We’re here looking for Kanoa Igarashi. Which is funny because he usually lives in Huntington Beach. And our HQ is in neighboring Newport. But Kanoa’s parents are from Japan and he spent a good portion of his life in Japan, actually starred in a reality show about his surfing when he was 11. Needless to say: he’s huge here. And since he recently qualified for the world tour, more or less by mistake. “I was just trying to get a good seed,” he told us earlier this week in HB. “And I ended up qualified.” Damn. But Kanoa is more than just an American of Japanese descent, he’s begun representing Asian cultures in surfing at the elite level. There have been a few greats i.e. Masatoshi Ohno, Shuji Kasuya and Takayuki Wakita to a name a few, but Kanoa was raised to do this. And now he’s ready. Early in fact.
And it’s early here too. We just landed and it’s 2 a.m. so we haven’t seen much more than the customs line and the ridiculous selection of strange fish at 7 and I Holdings (which is 7-11). We went with the tall Kirin instead. The toilet seats are all warm. Everything is clean. And our cab driver may need some cough medicine, but Japan is beautiful and chilly tonight. Can’t wait to see the sun. Because of the evening departure and late arrival, we haven’t seen daylight in over 24 hours. Really looking forward to that. I also heard Kelly Slater might be here. —Travis