Surfing can be a frustrating old game. And going from Kolohe Andino’s year so far on tour being a rookie can also be a real mixed bag. On the one hand, they have the freshness, the hype and new approach to surfing. On the other, they have to deal with expectation, inexperience and the world’s best surfers going for broke in every heat and on every wave.
Following his 2011 tour qualification rampage, winning five events (two 4-Stars and three 6-Stars), Andino’s year so far on tour couldn’t have been more different, making only 2 heat victories, dropping down to number 26 on the rankings and getting pretty frustrated with it all (notably his heat with Tiago Pires in Fiji at the end of which he punched the nose of his board in two).
And just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for the young Californian, he’s now gone and suffered a serious ankle injury while training in San Clemente that has sidelined him for several weeks. Rehabbing at home, the ASP called into the 18-year-old to see where his head’s at:
Describe for us how this injury happened:
“Basically, I was taking five days off because I had a small twinge in my right hip. During those five days, I was doing a juicing diet. On the sixth day, my hip felt good, the sun was out and I was all juiced up from a ginger, kale, spinach, jalapeño, carrot, garlic and lemon juice. I was frothing. There were little shoulder-high wedges on the shore at Riviera. Fun in the sun. I paddled out with my Dad, Morgan Maassen and Dylan Goodale, which gets me even more psyched because I love surfing with my Dad. It was a full froth fest. About ten waves in, a little left comes my way and I race down the line thinking, “John John (Florence)…John John…John John…full rotation…Rio de Janeiro…Final Against Parko.” I hit it, go in the air, do a 360 and land way too far in the flats. I heard a significant popping noise and started to scream. Froth fest over…”
What is the official diagnosis?
“Grade-3 high ankle sprain, Grade 2-3 Lisfranc ligament torn. I’m meant to be out of the water 8 – 10 weeks from June 21st at the earliest, but I am waiting until I am 100% before I put a jersey on. At that point, I will be really excited to compete again, but for the time being I am working as hard as I can. I’m 100% committed to doing everything in my power to aid in a speedy recovery.”
You were a highlight at Ballito last year, posting a 10, and everyone wanted to see you at Jeffreys Bay. I’m sure you’re disappointed in missing the South African leg this year. Can you give us some of your thoughts on it?
“Haha, I lost second heat at Ballito, but I guess I got a 10. It’s a bummer, but the torture of watching it online is good in a way. What I was I taking for granted then will now be a huge excitement in my life when I come back.”
Your surfing has been there this year on tour, but you’ve lost some tough heats. Sitting out for a few events and recovering from injury may have an adverse effect on your requalification campaign. Your thoughts on this?
“Well, at the time of injury, I was the No. 1 guy on the world rankings that wasn’t in the Top 22 on the WCT, and hopefully I won’t lose too much ground. Every week counts. There is an event everyday from Lowers to Pipe, so I’ll be very excited to get back and do all of these events.”
With a number of other high-profile surfers being injured for most of this year (Jadson Andre, Dusty Payne, etc.), there is a possibility of several applicants applying for the ASP wildcard come season’s end. Have you given any thought to this?
“Absolutely, it’s all I think about, but I will cross that bridge when I get there. If I do get back in time for the last dash to the end of the year, I will be trying my very hardest to get some results. For now, I am focusing on strengthening my body and mind to prepare for the tour once I’m healed. In regards to the question, I am not even sure how they pick them and who decides or if I will even need one. If worse comes to worse and I apply and don’t get a wildcard, I’ll just have to do the qualifying series next year and try my best to requalify. But being on the tour means everything to me and I want to do whatever it takes to maintain my spot. What I have learned with all this is that you don’t take anything for granted and live every second to its fullest because it can be snatched from you like that.”