Brother's big toe blues
In mid-November, just days after attending Andy Irons' memorial on Kauai, Kolohe Andino was free surfing on the North Shore when a botched wave resulted in a fractured hallux -- a busted big toe. And like that, his winter was over -- no proving himself at Pipe or getting the shot at Rocky's this season.
Typically such an injury results in surgery, pins, screws and the like. Fortunately, Andino's break was relatively clean and no surgery was required. Just the same, he was sequestered to a knee-high cast for the better part of five weeks.
This week, the 16-year-old finally got back onto two feet and the rehab process has begun. Like every good surf star, he's seen Newport Beach-based orthopedist Dr. Warren Kramer, and he's undergoing a rigorous physical therapy program. His old man, Dino, has also started to drag him to the pool to help get his paddle strength back. He still is some time away from actually surfing, but considering the rain that's been dumping in San Clemente, that's probably a good thing.
Like any teenage frother he was visibly bummed when asked about how he's handled five weeks out of the water, but Andino did concede, "It couldn't have happened at a better time. It's been dead flat this winter."
He's still undecided as to whether or not he'll surf in the Billabong World Junior Championships in Narrabeen, Australia, which runs Jan. 8-16.