“HECK! DAMN!” Kolohe Andino hits the eject button at Bombers. (Lawrence)

That Time Kolohe Andino Took On The Cast Of Dear Suburbia

“I could not believe my eyes.”

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I remember getting invited to go on a boat trip with a bunch of guys for the shooting of Kai Neville’s film Dear Suburbia. The crew was amazing, Dane Reynolds, Jack Freestone, Kolohe Andino and Evan Geiselman. I was pretty excited to surf with these guys and try and hopefully bag a few clips.

We’d heard of this super rippable little right called Bombers up in the north towards the Telos and one afternoon about a week into the trip, the place just turned it on. It was running three footers with a fluffed up little wind that was absolutely perfect for airs. The surfing I saw that arvo… I could not believe my eyes. Dane, Kolohe and Jack were just comboing air for air and going so mad. Every wave was another level up on the wave before it.

At one stage I was sitting with Brother (Kolohe) and he began telling me how he wanted to do a slob into an air reverse into a floater into a stalefish and then finish with an air reverse… Like that was a combo he was telling me he wanted to do. I was like “Haha! Mate that’s pretty ambitious isn’t it?” And then the little prick did it… exactly as he called it, three waves in a row! I was going, “Wow! This is hectic!”

Dane was so sick too. He just loves surfing and having a few ’Tangs after a surf and we got along like a house on fire. But all the cruisiness got kinda put aside during that session. It was pretty obvious that he was turning it up a notch. And Jack Freestone was right there with them. Easily as good and going absolutely mad.

The funny thing is I would get so stoked when anyone nailed a sick air. But Kolohe and Dane were getting super competitive. I remember whenever Kolohe would see Jack or Dane make a sick air he’d look at me and be like “DID HE MAKE THAT? DID HE MAKE IT?” And I’d be like “Yeah he made it!” And he’d be like, “HECK! DAMN!” Then he’d put his head down psyching on his next wave amped to take them out. Everyone was feeling a bit like that I guess. Ha!

The pressure to perform for Kai’s movies is intense. Everyone has their head down trying to get clips. Obviously you have to go pretty mental to nail a keeper these days so guys get pretty serious about it. But even though there was that one-upmanship in the water there were no bad vibes at all that day, just psyching good vibes and it was a sick feeling to be out there and a part of it all.

I did a couple of airs and a couple of turns but I didn’t go as techno as those guys with grabs. It was all about combos. Guys wanted to destroy the waves from start to finish. I don’t think any one wave stood out but collectively it was a crazy session.

Watching the clips on the boat after you could see everyone trying to count how many keepers they got but overall everyone was pretty thrilled by what had gone down. It was a sick vibe. Having a feed and watching footage after a super session on a boat trip, I think it’s the ultimate.

Sealtooth. (Lawrence)
Tajamos. (Lawrence)
Freestone. (Lawrence)
By Kai Neville

A lot of the time when I’m filming sessions a guy will get on one of those magic rolls where he sticks pretty much everything. Then on some occasions, everyone in the line-up gets in the same rhythm and the level of surfing goes through the roof.

We were shooting for Dear Suburbia and I wanted to go to Indo with the sole objective of nailing high performance. We had this little right pegged and knew it was the perfect set up for big combos but when we got there the swell was too big and it was super dumpy and nobody could land shit. Everyone was like, “This wave sucks!”

So we bailed and I was quietly losing it ’cause all my eggs were in that basket. On about day seven we went back and it looked pretty much the same.  Then Kolohe paddled out and on his first wave he did a reverse, then a speed-check straight into an air-reverse. He paddled back to the boat and said, “It’s on.”

That session went for four hours and you could feel it was pretty special. I think Taj being in the water had a hugely positive effect on everyone. He just has this persona, this total grom stoke for surfing and seeing people ripping, plus he’s been a hero of everyone who was in the water that day forever. But you could also sense this lift in aggression in terms of how hard Jack, Dane and Kolohe were surfing. Everyone wanted to raise the bar and you could see they were thinking about combos rather than just cruising. They were premeditating their surfing like skaters do.

There have been times when I’ve filmed sessions and the surfing and the waves have all clicked together and the result has given me goosebumps. This was definitely one of those times. It’d be in the top five surfs I’ve ever shot. We bagged a lot of shit that day.

Taj Burrow