Kolohe Andino loves Lower Trestles. The 22-year-old San Clemente native has been refining his tack-sharp, progressive style there for most of his life. And it shows. His repertoire of maneuvers is endless: airs, carves, nose picks, and everything in between. He can land them all with astonishing consistency. And inspired by Mick Fanning, one of his favorite all-time surfers, Andino's been refining one of the cleanest forehand wraps in surfing at Trestles.
Not surprisingly, Andino dominated Trestles during his rise through the amateur ranks. When he was 15 years old he became the youngest NSSA National Champion ever in the men's division. He did it while he was still a Junior. Thanks to his Lowers love affair, by the time he turned pro he'd surpassed Bobby Martinez for the most NSSA National Titles, with 9.
After turning pro in 2011, he placed 5th in the Nike Lowers Pro, and 3rd in the Oakley Pro Junior. Clearly, Kolohe knows how to win heats at Lowers. So now that he's a serious CT player one would think he's got to be among the favorites coming into the Hurley Pro, right?
Since his rookie year on tour, Kolohe hasn't made it past Round Three at Lowers, though he's been damn close. To be fair, he's been on the wrong side of some very tight heats. In 2012, he lost to Heitor Alves by .17, a mere fraction of a point. In 2014, he lost to Miguel Pupo in Round Three, again by less than a point.
His two other losses came at the hands of the event winners. In 2013, he lost to Taj Burrow and in 2015 he lost to Fanning.
Here's the thing about Kolohe, though. While his CT stats at Lowers haven't lived up to his expectations, you can bet that's only motivating him more. And the San Clemente star is showing a more patient side to his progress in 2016.
"Halfway through last year I started watching the guys that are really successful on tour," Andino said during filming of an upcoming WSL profile piece. "They wouldn't live or die by every result. I always heard it's not how you win, it's how you lose. I thought that was an old folks' tale but it's true. Towards the end of the year, when I re-qualified I was like, ‘Okay. No matter what I just want to stay even-keeled.' So that's what I've been doing.
It's working, too. Andino is ranked No. 11 heading into Lowers this year, right on par with his career best. But don't be surprised to see him break out.
Watch Kolohe Andino compete at the Hurley Pro September 7 - 18 at worldsurfleague.com