Brother Speaks: “I Just Want To Attack Everything!”
Kolohe Andino and the true cost of the Speed of Sound.
During the Surf Ranch Pro, after feeling slighted for his no-holds approach in the pool, and falling outside the top-8 and a spot in the finals, Kolohe Andino lit up the live webcast with one of the most genuine on-air appeals of the last few years, feeling like he and Jordy Smith and a few others had been putting a little more on the line than other surfers, and not seeing their scores reflect that risk.
“A waist high tube shouldn’t get a big score,” Kolohe said. “I’m just a little frustrated and confused. I feel like I get the short end of the stick a lot. But this is professional surfing. This is the career I chose. I don’t know, I’m a bit confused about what gets a good score out here and disappointed. That’s all.”
Then, today, with priority and a healthy lead in his Round 3 heat against Pat Gudauskas (which you’ll just have to go see), Brother found himself in a near Kafkan competitive scenario, taking off on Pat’s buzzer-beater maybe a second after the horn.
Well, we’ll let Kolohe take it from here.
Stab: So you seemed totally blindsided by the call today? Have you been able to process exactly what happened?
Brother: Yeah. Baffled. It was like a really bad dream that was real.
So give us your take on what happened.
Well, when you watch it it’s clear I’m up after. But the sound delay 1/4 mile out there’s like a one-second delay [Kolohe does the math and comes back.] The speed of sound travels 1/4 mile in 1.37 seconds.
It’s simple science.
And plus, I thought he needed a six—like one big air—because we couldn’t understand the announcers. So I was on him. If I knew he needed a near 9-point ride, I wouldn’t have went. And obviously if I knew the heat was over I wouldn’t of went.
I just got really, really unlucky.
All good with Pat?
Yeah, super cool, of course. I wish nothing but the best for him, he came to my wedding!
Bottom line, my life is fucking awesome, no one should feel bad for me. Playing the victim ain’t gonna help no one.
“I’ve been surfing as hard, training as hard, having a good time, and keeping a good attitude every day. That’s where I’ve been.”
“I just wanted to attack everything and get to a point where I’m comfortable at doing that, and can do it in my heats.”
How are you feeling after the Wave Pool contest? I feel like the highlight of that event was you sort of spitting truth on the webcast.
Yeah, I don’t know. I’m trying to forget about it as quick as possible. I just was a little sick of just not speaking my mind in the interviews. I try to tell the truth as much as I can especially if they ask me, but I was just wanted to express how I felt in like a cool, respectful way.
I think that you did that. You came across pretty steady. You didn’t seem like you were emotional. You’re just like, “Man, this sucks.”
Yeah, that was the whole thing—Obviously, I want to win really bad, so I was pretty angry that I wasn’t in the top eight. I let just a little bit out, to let everyone know how I felt and not be out of control. That was my goal, and I felt like I stuck up for a lot of people too, that were maybe feeling the same thing. Whatever. It is what it is. It’s just one event. It was a little bit of a bummer, for sure.
What did you think about the contest all-in-all? Do you feel like that venue works for what they want it to be?
I feel like it does. This is my defense to everyone, because a lot of people came up to me and said, “It’s so boring to watch this event,” and I was like, “I think it could be not boring if they make people go for it,” you know what I mean? That’s my defense.
I feel like people don’t want to see completed waves there. The wave is too long. They want to see individual radical maneuvers, or really technical combos.
The waves are super long, and so take that wave where Filipe did, like, two alley-oops and a blow tail—that’s psycho. That’s pretty exciting stuff, and if all the surfers were pushed to surf at that level, then it would be really exciting.
I went up [to Surf Ranch] two separate times, for about four days in total. I was like, “Okay, they’re really going to be rewarding risk.” I’m hearing all this stuff about risk and this and that.
So that was kind of a bummer for me—I thought it was going to be just completely something way different than what it actually was. I mean, I get why the tricky barrels were scored high, but it’s a little unfair, because guys like Jordy, he actually can’t fit in that barrel. You know what I mean?
You go through stages in your life where you learn about yourself, and these days I figure that I just want to be myself, surf as radical as I can, have fun, and go for it.
One hundred percent.
Then he goes out there, and he surfs as good as he could, and he’s only getting similar scores, or lower scores than smaller guys getting barrels. I just thought they put a little bit too much emphasis on that. I expressed that to them. Then I said that obviously in my interview, too. Everyone knows how I feel about that.
But I will say, I think the judge’s job was a little bit too hard for them; they had to score waves against waves three days earlier. I mean, 30 minutes is hard enough to be on the same scale.
They had a hard job.
Now, I’m not going to say names, but there were a few times I was like, “Okay, that was pretty sick, but it got a certain score.” Then there was a ride on the last day, that was no question two points better, and it got like 0.1 better. It’s like, really?
You think there’s a judge’s fatigue after that long, seeing the same thing over again, that maybe by the end when they saw something that was actually remarkable, it didn’t get the attention that it should have?
Your frustration seemed directed at the contest, specifically, but it also seems like something you’ve been feeling for a while.
I don’t know. My overall thing this year, or halfway through this year has just been, in my free surfs, I just wanted to attack everything and get to a point where I’m comfortable at doing that, and can do it in my heats.
I just think everyone is so, so good, and it’s so hard, that you kind of have to have that mentality. Otherwise, what’s the point?
“I’ve been trying to learn from [Griffin]. I’ve been surfing as hard, training as hard, having a good time, and keeping a good attitude every day. That’s where I’ve been.
I think it’s been really cool to watch you, Griffin, and Kanoa lately. It seems you’re all putting more risk, commitment and confidence in your contest surfing.
Yes. I totally agree. You go through stages in your life where you learn about yourself, and these days I figure that I just want to be myself, surf as radical as I can, have fun, and go for it. Let the chips fall. That’s where I’m at. That’s one of the reason I surf waves that way. You know what I mean?
Take someone like Kanoa, where he hasn’t been rewarded as much the last couple of years on just his regular surfing, so they’ve pushed him to go for it and get better. Now, look how hard he is. They need to do that with everyone.
You think Griffin’s lit a fire under everyone? How’s it been having that kid on tour with you? I feel like people hype up you and his rivalry—like there’s resentment or something, but you guys actually get along, and you’re pushing each other like crazy, maybe similarly to the way you and Taj or Nat Young used to.
Yes. I mean—he was literally in my wedding [laughs]. He’s one of my best friends. I hang with him every day.
Obviously, me being such a competitor, I’ve had moments, but that’s was just me dealing with my own issues. We’re the best of friends. I want to help him as much as I can.
It’s hard when you get on tour and you’re 17, and you’ve been waiting your whole life, and then you just start getting waxed by 30-year-olds. He’s doing it. It took me a while to figure it out, but with Griffin—he’s right up there already.
“I just have such high aspirations for myself. That’s what I think about a lot. But it drives me to surf twice a day, to train, to keep going when you’re tired surfing for seven hours or more the day after. That’s how I operate. “
I think a lot of people thought we wouldn’t see him come into his own for a few years. But he’s flared up as a rookie.
For sure. I mean, look at someone like Ethan [Ewing]. He was that good and then just fell off tour right away. That was a bummer, but it’s just the way the sport is. You know what I mean? You either can’t put it together or you get on a roll.
Griffin’s been on a roll ever since he won the Triple Crown—he’s riding it.
Do you and Griffin travel together?
No. I don’t like to travel with people that much. Everyone’s different. Some people have their whole crew with them to make them feel at home. I like to get that out of the way so I can focus.
Do you feel like you lost a little bit of that spark to just free surf and just to get waves for a while cause you were so hard on yourself at contest?
For sure. Even still, sometimes it just feels like a little bit like work.
But back to Griffin, I got to give him credit—the reason he’s so good is he has a good attitude and he works hard. That’s all he does. It’s like, “Shit. Why can’t I just do that?”
I’ve been trying to learn from him. I’ve been surfing as hard, training as hard, having a good time, and keeping a good attitude every day. That’s where I’ve been.
There’s worse things to rub off on you than fucking positivity and a work ethic, eh?
I mean, you can trip over your friends or your peers. You can also learn from them. I think Griffin’s learned a lot from me just by hanging out with me so much. Why can’t I learn from him?
He’s the frickin’ happiest kid ever. All he does is surf all day and go to the gym and nail shit.
I’ve never seen that kid not psyched, ever.
Exactly. It’s not fake. He’s actually genuinely psyched. So right now, I’m definitely psyched. I’m honestly a little worried and nervous too.
“I’m still a youngster, and sometimes I still feel very young. I’m like, ‘Fuck I still have 20 more!'”
Good or bad, does surfing keep you up at night? What is it that keeps you up?
I just have such high aspirations for myself. That’s what I think about a lot. But it drives me to surf twice a day, to train, to keep going when you’re tired surfing for seven hours or more the day after. That’s how I operate.
Seems like you’re figuring that out how to shove that aside and enjoy yourself while you’re pushing yourself.
Everyone always talks about balance. Why need balance when you’re enjoying it all?
You think you still got a good ten years left of this in ya?
Yes, totally. I’m still a youngster, and sometimes I still feel very young. I’m like, “Fuck I still have 20 more!”
You think about the generation of guys that came before you they were on tour for almost twenty years. You’ve been on tour for what seven or eight now?
Yeah, totally, and I try to remind myself that. I can fire away, man. Who’s to say when I’m 28, I can’t still win three titles in a row.
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