SAN CLEMENTE, California/USA (Wednesday, July 11, 2012) – Being a rookie is a mixed bag. On the one hand, you have the freshness, the hype, the excitement and a new approach to surfing. On the other hand, you have to deal with expectation, inexperience and the world’s best surfers going for broke in every heat and on every wave.
Kolohe Andino (USA), 18, went on an absolute rampage in 2011, winning five events (two 4-Stars and three 6-Stars) and qualifying for “The Show” in 2012. California’s newest wunderkind had arrived and his technique, aerial prowess and chops in virtually all conditions had several pundits claiming “giant-slayer” before the season had even started.
“The Show”, however, always delivers a hidden intensity that is often masked behind the tour’s friendly exterior. At four events in, Andino has only posted two heat wins, currently sitting at No. 26 on the ASP World Championship Tour rankings.
Teething on one’s rookie year is hardly an original story, and Andino’s dominance at the ASP Prime and Star events had maintained (he currently sits at No. 18 on the ASP World Rankings). However, following the Volcom Fiji Pro, Andino suffered a serious ankle injury while training in San Clemente that has sidelined him for several weeks.
A serious blow to his rookie year campaign and a loss to fans around the globe who love seeing him throw down regularly, Andino is now rehabbing at home and the ASP called into the 18-year-old to see where his head’s at:
Describe for us how this injury happened:
“Basically, I was taking five days off because I had a small twinge in my right hip. During those five days, I was doing a juicing diet. On the sixth day, my hip felt good, the sun was out and I was all juiced up from a ginger, kale, spinach, jalapeño, carrot, garlic and lemon juice. I was frothing. There were little shoulder-high wedges on the shore at Riviera. Fun in the sun. I paddled out with my Dad, Morgan Maassen and Dylan Goodale, which gets me even more psyched because I love surfing with my Dad. It was a full froth fest. About ten waves in, a little left comes my way and I race down the line thinking, “John John (Florence)…John John…John John…full rotation…Rio de Janeiro…Final Against Parko.” I hit it, go in the air, do a 360 and land way too far in the flats. I heard a significant popping noise and started to scream. Froth fest over…”
What is the official diagnosis?
“Grade-3 high ankle sprain, Grade 2-3 Lisfranc ligament torn. I’m meant to be out of the water 8 – 10 weeks from June 21st at the earliest, but I am waiting until I am 100% before I put a jersey on. At that point, I will be really excited to compete again, but for the time being I am working as hard as I can. I’m 100% committed to doing everything in my power to aid in a speedy recovery.”
You were a highlight at Ballito last year, posting a 10, and everyone wanted to see you at Jeffreys Bay. I’m sure you’re disappointed in missing the South African leg this year. Can you give us some of your thoughts on it?
“Haha, I lost second heat at Ballito, but I guess I got a 10. It’s a bummer, but the torture of watching it online is good in a way. What I was I taking for granted then will now be a huge excitement in my life when I come back.”
Your surfing has been there this year on tour, but you’ve lost some tough heats. Sitting out for a few events and recovering from injury may have an adverse effect on your requalification campaign. Your thoughts on this?
“Well, at the time of injury, I was the No. 1 guy on the World Rankings that wasn’t in the Top 22 on the WCT so hopefully I won’t lose too much ground. Every week counts. There is an event everyday from Lowers to Pipe, so I’ll be very excited to get back and do all of these events.”
With a number of other high-profile surfers being injured for most of this year (Jadson Andre, Dusty Payne, etc.), there is a possibility of several applicants applying for the ASP wildcard come season’s end. Have you given any thought to this?
“Absolutely, it’s all I think about, but I will cross that bridge when I get there. If I do get back in time for the last dash to the end of the year, I will be trying my very hardest to get some results. For now, I am focusing on strengthening my body and mind to prepare for the tour once I’m healed. In regards to the question, I am not even sure how they pick them and who decides or if I will even need one. If worse comes to worse and I apply and don’t get a wildcard, I’ll just have to do the qualifying series next year and try my best to requalify. But being on the tour means everything to me and I want to do whatever it takes to maintain my spot. What I have learned with all this is that you don’t take anything for granted and live every second to its fullest because it can be snatched from you like that.”
We wish Andino a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him healthy and back in the water as soon as possible.
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com