Kanoa Igarashi

Japan JPN

Surfing

  • Olympic Medals
    1 S
  • First Olympic Games
    Tokyo 2020
  • Year of Birth
    1997
Olympic Results

Biography

Kanoa Igarashi

When it comes to Olympic silver medallist Kanoa Igarashi, one thing is certain: he was destined to surf.

Igarashi’s father, Tsutomu, was a surfer in Japan before he and Kanoa’s mom, Misa, moved to the USA.

But they didn’t leave surfing behind. In fact, they moved specifically to Huntington Beach, California – dubbed ‘Surf City’ – with the intention of getting their children heavily involved in the scene.

For three-year-old Kanoa, that meant hitting the waves with his father at 6am. And their commitment paid off, with Igarashi winning his first trophy at seven years old.

He has only gone from strength to strength ever since.

At 14, he was the youngest surfer ever to win the US National Championships for under-18s; going on to win the Governor’s Cup at the Surfing America Championships in the same year.

More recently, Igarashi won the World Surf League Championship title, before placing 3rd at the WSL Rip Curl Pro; prompting his eventual qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“I never dreamed of competing in the Olympics or getting a gold medal. I never thought it would be possible for surfing and for the first one to be in Japan? It felt like a higher power put this opportunity in front of me to make my family proud,” he told Magic Seaweed.

He certainly did that, dispatching all comers before finally meeting his match in the final to take silver behind Brazilian veteran Italo Ferreira.

Even though surfing is still very much on the rise, his medal means that Igarashi is a household name in Japan, with the nation full of ‘adoration for their star surfer’.

Olympic Results

More results
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Tokyo 2020

S
Men
Men Surfing