Enjoying a career year in 2019, Kolohe Andino was firmly in the World Title race and earned a spot for himself in the upcoming Tokyo Summer Olympics. And while he's only 25-years-old, he's already a steely vet that's been on Tour for the last seven years.
Understanding and appreciating Andino's tack-sharp, explosive brand of surfing requires knowing your surf history. The son of a former U.S. Champion, Andino was born into the surf life and has absorbed what the world's best surfers do and incorporated it into his own unique act.
"I just want to stick around until Kolohe's on Tour, then I'm out," three-time World Champ Andy Irons famously said.
Early in his career he was coached by big-wave charger and competitive strategist Mike Parsons, who's been working with Lakey Peterson as of late. By 2009, Andino had amassed a record nine NSSA National titles, topping the previous record set by Bobby Martinez.
"I don't know, I don't really think about records," Andino said after graduating to the Pro Junior ranks in 2010. "I go out there and try to do my best and try to have fun. I want to win, and I want to be competitive, but setting records can't be what drives you."
At the time, Andino was obsessed with the surfing of Mick Fanning and Dane Reynolds, taking style and technique cues from both surfers.
"I get different things from their different approaches," he explained. "And in terms of my approach, I guess I'd like to see myself falling somewhere in between the two of them."
Today, well armed with his ever-evolving quiver of Matt Biolos-shaped blades, Andino is both his own man and one of the faces of American surfing. He's the highest ranked surfer from the U.S. on the Championship Tour and was the first American surfer to qualify for the Olympics.
And now in a testament to the respectful, humble man he's grown into, when he's not on the road, he's taken it upon himself to foster the talent of the next generation of surfers from San Clemente. From his friend and fellow competitor Griffin Colapinto, to the up-and-comers like Kade Matson, Jett Schilling, Taj and Sawer Lindblad and others, he's not just a local surf star but a true mentor.