American surfer Kolohe Andino graced the set of the Today show this morning to celebrate his qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Surfing will be making its Olympic debut at Tsurigasaki Beach in August, and Andino will have the honor of representing Team USA.
Clad in a black Hurley hoodie and sporting a fresh buzz cut, the 25-year-old surfer from San Clemente held court in the hectic plaza at New York City's Rockefeller Center.
An enigmatic figure in front of the lens, Andino gripped a stick mic alongside three Today hosts acting cool, relaxed and even a bit amused. He transmitted the image of the ‘California' surfer into the homes of millions of non-surfing television viewers.
"Oh, hundred percent," Andino blurted out, when host Craig Melvin asked him if he'll bring home a medal. "Ten out ten … a hundred percent! We've got a great team."
And that team he is referring to, Team USA, is nothing to shake a stick at. It's comprised of four-time World Champion Carissa Moore, two-time World Champion John John Florence, 18-year-old surf prodigy Caroline Marks and Andino, who is an eight year veteran of the WSL Championship Tour.
Andino isn't the only Team USA surfer to be making the media rounds these days either. Moore and Marks already had their own 'Today' show moment back in December, during which they educated the hosts on the fundamentals of competitive surfing and introduced the term "stoked," "goofy" and "sukoshi" to the vocabulary of Today loyalists.
And then there is Florence in the two slot for Team USA, who's always done his own thing. He's eschewed the typical meet and greet interview segments and instead has been in the news for catamaran sailing with Australian Olympic Gold Medalist Tom Slingsby.
And there will no doubt be more and more media coverage around Olympic surfers as things heat up.
The Tokyo 2020 Games kick off on July 24th, just five months from now. And with so many inspiring and idiosyncratic personalities sliding the high-seas -- the viewers at home are going to have lots to look forward to.
For a full break-down of who's on which Olympic surfing team, check out the Championship Tour Class of 2020.