THE KIDS ARE OK
By Corky Carroll
I read an interesting article in SURFER magazine recently where it discussed the subject of the possibility, or not, of a “surf gene.” We are looking at second and possibly third generation pro surfers these days and so the subject is bound to come up. My personal scientific opinion is the reason anybody gets good at anything is a combination of factors. Most importantly, in a physical medium, there needs to be at least a solid amount of natural talent built in. Some people are athletic and some aren’t. To become a pro surfer takes some natural athleticism, and I guess you could call that “in the genes.” This, I would assume, is something that is at least partly handed down from your parents. But, that said, I have always felt that success most of the time depends on the amount of time and effort you put into something. No matter how lame you are if you do something long enough and with the will and energy to improve you are bound to achieve some amount of skills. And if you start out with sports genes then you are most of the way home. I contend that the main reason the offspring of great surfers have a great shot at greatness themselves though is opportunity. If your dad is a great surfer and takes you surfing everyday and gives you clues it’s a real plus. And if you love it and are willing to absorb everything that is available to you, both in and out of the water, from being in that kind of surfing environment then you have a huge plus plus factor. I don’t think there is a surf gene. But the combo of heritage, the love of it, desire to be good and the opportunity provided by a surfing family would certainly seem to lead to a bright surfing future.
There are lots of examples out there. The Fletcher family, the Curren family, the Ho family, the Buffalo family (never can spell that name) on and on. There is a kid that is blowing everybody’s minds right now by having qualified for the World Surfing Tour at only 17 years old. His name is Kolohe Andino and he is the son of former surf star and San Clemente kid, Dino Andino.
I love Dino. Back in the 70’s I spent some time as the guitar teacher at the House of Music in San Clemente. One day an older lady brought in her very young grandson for lessons. It was Dino and he was about six or seven years old. He had a horrible guitar with a square neck. Was meant to play slide style. But Dino wasn’t really all that into learning the guitar, he was into surfing. We would spend most of his lesson time talking about surfing and he was the perfect little sponge just loving all the good info he could get.
At about the same time my oldest son, Clint, was getting into surfing too. He was playing Pop Warner football and one of his team mates was Matt Archibald. Within a few years these guys were taking surfing in a whole different direction. I remember standing on the beach at the San Clemente pier one day watching Dino, Matt, Clint and Christian Fletcher busting giant “air” moves that I had never seen before. Thought about yes, but done or seen no. These were the new OC fight club.
And now here is the son of Dino on track to do amazing things. Matt’s son Ford is a very talented surfer too. Clint’s son Cannon is just starting, having grown up in Kansas being a huge drawback for becoming a surfer. There is the opportunity factor I mentioned.
I would also like to point to our current Orange County top pro surfer, Brett Simpson. Brett is the son of Bill Simpson who was a star football player with the Los Angeles Rams. That stinking team that I used to love and had season tickets to but broke my heart and moved to Saint Louis. Brett grew up in Huntington Beach. Heritage, desire and opportunity.
We all need to keep an eye on Kolohe Andino. Possible future World Champ from the O.C.