Kanoa Igarashi has been talking non stop. Interviews and signings and Quiksilver and us. Then there are the people stopping him on the streets. It’s pretty exhausting to be Kanoa the last few days in Japan. But he sure doesn’t show it. Smiling, engaging and chatting with everyone. Kanoa Igarashi is having his moment. And he finds himself in interesting situation: he’s a Japanese American who was raised in Huntington Beach, but has come to represent what has recently grown to include Japan as well as the entire Asian surf culture. At only 18, Kanoa has a lot of support, and that was most apparent tonight strolling the streets of Tokyo. Everyone from skaters to middle-aged moms stop Kanoa for a hello or a photo.
Tonight he is staying at the Ritz Carlton with his dad and little brother Keanu as a gift for his qualification. The view from his room on the 50-something’s floor is nauseatingly beautiful. Gazing out of it could consume an entire day. But it won’t because Kanoa is much too busy for that.
We’re trailing behind his every move now that he’s wrapped up sponsor obligations and already he’s impressed us with his charisma and style and intelligence. He is really damn smart. And his surfing has drastically evolved from grom-hood into a strong, powerful, well-rounded thing of beauty. And the best part of it all? Today he told us that Taj Burrow has reached out to him with regards to his first year on tour. And we couldn’t think of a greater person to take advice from, considering that we still stand by our proclamation that Taj Burrow is the World’s Greatest Professional Surfer of All Time.
Check back here with us for more from Japan with Kanoa Igarashi. It’s late and we’re straight back into it in the am. —Travis