Surfing is about to get an Olympic-sized close-up. The sport will make its debut in the Summer Olympics for the 2020 Games in Tokyo, Japan, and surfer Kolohe Andino is hoping to be a part of it. The World Surf League star is currently the top-ranked surfer on the WSL Championship Tour and is in first position to represent the United States as he tries to qualify for the Olympics.
On the WSL Championship Tour, the 10 highest-ranked men and eight highest-ranked women at the end of the season will be eligible to qualify for the Olympics, with two men and two women from each country being selected for the competition. With five events remaining on the WSL Championship Tour in 2019, Andino—and the surfers behind him—will be looking to stay in position so they can compete. Fans can follow along the rankings here to see who is leading among each country.
For Andino, a second-generation surfer after his father Dino Andino, the chance to represent the United States would be a dream come true.
“The opportunity is huge and it’s been kind of a motivation to finish high in the rankings.” Andino told Men’s Journal. “Surfing is the sickest sport in the world and it’s rad that it’s finally in the Olympics.”
As part of his preparation for the Olympics and for competing on the WSL Championship Tour, Andino spends almost as much time working to stay in shape as he does in the water. While surfing itself is one of his favorite ways to train, Andino has also brought in some other techniques and workouts to help keep his body where he needs it to be to ride big waves.
Andino recently got back from the Corona Open J-Bay surfing competition in South Africa, where he finished third among the competitors. It was his fourth-straight top-5 finish on tour this season, keeping him in the top spot heading into the Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o competition, which takes place from August 21 to September 1. Andino should be riding high heading into that event, considering South Africa is one of his top spots to surf.
“J-Bay is my favorite stop on tour,” Andino says. “In the past I’ve never done [well] there except for this year. So that’s been a little bit of a burden, but I just love the temperature and the waves are so special.”
Andino knows that making it into the Olympics is going to be tough, considering he has some talented surfers behind him in the rankings, with John John Florence second and legendary surfer Kelly Slater the first alternate among the men for the United States. Either way, Andino is excited about what’s to come.
“Ever since I grew up the stars of the sport have been my idols,” Andino said. “Now that I’m in that position it’s really cool and I have to pinch myself every once in awhile.”
To keep up with the WSL: The next event on the Men’s CT is the Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o, going from August 21 – September 1, and the next stop on the Women’s CT is the Freshwater Pro from September 19 – 21. you can follow along both events, which will be broadcast live on WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL App, and at Facebook.com/WSL.
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