Early in 2021, Kolohe Andino agreed to an interview. He’s done a million of them, but generally he’s got some idea of what’s going on. This one, however, was a little different. It took place at an interesting point in his career — the guy has spent nearly his entire life with a laser focus on competing, and the pandemic forced him to drastically shift that focus.
“My relationship with surfing isn’t completely competitive surfing,” he said. “I’ve just kind of realized that in the last year. Everything that had to do with surfing went through the filter of competing. Whereas this year was just ‘let’s just surf and learn how to shape and edit surf movies and rip and have fun… I think my surfing is better than ever because of that.”
The interview is part of Red Bull’s In Plain Sight series. It’s the third installment of five, the first two of which featured Selema Masekela and Zoltan Torkos, respectively. There are a lot of stories in surfing. Some have been told ad nauseam. Some haven’t been told at all. And somewhere in the middle are the stories that have been told — but haven’t been told enough. Which is why Red Bull Media House produced In Plain Sight.
When Kolohe was young, he had an enormous weight placed on his shoulders (especially being a Californian). He was the next big thing. The next to win world titles. The next guy to do… well, just about everything. While being that white hot up-and-coming talent did indeed lead to a lot of opportunities, being under a microscope wasn’t always easy. There were meltdowns, both in contests and out. But it appears now that Kolohe has found a rhythm; a place where he’s happy with his surfing yet driven to surf better; a place where surfing in a jersey isn’t everything.
He’s a new dad. He has a new sponsor. A new house. Made one of the best surf films we’ve seen in a long, long time. He’s emerged from a cocoon of sorts, as a new man. This interview took place as he was emerging. It’s, as Travis Ferré wrote, “one of the first that conveys an entirely new and matured Kolohe at peace with his former path and excited about where he’s headed. Appreciative of the journey, but ready to transition into his next form. And lucky for us, we have that very moment on tape, preserved in black-and-white amber.”