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Kolohe Andino Is Not Holding Back

After a Quarterfinal finish at the Tahiti Pro Teahupo'o Kolohe Andino has moved up into the top 10 on the Jeep Leaderboard. The 24-year-old San Clemente local has had an up-and-down year, but sees the Surf Ranch Pro as an opportunity to reassert himself as one of the world's elite surfers. We caught up with Andino at home in California to check on his preparation for Lemoore and his take on the year so far.

Kolohe Andino of USA won Heat 1 of the Quarterfinals at the Uluwatu CT, 2018. Kolohe's self expression session at Uluwatu. WSL / Ed Sloane

The World Surf Leaguge: How would you describe your 2018 season?
Kolohe Andino: Very much a rollercoaster which, with a few exceptions, I'd say many of the guys on the CT would say as well. Coming into the year I felt I was doing my best surfing yet. However in my heats I felt like I was holding back a little and surfing tentatively. So my plan from Brazil on was to attack every wave. Everyone is just too good not to. You have to throw everything at it.

This year you've had two Quarterfinal finishes and a Semifinal at the Uluwatu CT. Does it feel like you are getting closer to a breakthrough result?
I honestly try not to think about the end result. I try to just take it wave by wave, be myself and express my surfing and let the chips fall. It's when I think about how I want to win a heat, event or Title, that I mess up.

Kolohe Andino (USA) is eliminated from the 2018 VANS US Open with an equal fifth finish after placing second in Quarterfinal Heat 1 at Huntington Beach, CA, USA. On fire at Huntington. WSL / Kenneth Morris

You've surfed with Filipe Toledo more than most over the years. Do you sense he has accelerated away from the pack this year or do you believe you have what it takes to get to his level?
With respect to everyone one on the CT I feel I am as good and more committed than anyone. Filipe's on a roll this year and is gonna be hard to stop, but I wholeheartedly believe in myself and my process and I'm not scared to compete or go against anyone. I also know how good everyone is and that pushes me every day to give it my all.

Inconsistency has been a factor for you this year. Is being consistent one of the most difficult goals to achieve on the CT? And how do you personally set out to try to achieve it? 
I think it will be forever a difficult task. Obviously there are a few top dogs, but everyone is so good that anyone can beat anyone at anytime. That's what makes our sport so interesting. There's a ton you have no control over. I just try to maintain a good attitude 24/7. Because this surfing life is a blessing, so why not enjoy it no matter what?

Kolohe Andino at the Oi Rio Pro. Kolohe Andino enjoying life at Keramas. WSL / Smorigo

Moving on to the next event, how much time have you put in at the Surf Ranch? Is it a place that needs more, or less, time to adapt to than the other CT locations?
It is hard for me to speak for other people, however I have spent as much time as possible up there. I found the wave very hard to rip. It is super fun and easy to ride, but to actually destroy the wave was quite hard for me.

Looking at the wave though it seems to suit your strengths. Have you targeted the Surf Ranch Pro as an event where ratings points are definitely up for grabs?
Well, thanks, but I don't think I have any weak events or any spots where I cannot win or do very well. I have spent a lot of time being as well-rounded a surfer as I can be. So, no, I'm just gonna do what I always do. That is prepare well and try to do my best brand of surfing and see how I go.

What are you most looking forward to about the Surf Ranch Pro?
Just the fact that everyone is going to have opportunity, even if it isn't exactly equal opportunity. That's because there's about three different versions on each wave. Some are smaller then others. Some are bigger. Some mush out. Others suck up and it's hard to turn. That being said, it's still a lot more fair then the regular ocean because everyone is going to get their three rights and three lefts. 

Well, good luck. Is there anything else you want to say, thank, or get off your chest?
I would say get off your phones! Stop watching people live their lives and go out and live yours!

Watch the Surf Ranch Pro live daily September 6-9 on the WSL website App, and Facebook. For ticket information visit wslsurfranchpro.com.

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