By opening the past, winning will become a necessity for Californian…
Kolohe. Light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. He was Brother, plain Brother at three in the morning, standing 5 foot 11 in Nike socks. He was Kloe in slacks. But in my Fantasy team he was always Kolohe, top-tier pick, first Californian to hold the #1 since Shane Beschen.
Let me say this. Kolohe Andino really gets my orange juiced.
It’s an unpopular position for an Australian. Unless you’re OG West Coast CA he’s a hard sell. A sweep the leg Californian villain. The golden child with the silver spoon. The temper tantrums. The speed dealer sunglasses. The MAGA Trumpito rumours (which I think I’ve started but would make some sense). He’s a flat-track alpha.
But, like Nabokov’s Humbert and his forbidden Lolita nymphet, I can’t stop loving him.
I dig his post-heat presence. Overconfident yet underplayed. It’s swagger. Big dick energy.
“Yeah. I smoked the guy. So what?”
He’s the jock that flicks you behind the ear in the school yard every recess and still drives you crazy.
It’s been a wild year for Brother, and it’s made loving him that much harder.
That nonchalant, deadpan stare into the camera when Kauli Vaast spun under priority into a heat winner in the round of 32 at Teahupoo couldn’t sum it up better.
Kolohe had the lead. Was surfing with confidence and looking as comfortable as any of the contenders in the heavy water.
He went off his game for just a split second. He should have been sitting on Kuali, but he let him go.
Vaast swooped. Brother was cooked. The yellow jersey was gone.
It’s the second time he’s done that this year. The first robbed him of a maiden CT win.
Kolohe’s not being frustrated by lack of talent, or effort. It’s just that final execution. The one percent plays.
Yeah, the weight of the crown hangs heavy.
Medina wears it with ease. Loves it. Julian knows how, but just can’t get it home. Jordy’s dropped it so many times he shouldn’t be allowed near the cabinet.
Ike ‘n Filipe? Works in progress.
But Kolohe ain’t done yet either.
This year he’s taken the zen approach. Preparation with contemplation. Balance. Boards dialled in. Emotional IQ to go with it. By trying through not trying, the total performances have come to him. Almost.
His surfing has added an extra dimension.
The variety of repertoire, as Pottz would call it, has always been there. Hucks, swoops, spins. He’d always been dynamic, but formulaic too.
Now he’s an auteur. The forehand high wrap is his signature (with a big nod to MF). I fucken love it.
And he’s still only 25.
So what’s the missing ingredient?
That fire, lit by our sport’s working-class heroes and carried today by the Latinos, who don’t just win because they want to. They win because they need to. It can’t be taught to privileged whites in foam pits at the Surfing Australia High Performance Centre or through a thousand NSSA titles.
It needs to be lived. Through loss. Through trauma. Through failure. Through a scorecard that only reads Ls since 2012.
Here’s Hynd on four-time runner-up to the world title, Cheyne Horan, from the 1990 Power Rankings:
…he continues to wail on the bag, all the time focussing on the primary goals. “Fitness… power. Fitness… power. Fitness… power… power!” In a pool of sweat by the fourth round, he lets the anger surge, opens the past like a masochist, and talks to himself through clenched teeth. “Hawaii… results… 16 fields… mind… courage.” Then, blurting out “failure” he slams the bag with a painful right uppercut and moves to the wall mirror; raging, bulging, almost crying in anger. He feints, feints, weaves and moves in on himself with such a prolonged flurry that mist blots his reflection. Then explodes in a ball of self-deprecating hatred and hoarsely pants, “Give up, give up ya bastard. You’re no good!” The entire room is at a dead stop. Watching. Horan’s still flailing to his limit, when the blurred image in the mirror digs way down, and screams back, “Never! Never! Never give up!”
Kolohe’s got eight years of disappointment to drive him.
The punched boards, the priority blunders, the third-round exits. By harnessing the shame of repeated failure, by opening the past like a masochist, winning will become a necessity for him.
The only option.
A still mind that runs deep.
I’ll call it. Kolohe for Lemoore. Gabby for another title, this year, but Kolohe for Lemoore. He’ll then get a good run into Hawaii. Be in the mix come showdown. And once he’s got that taste, lock one in for the next few years.
A return to Cali glory.