On an epic Finals Day at the Corona Bali Protected, Kanoa Igarashi won his first ever CT event. Riding the #77 model, he defeated Ace Buchan, Kelly Slater and Jeremy Flores in flawless Keramas waves and rocketed into the World Title conversation. Kanoa Igarashi became the first Japanese surfer to win an elite World Surf League’s Championship Tour event.
After earning 15.10 points in his final heat, beating Jeremy Flores by 0.47 points, he was thrilled with the outcome. With this win, Igarashi is placed No. 2 in the men’s Championship Tour rankings.
“It all makes sense,” Igarashi said. “All of the hard work you do makes sense after this. My first round was so terrible. I didn’t catch any waves and I was just thinking what is the point of all of the hard work you do … all of the time in the gym, all of the time alone and surfing alone and now it all makes sense. This means so much to me. I can’t even find words to describe it.”
His boost of confidence was perhaps best illustrated by his first wave in his Semifinal with Kelly. He went for a giant high-risk turn called a 'club sandwich' for reasons no one really understands. He didn't make the move, but the intent was there regardless.
"From the first round to today, I surfed the same, but then I feel like in the Final I peaked and I did everything right," Igarashi said. "Sharing the Final with Jeremy Flores was an honor and that Semifinal with Kelly was so good. Every heat gave me so much purpose to do my best and to now have my first CT win this early in my career means so much."
As this is Kanoa's fourth year on the CT and the fact he is both diligent and articulate, it is sometimes forgotten that he is just 21 years of age. In his time on the CT though he has been improving at both a steady, yet incredible, rate.
End of year finishes as World No. 20, World No. 17 and then World No. 10 last year show that his upward trajectory is nowhere near finished. His win today moves him up to second on the Jeep Leaderboard and he should now be considered a legitimate World Title threat for 2019 and beyond.
Amazing outcome, Igarashi! The team here at Sharpeye are incredibly stoked about your success.
SILVANA LIMA & FILIPE TOLEDO
Both came #5 place in the Quarterfinals. Each fought hard and offered a hard fight and exciting performance against their opposition (That Toledo and Slater matchup was one of the most highly anticipated heats of the season). We’re excited to see what comes next in the Margaret River Pro!