Some cool contest news of late is pumping new energy into a quickly changing pro surfing landscape. It's a sure sign that new blood will continue to let the old as John John Florence came within a hair of the world title and Gabriel Medina has proven himself the resident giant killer in every event. Heck, Julian Wilson, Medina, and Florence have all won major events this year.
Add to the news the most recent win of Kanoa Igarashi in the U-16 division of the Grom Search event held at Uppers Trestles. It wasn't the fact that he is the national champ and will go on to face the world in the International event held in Australia. It wasn't really about contest results at all except for the fact that Igarashi has won about every national contest in his path. Nope. Instead, take a look at his performance. At only 15, he is quickly shedding any semblance of the wispy waif days of his "youth." Although still so skinny that a strong wind might knock him off his board, the new turns and lines he drew in that event showed maturity and flow obviously learned from time with Quiksilver team mates, and his modern aerial bag-o-tricks blended seamlessly to easily put his competition to bed. He is proving be an emerging force and will soon be taking down household names. He's recently won his first pro event and is on point for something huge regardless of his result Down Under. But while Igarashi is for sure America's next big hope for a savior, it looks like Aussie Jack Robinson will be laying down a different track all together by his choice to avoid contests altogether. If you haven't seen this kid surf, you are missing a freak of nature for sure.
But big moves weren't just reserved for groms. There was a serious cosmic shift at the Reef Hawaiian Pro held at rippable Haleiwa. Sebastian "Seabass" Zietz took down the best surfers in the world to qualify for next year's World Championship Tour. Seabass is among a bubbling underground movement of incredible surfers who have been scratching the surface for a few years, and this moment brings a fresh new face to the rotating circus that is the ASP. As the new cream rises to the surface, so too are new spices being added to the brew. Zietz will be dangerous at any right point waves like Lowers or J-Bay. Plus, his forceful approach to big backside barrels learned from fellow Kauai legends make him capable of upsetting any venue.
We haven't even crowned a new champion this year, and already, seismic groans are being felt for next year. But the question remains...who will win the 2012 ASP Crown? Slater? Parkinson? Fanning?