This holiday season, learn a new trick with Kolohe Andino!
Try to picture a modern world without the frontside finner. It ain’t easy. Can you imagine Ev Gieselman’s game if he wasn’t a master of kicking out the jams? Marzo? Or Reynolds? Our favourite exponent of this particular innovation, however, is Mr Kolohe Andino, the son of ’90s pro Dino. Watch his frontside kicks at Trestles and beyond for a textbook how-to. Ain’t no creased face or fixed jaw in Kolohe’s sublime fin toss. Perfect timing. Perfect placement.
Now, let’s set our own faces to crease and learn the why, where and how of the frontside finner.
BeachGrit: Who was the very first person you saw stomp a frontside finner?
Well, the first movie I ever fell in love with was Montaj (Released in 2002. Kolohe was eight). I can’t really remember if he was really kicking the fins all the way around into the flats or not, but I just loved it. The first person I saw do a proper nose pick was Clay Marzo. It was in 2005 at the NSSA Nationals open men’s final. Remember when he got two 10s and shocked the world? Yep, one of those 10s he does one. I was 11.
What effect did this have upon you?
I had just came out of my open mini-groms final, my first-ever national title. I felt on top of the world. But, then I see Mason (Ho) and Clay and these kids paddling out for their open men’s final. And, you know when you are like in first grade and you see a fifth grader and think they look like giants?. That’s how I felt looking up to them. I was in awe. They seemed so pro, with everything dialled. I wanted to be just like them. Really, they were only 16, 17 years old. When I sat on the point after watching Clays 10s, I just remember thinking to myself, that looks really fun and I want to do that.
Did you mention what you saw to Dino? What was his reaction?
My Dad was down at the contest at the time. He thought Clay’s surfing was incredible. Some years ago, we went on a Super surfboards trip to the Mentawai islands with Clay and my Dad said that’s the best surfing he has ever seen in real life. But, at the time, when I was 11, if I had tried one of those in front of him, he would’ve been, like, “What are you doing? You cant even do a turn yet?”
Were you initially confounded by the mechanics of the turn?
Yes, at the time it seemed very difficult to me.
How long did it take you to decipher the mechanics of the turn?
I’m not really sure. When you are only 18 years old you really have spent only maybe three years of your life knowing what’s going on in this world. I just remember thinking that it looked so cool that he could throw his board into the air and catch it on the nose with his feet, turn-spin around, then shuffle back. At the time it seemed like acrobatic shit.
Did anyone help y’out, advice wise?
Yeah. I mean, I don’t really remember my Dad helping out with that particular thing. But I know he did. He helped with everything.
For people with real basic skills, can you give a real basic (but profoundly helpful) description of the mechanics?
I like when they come deep off of the bottom. Dane does that real good. Always have a wide stance when going into this. It gives you more control over your board. About three-fourths of the way up, start your pre-twist. I was always taught to really twist like Mick Fanning on every turn. So, if you look at mine I’m twisting way too much. Okay, then stomp on your front foot and let that back foot hang loose. It’s almost like throwing your board out the back but then catching it with your feet on the nose. Once you’ve caught your board, keep the pressure on your front foot and spin down the wave backwards. Then, when you’re down the wave, slowly release the pressure, like the clutch of a car. Now the fins do the work and the board spins around. Shuffle back and go into your next turn.
Who’s got the best frontside finner in the biz?
Dane, Clay, Dusty, Taj, John, Medina.