Touted ASP World Tour rookie Kolohe Andino, 18, suffered a severe ankle sprain on June 21 while training in San Clemente, Calif. following the Volcom Fiji Pro, casting a cloud over what he hoped would be a successful debut season.
Currently No. 26 in the ASP World Championship rankings, Andino said in a statement released by the ASP that he will be out of the water 8-10 weeks dating back to the injury. That means he will miss the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, Calif. beginning on July 30, and will likely be out of the Billabong Pro Teahupoo which runs Aug. 16-27.
He could return to the water for the Hurley Pro at Trestles, Calif. beginning on Sept. 16 if his ankle heals quickly, but any setback would put his participation for that event in doubt as well.
The injury will put considerable pressure on Andino to boost his ASP World Ranking when when he returns, especially going into Hawaii at the end of the year. If he doesn't come back from the injury with strong performances, he could potentially fall off the World Tour after his rookie year.
"Well, at the time of injury, I was the No. 1 guy on the World Rankings that wasn't in the Top 22 on the WCT, and hopefully I won't lose too much ground. Every week counts. There is an event every day from Lowers to Pipe, so I'll be very excited to get back and do all of these events," Andino said in the statement.
If Andino doesn't finish well, he could still apply for a wildcard exemption on next year's tour, but he'll be lumped in with a group of surfers like Dusty Payne and Jadson Andre vying for a small handful of spots.
"I am not even sure how they pick them and who decides or if I will even need one. If worse comes to worse and I apply and don't get a wildcard, I'll just have to do the qualifying series next year and try my best to re-qualify. But being on the tour means everything to me and I want to do whatever it takes to maintain my spot," Andino said.
After winning five events in 2011 and bursting on the scene with clean, all-around style and aerial proficiency, Andino had high hopes his first year on the World Tour would be successful.
"I will be really excited to compete again, but for the time being I am working as hard as I can. I'm 100 percent committed to doing everything in my power to aid a speedy recovery," Andino said.
ESPN writer Jake Howard contributed to this report.