Kolohe Andino has been a regular on the surf-mag radar for ages, and now, at fourteen he has just won his second consecutive Surfing America USA Championship title. We caught up with him in the Chicago Airport where he’s waiting out a four-hour layover on his way to New Jersey for the Junior Pro with his Dad and fellow Team USA member Dane Zaun.
SURFING: Can you give me a rundown of the US Championships this past week?
KOLOHE: The first couple of days it was small, almost dead flat on high tide, and some people weren’t even catching waves in their heats. Friday it was good, it was sick there was waves all day. That was the day they had the chick’s heats and I only had to surf one heat and I was bummed ‘cause the waves were so good. The next day the waves were the same, sot of peaky but a little bit smaller, and in my U18 heat it was super hard. It was Dane Zaun, Keanu Asing, and Ian Crane and I got third by like .5 points. Then I made the final in U14’s, and the semis in U16’s. On Saturday the waves were super fun in the morning, the wind was offshore and I had the first heat of the morning, and I lost in the U16 semifinal to Nathan Carvalho and Keanu Asing. Then I had the U14 final and there were head high waves but it was a super north wind but it was still pretty fun.
So, you won the U14’s at the US Championships for the second year in a row, how did you celebrate?
I walked around with a smile on my face. I was pretty bummed that I lost those two other divisions. I wanted to do good, but I lost, I surfed a bad heat and then got nervous. But I was pretty psyched to win because Ian Gentil and the other guys in the final were ripping.
What’s your take on Team USA this year, are you guys better or worse than last year?
In some divisions I think we’re better and others I think we’re a little bit worse. The under 18’s are gonna be really good this year, and I think the under 16’s will stay the same, ‘cause it was good last year, it was like a crazy good team, but none of us did well except for Conner. For the girls, Sage and Demi and Amy left, so Joey got some new girls from Hawaii, and it might stay the same, but maybe they’ll be better.
Do you think you guys will have a better result at worlds next year?
Yeah I think so.
How was it seeing Keanu, a guy who’s not even gonna be on Team USA, win the U16 and U18 titles?
It was cool, I guess, I was psyched for him. He beat me quite a bit that last time we surfed with each other, so hopefully next time I surf against him I’ll beat him. Hawaii is just a state in the United States, and at worlds we really want to beat them. And they got 3rd last year, so we’ll definitely want to beat him.
What would make it a successful year for team USA?
For more on Kolohe, visit www.Billabong.com