the remarkable soundtrack, planning the premieres, and more.
Working with Jacob Vanderwork, as well as Bali residents Scotty Hammonds and Nate Lawrence to capture the trip, Kolohe set out to make his first proper, core surf film. No post-modern profile attempt, no skits or scripts, just a raw portrait of five friends on the trip of a lifetime — not dissimilar to the full-length surf porn of the mid-to-late-90s and early-2000s, filmed during the Mentawais’ golden era (the last time the region was as empty as the boys found it during lockdown).
So it’s no coincidence that the film feels like a high-definition love child of ‘…Lost At Sea’ and ‘September Sessions’, with Kolohe playing the role of surfer/director Chris Malloy, even shooting 16mm on his Bolex for the entire project.
One of the true epiphanic moments of the film comes in the form of a hand-held capture of Crosby Colapinto on a crazy Greenbush pit, shot by Kolohe from the boat on his Bolex, as the opening chords of Red Hot Chilli Peppers “I Could Have Lied” ring out — I’ve watched this opener and Crosby’s wave two dozen times over, and the genius of the sequence remains.
The Chilli Peppers are but one iconic band on the eclectic roster of earworms Kolohe hand-picked for the soundtrack, from Throbbing Gristle’s jarring industrial opener, to a few deep country cuts from Brother’s favorites, Blaze Foley and Ramblin Jack Elliot (cerulean Ments pits set to a coy cover of Dylan’s “Girl From North County”).
As the film drops tomorrow, Kolohe can feel good about the project coming to an end. He and his friends made one of the best surf films in years, independently, from a lifetime adventure they took together. Beyond that, Brother promoted and toured it up and down both coasts of the US, while burying surf towns in hunter orange shirts, hats, and hoodies, and stoking out hundreds, maybe thousands of kids at each stop. Bright-eyed groms swarmed the crew before and after the film to get their autographs; for dozens that I asked, it was their first—as in, the only surf film premiere of their entire lives. In the age of instant digital gratification, Kolohe’s effort with Reckless Isolation is praiseworthy.
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