VIRGINIA BEACH (WAVY) – It’s pretty good to be Kanoa Igarashi these days. At 19 years old, Igarashi already owns a house, travels the world to surf, is ranked among the top 30 surfers in the world, and has pocketed over $500,000 in career earnings.
“I can’t ask for much more,” said Igarashi, who will compete in this weekend’s Van’s Pro Series at the East Coast Surfing Championships on the oceanfront. “Everyone says it’s such a good life, and it really is. Truly. I get to do what I love, and I get to get paid for what I love doing.”
He certainly got paid last week, when he won $100,000 for a first place finish at the U.S. Open of Surfing in his hometown of Huntington Beach, California. “The points were amazing, the 100K was amazing, but just doing it in front my friends and family, that’s where I grew up and where I learned surfing.”
From Figi to Europe and Australia, Igarashi has conquered waves pretty much everywhere on the map, but the waves at Virginia Beach helped catapult him to the Championship Tour, where he’s won four times and is ranked 28th in the world. “I remember Virginia Beach was one of those places I came when I was really young. I came with my dad, and I had success from the beginning,” said Igarashi, who won the Van’s Pro title at the oceanfront two years ago.
A friend a a protege of the great Kelly Slater, Igarashi has very rapidly made a name for himself on the world stage. “My goal is to be a world champion one day,” he said. “I’ll keep going until I reach that goal, for sure.”