American surfer Kolohe Andino nails highest-scoring maneuver, celebrates with throat-slashing gesture
CHIBA, Japan - Surfing got big at the Olympics on Monday.
On a windy day with considerable waves, the American Kolohe Andino managed the most successful maneuver to date in the sport's Olympic debut. He jumped off the edge of a wave, grabbed his surfboard in his front hand, landed on the tail of the board, and flipped the board over when he finished the ride.
Slob Frontside Air Reverse.
This is the name of the move that earned Andino 8.5 points and drove him to victory over his compatriot John John Florence.
Andino, 27, also dropped some surfing jargon when describing the 30-minute heat in which he faced Florence, a two-time world champion.
"... just really cycling and one for the history books," he said, using his bike again as he left an interview session with reporters.
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The slob Frontside Air Reverse hit Andino's first wave, just 30 seconds in the 30-minute heat, and Andino celebrated with a throaty gesture.
"It was like cutting the snake's head off for the first 10 seconds," said Andino, a native of San Clemente, California. "I was just overwhelmed by emotion and that's what I ended up doing."
Florence said he hadn't seen the maneuver or the throat cut. He was looking for waves to ride.
"I just heard the score," said Florence, 28, a native of Hawaii. "And so I thought, 'Oh my god, what did he do?"
“It's about the challenge that it poses. So you're in the heat and you sit there and say, 'Okay, I have to do something big.' "
Both Americans have recovered from injuries, with Andino having operated on an ankle in March that he injured in March, and Florence underwent surgery for a cruciate ligament rupture in her left knee about 10 weeks before the Tokyo Games started.
You still managed to impress.
After a lackluster opening day for surfing on Sunday, Monday's swell created choppy surf and some waves that were six feet high at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach, about 40 miles outside of Tokyo. The Americans put on a show - rad you might say - before Andino prevailed with 14.83 to 11.60 and secured a place in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
"I think John and I out there, our best surfing is surfing in the air," he said. "It would be an air show, no matter what."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tokyo Olympics Surfing: American Kolohe Andino meets bike in the lap
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John John Florence
American surfer surf
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