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Interview with Kanoa Igarashi - Pro Surfing Prodigy


As of today, Kanoa Igarashi is a normal 15 year-old kid who does is homework and likes hanging out with friends. The only difference is that his homework is working on board placement and throwing more spray. His friends? Try the boys at the next WCT event and maybe Kelly Slater at the Quicksilver house.

So let’s start out with what’s happening for Kanoa Igarashi and why he just might be the next generation’s great American contender for the world title. He has already broken the NSSA’s winning record (once owned by Tom Curren). He took 1st place at the U.S. Under 18 Championships, 2nd at the U.S. Open Pro Jr., and 2nd at the King Of The Groms Global Championships. He was recently featured on Prodigies, a show on the THNKR channel, one of YouTube's 100 original channels.

Some folks in the media have called you the next Kelly Slater How do you feel about that? What does that mean? Is that possible?

It’s an honor to even come close to that point and to be compared to my favorite surfer. He’s the best surfer of all time. I am setting my sites on him and try to get as close as I can to him.

Do you see it some kind of duty to live up to those expectations?

Yeah definitely. That’s my goal in life to become the world surfing champion. There’s not a day I have not thought about it. I am kind of one track minded. I build myself towards it.

In the course of a day, how often do you think about surfing?

I think of surfing all day. That’s all I think about. Everything I do is geared towards it and it’s my passion I guess. In school, I just did a huge essay I had to do about something that changed my life. I focused on my result at the US Open where I got second. And I got a 100% on the essay. I really can’t think about anything else but surfing.

Have you gotten a chance to travel and surf with Kelly?

I got a couple opportunities to surf with Kelly. At the Rip Curl WCT in San Francisco, I stayed at the Quicksilver house with him. There was also a junior event to that. It was the Rip Curl Grom Search and I got first in that one. It was cool to see him win his event and I won my event, the more junior part of it.

Does he offer any advice?

Kind of, not really but, just watching him and surfing with him and seeing what makes him tick. It’s cool to see all that and be part of it.

Are you still working with Mike Parsons? What kind of help does he offer as a coach?

Not a full time coach. Just part time here and there. He helps me at a few events, but for me I am my own coach. I am really hard on myself. I am a perfectionist. That’s helps me improve a lot When I dig a rail when I’m surfing, I yell at myself in my head to make sure it never happens again.

I’m sure you’ve watched hours of video of you surfing. What do you see as your greatest strength and weakness as a surfer?

I definitely see it’s my physical power. I have been working on my physical technique and my surfboards to throw more spray and place the board in the right spot on the wave with my body weight. I have been working on building strength, muscle, and body weight. I don’t how to explain it, but I need more power. I think it will come in time if I’m patient.

Read Part 2 of my interview with Kanoa Igarashi.

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