With the exception of a trip to Rincon and a Mike Parsons-led strike mission to Baja, Kolohe Andino has spent the last month at home in San Clemente. He doesn't have plans to leave for Australia's Gold Coast for a couple more weeks. By his standards that's a long stretch in one place, but considering what the next 10 months potentially hold, it's a much-needed respite. The chaos and pressure of a highly anticipated rookie year on the ASP World Tour is not far off.
Putting the down time to good use, the boy is becoming a man as his daily workouts are yielding meat on his bones and power in his turns. He has his father on surfboard detail. "We just ordered about 25 new ones," he says. Mike "Snips" Parsons is the scheduling mastermind and chief strategist. Parsons' cerebral approach to surfing is starting to show through in everything from the way Andino looks at lineups to way he approaches a heat to the "confidence he gives me."
ESPN Surfing caught up with Andino last week to probe his mind and see where his head was at. Come to find, he's more ready than you expect -- eye of the tiger type stuff.
How are you preparing for 2012?
Basically I've been surfing a lot, spinning classes and yoga. My dad and Snips are working on getting my boards ready. I've been trying out a lot of new fins because I usually travel with glass-ons and it's a nightmare, so trying to get some FCS setups to mix in there.
How many boards are you going to be traveling with when you leave for Australia?
Not sure exactly, but the first leg is five events with a trip at the end, so I'm going to have a lot of boards. I'm just going to ship a bunch over there, I think. Probably around 20 to 30, something like that.
What about Snips? Are you guys already talking world domination strategies?
Mostly we've been talking scheduling. Trying to go through all the events, trying to figure out which ones I want to do. And the trips, figuring out where I want to go, if there's time to film with Kai Neville, where I can go to improve my surfing, all that stuff.
How much of a relief is it knowing that you get a full year on tour and there's no cut-off to worry about?
Yeah, I know. Those guys two years ago -- Nate Yeomans, Tanner Gudauskas, Marco Polo, Blake Thorton, Mick Campbell -- all those guys got requalified and then they had four or five events and got chopped. That was kind of a bummer. Obviously they worked a lot longer than I have, but I've been surfing five hours a days since I was 8 years old, so I've worked really hard to get here, but yeah, it will be good to have a full year to figure it out. I'll get to surf Lowers and France and all those spots at the end of the year, so it will be sick.
Is there anything you're taking from the success that people in your peer group -- John John Florence or Gabriel Medina -- have had?
Medina seems to me like he's just a complete badass competitor. It's like he just wants to stick it to the man. It looks like he's not scared of anybody, and that's how I have to be. Without him going out and winning those two events last year it would be easy to have a "it's my rookie year, don't be too hard on myself" kind of attitude, but with him, you can look in his eyes and tell that he thinks he's the best in the world, and that's why he won two events. So I have to take some of his perspective on tour with me this year.
You've surfed with or against a lot of the guys on tour already, is there anybody that scares you?
Depends on where it is. But I think if it's at a wave that provides maneuvers I can give any of those guys a run for their money, but in heavier surf I have to improve a lot before I start trying to beat John John, or Kelly [Slater], or Joel [Parkinson], or Mick [Fanning]. It all depends on the surf. And even if it is big, anyone can beat anyone, so I've never really be scared of anyone.
How much did you learn at Pipeline this year? Was it a wake-up call?
No, it wasn't a wake-up call. It was more like the opposite of a wake-up call. It was like I was going to sleep. I was really nervous leading up to the event, and then I ate crap pretty hard. I pulled into one that was pretty big -- the biggest barrel of my life, although I'm sure there are a lot of people that will tell you it was a small one, but it wasn't for me. But it was a relief to know that I could eat s--- that hard, survive, and paddle back out for another.
And what about the tour without Dane Reynolds? Is it better, worse, or does it matter at all?
I competed against Dane in a couple events last year, but I don't really know. I respect Dane a lot, we went to Japan together and he put me up on his site and all that. I like him a lot. He's a super cool dude. But it's his choice, and I think the tour will be fine without him. With John John, Medina, Julian Wilson, Miguel Pupo and Slater, obviously, there's a whole pack of guys that are already taking his place. I'm sure everyone that's going to read this watched all of the events last year, and I watched every event, and I can tell you there wasn't one boring heat throughout the whole year. Every heat was two super gnarly guys. So I think the tour without Dane is just fine.
So, before the chaos and madness of your first year on tour begins, are you handling all the pressure OK, taking everything in stride?
Yeah, I've been putting out little videos on my site ... I just have to try not to read the message boards. I had stopped reading them, but then I started again because there were a couple cool ones, so I kept reading, wondering if there were going to be some more cool ones. It broke my heart. But then I was thinking about it, and a good analogy for me is the Lakers. I talk a lot of s--- on the Lakers because I love them, stuff like, "Get that f------ guy outta there," but I don't know what I'm talking about. I don't know anything about basketball. So I reckon it's just sports fans. That's part of being a passionate fan, and that's cool. I'm good with that.