Uppers Echelon Longtime Trestles surfer Dino Andino laments the loss of a point guard
SWELL.COM: How long have you been surfing Trestles? DINO ANDINO: Oh, 20 years plus, easy.
Do you prefer Lowers or Uppers? I surf Lowers quite a bit, but I mainly surf Uppers. Uppers is kind of like my home ground. It's where I grew up surfing. Don't get me wrong: Lowers is a great break, but it's a bit too heavy on my mental health sometimes. I'll surf Lowers maybe at the end of the year, after everybody has surfed it a bunch. It's a scene out there. I'm over it. Uppers, on the other hand, is one of my top five waves to surf in the whole world. I always seem to have a special touch out there where I get a lot of waves and it brings back a lot of memories of growing up and surfing the break. It's special to me.
Where exactly do you like to surf at Uppers? At the north end of the trestle. I usually have a hard time hanging in the bay because I like to take off deep and go all the way through. The best swells for Uppers are west/southwest. The wave kind of bowls from that direction.
How would you compare the crowds of Uppers with Lowers? I don't think there are any real locals at Lowers. I don't even consider myself a local, even though I lived in town my whole life. It's kind of a neutral place. Everyone surfs there as much as the next guy. At Uppers, there was a crew when I was 12 or 13 years old that dominated the place. No one could come near it -- Jim Dudley, John Paskowitz, the McNultys, Chris McElroy and Pat Dugan all held the place together. There was camaraderie, and I was just a little kid. It was the kind of place you packed a lunch and hung out and surfed all day. Lowers doesn't have that. Uppers still kind of has that a little bit.
What was Trestles like back in mid '80s? Well, for one thing, we never surfed Lowers. Back when Tom Curren won the first Stubbies at Trestles, there wasn't even a left at Lowers. There was like a little separate wave -- kind of a beachbreak. A heavy storm came in and it kinda dug the whole left point. Before that it was just a slow mushy right. The left was never like it is now.
Legend has it that there was a tram that took surfers down the trail some 15 years ago. Yeah, at the top of the trail there was a guy who charged a couple of bucks a ride up and down the trail. It was a privately owned thing, and eventually the locals started giving him a hard time. I took it a few times when I was a grom, and my friends used to call me a traitor when I took it. Another funny thing back then was that everyone would steal lunches. You had to bury your lunch in the sand so no one would take it.
Have you ever been caught on the trestle? Yeah, a couple of times. I've jumped off the trestle and chucked my board once. I've run full speed to hide in the cubbyholes from the train. It's scary. Sometimes I'm standing there, hanging onto the wooden ends and wondering if I'm gonna make it.
Any final words? Just want to give my thanks to the break. It's been good to me, and the people I met through surfing there taught me a lot. Keep it clean. Don't trash it.
The Ho family. Photo: Ellis From SURFER MAGAZINE, April 2012 issue. THE SURF GENE Are [...]