New podcast with Caroline Marks, Kolohe Andino, Carissa Moore and Kai Lenny shines light on just how important the role of family is in their surfing lives
By Jake Howard
From sibling rivalries to generational legacies, the relationships between surfing’s top performers and their families shapes who they are and how they define success. For world champions including Caroline Marks and Carissa Moore, to big-wave heroes such as Kai Lenny and local legend Kolohe Andino, family is everything.
As long as I live, I’ll never forget sitting in a restaurant in Waikiki across the table from Carissa Moore’s father when she was about 12 years old. He leaned in toward me, looked around the room as if not to expose his secret, and whispered, “Nobody knows how (expletive) good she’s going to be.”
Five world titles and an Olympic gold medal later, Pops knew what was up.
A new, four-part podcast called “Family Crest” seeks to shine some much-deserved light on the intricacies and nuances of these family relationships. Hosted by Peter Flax, editor-in-chief of Red Bull’s publication The Red Bulletin, it’s a deep dive into how complex and emotional all of this stuff really can be. Not only featuring conversations with the surfers themselves, the voices of parents, coaches, siblings and mentors also make an appearance and add some depth and context to the conversations.
The first episode dropped on Sept. 12 and featured 2023 world champ Marks. Claiming her first world title at the WSL Finals at Lower Trestles, it’s been Marks’ relationship with her brother and parents that has helped her become the surfer she is today. Growing up in Florida, Marks moved to San Clemente to be closer to her sponsors and train at Lowers. Obviously, the hard work and dedication has paid off huge, and when she won her world title in September, it was her family that was the first to congratulate her.
“My Florida and San Clemente family and friends, seeing all of you on the beach cheering loud all day, I thought to myself no matter what happens today, I’ve got the awesome people around me,” Marks shared on Instagram after taking out Moore to win the title.
The latest episode dropped this week and features Andino breaking down what it means to be the son of a national champ, as well as a father himself. Taking the next generation of San Clemente surf stars under his wing and mentoring them, the conversation also expands just what family means in the surf world.
“I want a big family; there’s nothing better,” Andino explained in a recent interview. The father of one with another on the way, he gracefully transitioned to living the family life as his time on the WSL Championship Tour came to a close—and perhaps his surfing has never been more inspired.
And while he rides the biggest waves in the world, Lenny is also juggling twin daughters.
“Before, my only real motivation was self-preservation, but now with kids in the equation, I think I’ll be willing to go to the edge of the Earth for them,” Lenny says. “When I’m underwater, they’re going to be the reason I come up every single time.”
“Family dynamics are always fascinating, and, in this case, there’s a lot to chew on,” says Flax.
If you’ve ever wondered what family means to some of your favorite surfers and how it helps them take their performances to the next level, tune into “Family Crest”; it’s endlessly fascinating. You can find it on Spotify, Apple, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.
Jake Howard is a local surfer and freelance writer who lives in San Clemente. A former editor at Surfer magazine, The Surfer’s Journal and ESPN, today he writes for several publications, including Picket Fence Media, Surfline and the World Surf League. He also works with philanthropic organizations such as the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center and the Positive Vibe Warriors Foundation.