Kolohe Andino (USA) has won the 2015 World Surf League (WSL) Shoe City Pro. Andino's hard-earned victory came after an action packed day of fierce competition, as competitors battled for crucial points to start the new year. The day's conditions saw clean 2-to-4 foot surf with light winds and summer-like temperatures gracing the south side of the Huntington Beach pier. The large field of international competitors tore apart the high performance surf all day long in hopes of being crowned the first WSL event champion.
The two highest rated surfers of the event, Andino and Ian Gouveia (BRA) faced off in the event Final. Kolohe started off his campaign in the man-on-man heat with a string of solid mid-range scores, staying busy between the two peaks within the contest area. The Championship Tour competitor used his experience with the priority system to hang on to lead after eventually dropping the hammer with an excellent 8.23. Andino was surfing fast and sharp, linking turns with an added sense of power and urgency.
â€œI'm stoked to win. This event was really good for me, it just gave me that confident feeling on my board and put me back in a competitive mindset after a little break,â€ explained Kolohe. â€œWhen I was younger I used to do events every weekend and I felt like I would get into a really good rhythm, so that's kind of what I wanted to do here. It was also cool to compete against guys like Griffin (Colapinto) and (Ian) Crane and Nate (Yeomans) from San Clemente who I surf with all the time. Everyone was just pushing me super hard this event and I had to try my very hardest to win.â€
Not only was the Final a duel for the event title, but it was also a second generation battle between the two surfers whose legendary fathers, Fabio Gouveia and Dino Andino, used to compete against each other over twenty years ago.
Runner-up Gouveia (BRA) can hold his head high as he posted the highest heat scores of the entire event. The young Brazilian opened his account in the Final with an impressive 7.00, where he connected multiple turns through the somewhat tricky Huntington sections looking light and loose. As time ticked by, the young goofy-footer was left searching for another decent score and the sights of a maiden QS victory slipped out of his reach. This is Gouveia's first ever QS Final and earned him 750 points and $3,000.
â€œMy plan was to come here and try out my new boards and train for Australia. This was the first event of the year so I am stoked to make the Final since this was my first QS Final,â€ said Gouveia. â€œIt's so good for me to surf against guys like Kolohe (Andino) who have that kind of experience where I can learn from them and also push myself to try and beat them.â€
Semi-Finalist Griffin Colapinto (USA) was putting on a show all event long, displaying dynamic technique with a touch of above-the-lip flare. The young San Clemente local faced up against his hometown hero Kolohe Andino in the Semis where his previous rhythm with the ocean seemed to come to an end. This is Colapinto's best QS result to date and will put him in contending position for the North America Regional Series title.
â€œThis was the best I've ever done in a QS so I'm very happy about that, and to be able to surf against Kolohe was amazing because I've always looked up to him. This was the first time we've ever faced up against each other so I was psyched to be in a heat with him. This season I'm looking to do more of the higher rated QS events, as well as the Pro Junior series, so I'm just stoked to start the year with this result.â€
Cory Arrambide (USA) rounded out the Semi-Finals, facing up against Gouveia in a battle of the goofy-footers. The two surfers traded waves in the man-on-man heat, sitting towards the south end of the contest area. The Ventura native fell just shy of Ian's 11.00 point total with 8.97 points after struggling to find one of the better shaped mid-sized waves that allowed for more scoring potential. As a WSL North America competitor, Arrambide will be tied with Colapinto for 2nd behind Andino on the Regional series, with 560 ratings points each.
â€œIt was nice to get my feet in the wax in the beginning of the year here. I'm stoked on the Semis, but it was just nice to put the jersey back on after not doing much for the last month or so. The waves were super fun, a lot better than what I expected, so I was happy to get some waves.â€