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An artist's rendering of my friend Erwin watching Kolohe T-Street videos.

Kolohe Andino Is Doubling Down On Surf Films

“I want to give the world my view of how surfing should be perceived.”

cinema // Oct 14, 2021
Words by Michael Ciaramella
Reading Time: 4 minutes

I had a buddy in college named Erwin.

Erwin started surfing a little later in life, maybe around 14 years old, but he was obsessed from the moment he touched toe to traction. Erwin got in the water as much as possible (sometimes to the detriment of his classes), saw all the relevant films, and even became a ding repair expert from watching Youtube tutorials.

The guy just couldn’t get enough.

Having started surfing so late, though, Erwin couldn’t help but feel that he was always behind the curve ability-wise. His goal was to get good enough to make the A-squad on our college’s surf team before he graduated*. So beyond just surfing every day, Erwin studied surfing every day. The mechanics, mostly. How to pop up, bend your knees, rotate your hips, etc.

And as far as Erwin was concerned, there was no better guide to surfing technique than Kolohe Andino’s old T-Street clips (see below).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15BmQuaBhXU
One of many. You can find the rest if you peel through Youtube’s backpages.

While Kolohe’s surfing in 2021 remains technically superior, a lot has changed since those old T-Street days. Brother’s a 10-year Tour veteran now. He got married. Has a kid on the way. He even wears a leash at Trafalgar (frowny face emoji).

But there are two things about Kolohe that have never faltered. One, he adores surfing and would do it every single day even if the entire industry collapsed. Two, he has an unwavering dedication to his hometown and the surfers who reside within.

Kolohe recently released a new T-Street edit (see top of page), which has a startling resemblance to Erwin’s beloved clips of old. While Brother’s surfing today is noticeably faster and stronger, the camera angle, the wetsuit, and those golden locks are just uncanny.

Brother called the clip ’31 weeks’, which is a reference to his wife’s current pregnancy status, and posted it under a Youtube Channel named ‘Stagnant Ambition’.

Stagnant Ambition? That doesn’t sound like the Kolohe we know. The one who wakes up every morning at 4 o’clock to train and didn’t drink for years to optimize his competitive performance.

Curious about this new channel’s meaning and direction, I hit Kolohe with a few questions.

The man loves neon orange. Phtoo: Moody

Stab: Hey, Brother. First of all, congrats again on Reckless Isolation. The film and the tour were a huge hit. Now you’ve dropped your first Youtube clip in a while under a new channel name, ‘Stagnant Ambition’. What’s the meaning behind that?
Kolohe Andino: ‘Stagnant Ambition’ is a replacement for ‘Kolohe Andino’, which was the original name I posted all my videos under. But I didn’t want my name plastered all over Reckless Isolation — I wanted the other four surfers to feel the film was as much theirs as it was mine.

The name ‘Stagnant Ambition’ itself was an oxymoron-ish thing my wife thought of in a dream. Her gift to surfing [laughs].

Ok, so is it like “ambition that is constant” or “ambition that has stalled”? Or just a random combo of words that have no particular connection to you?
Well when I named it, I was injured and couldn’t surf and my ankle wasn’t getting better. So it’s kinda representative of how I felt in that moment. But I also just like how they sounded together.

Got it. That makes sense. So it seems like your new direction with these videos is getting your friends and local kids involved. Reckless Isolation obviously stars Crane, Luke Davis, and the Colapintos, and this most recent edit features some lesser-known San Clemente kids like Jonah Carter and Rex Hennings. So, is ‘Stagnant Ambition’ kinda like your version of Chapter 11? Or was it inspired by Dane in that regard?
This page was not inspired by Chapter 11. Even though I do like and respect everything Dane is doing with his local boys. And it basically is the same thing. But I have always wanted to make things with the crew around here and have control over how it looks and feels. I just don’t think I had their trust until the movie came out. Now I’m just psyched to keep the ball rolling and give the surf world my view of how surfing should be perceived.

That’s great. So how often can we expect these Stagnant Ambition clips to come out?
I don’t know, maybe once a week…

East coast clips coming soon? We hope so. Photo: Sam Moody

We won’t hold Kolohe to a weekly release, as we know firsthand just how difficult it is to drop quality video content in seven-day interims. Plus, Brother’s got a baby on the way and a new CT season to train for. But his intentions are clear, and we genuinely look forward to what comes next.

If anyone sees Erwin, please give him the good news.

*While he never made the A-team, Erwin’s dedication to surfing led to him becoming a captain of the UCSD team and then a coach after he graduated. That’s a win in our books.

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