di Erika Scafuro
Maybe the parents of Kanoa Igarashi, silver medalist at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games representing Japan, ever imagined their son’s victory when they were determined to make him a pro surfer.
Kanoa’s parents moved from Japan to California before his birth, the dream of his father Tsutomu “Tom”, a lover of surfing, was to give his son the best chances to become a pro surfer. So they have done everything for Kanoa who, when at the age of three, was already riding the best waves in Huntington Beach and he grows quickly as a surfer.
Today Igarashi is 23, but he has already much to tell as a professional athlete since he starts competing at pro contests when he is 15.
Igarashi boasts two victories of WSL Qualifying Series in 2015 and 2016. In 2016 he joined the WSL Men’s Championship Tour, being the first Japanese pro surfer, achieving a very respectable 20th ranking.
The dream becomes even bigger when in 2017 he is crowned champion at the Vans US Open of Surfing at his home break in Huntington Beach. Then in 2019 he won the 2019 event Corona Bali.
Although Igarashi has dual citizenship, he choose to represent Japan at the Tokyo Olympic Games, a way to honor his Japanese roots. Despite he grew up in California, he had always a deep connection with his roots in Japan, a country where he is considered a real celebrity.
Who knows how much emotion Kanoa’s family must have felt seeing his son realize the dream of becoming a pro surfer, but especially to see him on the podium of the first Olympics, representing surfing and his country, holding the silver medal. Not to mention that Kanoa reached second place by riding the Japanese wave of Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach in Chiba, the first surfed by his father Tom when he was young.
2021 is such a perfect year for Kanoa’s career, who WSL Championship Tour at eight rank. He is a top ranked pro surfer who dedicates his life to surfing has realized not only the dream of his father, but that of all those who love this sport.