On October 20, 2012, Droid turned 20 years old. Not quite old enough to buy beer, and a long way from his days as a super grom when he was just little Andrew Doheny, the Newport grom who was winning every NSSA event he could paddle his little hands into. A loyal kid who liked to play with Legos and still has them stashed away somewhere in the house he’s been living in near 54th street nearly half his life. The long hours surfing Blackies, and all the times his father pushed him into those waves, paid off in the amateur ranks. No matter how hard he ripped the amateur circuit, everyone knows just a small percentage will make an impact in the Big Leagues. There’s a long road to get there. You’ve got to not only win those amateur events like Andrew did, but you have to win a Pro Junior and keep you name in the mix year after year after year. If you think about it, the pressure of being an amateur sensation could almost a curse when it comes to competing on a bigger level because so much is already expected, and since you’re used to WINNING EVERYTHING, the wins don’t really come around as often. As Andrew found out surfing against surfers from other parts of the world, the wins came a little fewer and far between. And for chrissakes he had to win something, after all, his main sponsor Volcom has supported him since day 1 and should expect nothing but the podium. That’s just the way it is if you’re gonna be a grom getting paid the big bucks and taking home school. Ghetto Juice interviews….
Ghetto Juice: Does being current World #2 on the ASP World Pro Junior ratings put a nice bookend on your amazing amateur career?
Andrew Doheny: Yeah, I’m just really happy I got a good result, considering I only have one more year in this thing (ASP Pro Jr series) … I’m really happy. It’s definitely made contests fun and I’m psyched to do more contests.
Ghetto: What type of pressure was there coming off such an amazing amateur career when you won practically every contest you entered?
Andrew: I did so many NSSA’s, which was good and it was working out at the time, but I kind of got burned out, you know, when I was like 15, whenever it was when I quit. I was still doing contests. Like everyone was used to me doing a contest every weekend. Then I went to doing some Junior Pros, month to month, and so yeah, people thought I was slacking or something, you know, but I was still surfing just as much, and I thought I was improving but sponsors and stuff didn’t understand at the time. Definitely once that whole thing kind of started happening I felt a little pressure. Then when I was 16, you know, you’re older, so you’re not a supergrom so people aren’t letting everything slide. These companies have invested in you. So I felt a little pressure and I didn’t do very well in contests for a while, and then I won the Lowers contest (Oakley Pro Junior 2010). That was a booster in my confidence. And I thought everything was gonna go good from there (laughs) but I kinda started having shockers again. Then finally I started making heats again this last half the year. Finally there in Bali, it clicked in my head and I finally made the final. I really wanted to good there and then I made the final and I couldn’t believe it.
Ghetto: Is that amateur status pressure completely gone?
Andrew: I guess it’s always there but I’ve realized there’s no point in worrying about it. At the end of the day, all you can do is do your best.
Ghetto: Do you feel like you belong in the pro ranks?
Andrew: I don’t know…. I’d be the last one to say that about myself, but I guess all I can say is that I want to surf against those guys, but it’s hard to say exactly. I try not to think about … I’m not motivated to surf to compare to someone above me or below me, I’m just working, trying to surf the best I can surf and take it one step at a time. Try not to think about it, just take it step by step.
Ghetto: You are one of the most powerful youngsters in the world, but you can’t really do airs… are you going to be working more airs so you can throw them in after those huge power hacks?
Andrew: Yeah totally. Yeah. Rail surfing’s cool, judges like that as well, but as you saw in the final, one guy did an air and beat me and got the score I didn’t get. So that right there shows you that you need to surf with power but you need to do airs and stuff too. Must be a mental block of some sort.
Ghetto: Maybe you just like doing big hacks.
Andrew: I don’t know… I want to do airs but when I do I just fly away and embarrass myself.
Ghetto: Do you give up halfway through the air or something?
Andrew: I don’t have this “against doing airs” thing at all. I don’t know if people think that or not.
Ghetto: Well, they’re scary!
Andrew: Yeah, I’ve definitely gotten hurt trying them and stuff. So I don’t know what it is that’s making me not do them so well… but I’ve been landing a couple here lately, and I’ll just keep trying them.
Ghetto: Let’s talk about Hawaii. Lots of guys say you’re not charging Pipe yet. What’s up with that?
Andrew: First of all, I don’t care if people say that about me. Like I said, I’m not surfing for whoever it is that’s saying that. You know if I’m there this winter and I feel comfortable, I’ll try to surf it a little more. If whatever it is in me that comes out that makes me want to paddle into a huge wave, I’ll go. If it comes it comes, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.
Ghetto: Personally, Juice Ghetto no surf Pipe. But at your level, it’s something that is gonna come with the territory. And you’re definitely adept to surfing and you won’t have a problem. So, Juice Ghetto, no surfing Pipe, Andrew Doheny, you’ve got 20 years ahead of yourself, so pace yourself.
Ghetto: So Kolohe and Gabriel Medina have requalified for the 2013 WCT… does a part of you want to be in that WCT or in that WQS and win a huge pro event as a teenager?
Andrew: Yeah it totally does, ever since I was a little kid, you know, I definitely want to be on the CT. But I don’t want to be there until I’m ready so I don’t make a fool of myself. Just until I think I am good enough is the day I’ll say to myself that I need to be there and want to be there.
Ghetto: For a guy like you, what’s a good result?
Andrew: Well that’s kind of funny, because when I was losing really early in heats, shit; just making a heat was nice. Quarters, semis or finals were awesome. But I feel like my scale has gone up now….
Ghetto: And you’ve got some heats to win.
Andrew: Yeah I’ve got some heats to win now to fricken please myself. It’s not pressure though.
Ghetto: Knowing what you know now, what would you say to a ten year old Andrew Doheny?
Andrew: Me talking to myself? What could I tell myself? Good job in putting in all the hard work but slow down on the donuts because you’re killing me now….
Ghetto: How old were you when you started homeschooling?
Andrew: I went to all of elementary school, and a little bit of middle school… I must’ve been 12 or 13 when I started traveling way too much to be able to fit school in. There was no way. You can’t leave for two weeks and come back and expect to be caught up, and you’re definitely not going to do homework on a surf trip. So that didn’t work out.
Ghetto: What do you think of all the supergroms doing home school today?
Andrew: Yeah, here’s how I feel about that: Frick, if you can go to school, I’d say go to school cause it seems like there’s a lot of fun stuff to do in high school.
Ghetto: Slater went.
Andrew: Yeah, Slater went, that’s kind of funny, but I think these days kids travel a lot more. But if you can’t, people shouldn’t give you a hard time for doing it. Cause if you got a job that doesn’t allow you to go to school and people are going, “whoa, you didn’t go to school, you’re an idiot!” it’s like, well, dude, if you had a job opportunity, you gotta go with that, I think. Anyone could tell you that.
Ghetto: It’s no surprise you’re one of the highest paid teenage surfers in the world… what do you spend your money on?
Andrew: I don’t spend a lot of money. Not because I’m cheap, it’s just I don’t have interest in expensive things. They just don’t look cool to me. But I spend a lot on surfboards, making surfboards; I spend a ton of money on that. And I like to buy little nick knacks, just tons of little things. Like I went to Target yesterday and I just had a blast buying a ton of things. And it added up to be like $200 but …You don’t need a lot of money to have a bunch of cool stuff. Like I said, I went to Target and for $200 I walked out with so much stuff: electric shavers, fricken Polaroid camera, tripod, some underwear, some fricken toothbrush, there’s Legos in there, candy (laughs) everything.
Ghetto: Did you look at the ASP Ratings and see your name ranked #3? …
Andrew: No I didn’t actually.
Ghetto: Well it looks cool. You should check it out. You need to enjoy that.
Andrew: That is rad, but I’m really tough on myself though. Even after that, after doing so well (in Bali) I still have a hard time giving myself credit…. Even though I got second I feel like, aw, I coulda surfed better on that wave, or on that wave. I try not to blow too much steam up my own ass so I don’t get caught behind it.
Andrew: But you’re right, it’s my birthday so I’m gonna look at the ratings.
Ghetto: Well happy birthday buddy! And safe travels!
Andrew: No, no. I meant it’s my birthday so I’ll look at the ratings and enjoy them. I didn’t mean that for you to go.
Ghetto: No, no, that was the end of the interview….