California’s Kolohe Andino heads into the fire

Kolohe Andino’s got a big year ahead; one that’s sure to bring a bit of extra pressure as the burden of expectations mount.

He begins the 2011 season rated number 125 on the ASP’s World Rankings, roughly on pace to meet the milestones that are being carefully mapped out by his entourage of coaches and managers.

Thanks to Nike he’ll be looming even larger this year, regardless of how he fares racking up precious ratings points. That’s because their aggressive summer ad campaign will be hitting a television screen near you, and will be impossible to miss.

What’s more, Kolohe’s no small fry anymore. He’s grown about six inches in the past six months. Those Nike shoes of his are getting bigger, and his power supply will rise as a reslut, maybe not today, or tomorrow…but it’s coming.

As for the pressure…well, to date, he’s been remarkable at handling it. Even Kelly Slater has been impressed by his ability to deflect the onslaught. “Guys like Kolohe and John John [Florence] have been living with it for years,” he says. “They were pegged way younger than me, and have had it way worse than I did.”

He’ll take some lumps. Of that I’m sure. But those expecting a meltdown are likely to get burned.