Kanoa Igarashi's Beyond the Lines returns for 2021
After a year off to recharge, Japanese superstar Kanoa Igarashi is back hungrier than ever in his pursuit of a maiden WSL Championship Tour world title. Let's go behind the scenes on Kanoa’s journey.
The first episode of the new season of Beyond the Lines starts in Kanoa Igarashi’s second home of Ericeira, Portugal. The water might be brisk, but the surf is consistent and the living is easy. Also, like his great mate and fellow multi-linguist Leonardo Fioravanti, Kanoa has owned an apartment in Portugal’s surfing mecca for a few years now.
Fine-tuning his game before heading to the season-opening event in Hawaii, we see Kanoa putting a fleet of new boards through their paces in pumping conditions at one of Europe’s finest pointbreaks, Coxos. He's also doing the gym and pool work he’ll need under his belt before things get serious on Oahu’s North Shore.
Final polish applied, Kanoa jets off across the Atlantic, stops over briefly in Los Angeles to catch up with family, then takes off to the islands, shadowed as always by friend and filmer Tanner Carney, who brings us this series.
In Hawaii we see Kanoa team up with new coach Tom Whitaker and, in the face of predicted huge swells, ready himself for the most famous event in surfing, the Billabong Pipeline Masters.
As competition returns in Australia this April, we’re excited to flash back to the end of one of the craziest years in recent memory, and even more excited to see what comes next. Hit play on the video at the top of the page to reminisce and get prepared for Kanoa’s 2021 assault on the surfing world. Keep scrolling down the page for more Beyond the Lines action from previous seasons. Enjoy!
2019, Episode 3
Follow along as Championship Tour sensation Kanoa Igarashi looks to three-peat at his hometown event, the US Open of Surfing
Play and practice
From Bali to Western Australia and then onto J-Bay, filmmaker Tanner Carney has sure been covering some ground pulling together Kanoa Igarashi's Beyond the Lines series. As you can imagine, the boys were somewhat relieved to finally make it back to home turf in Huntington Beach, California to work on the third episode, while Igarashi chased a historic third straight win at the US Open of Surfing.
While not a Championship Tour event, the US Open honour roll is long and prestigious and the most famous pier in surfing has seen some iconic performances in the heat of competition since its inception in 1959. Over the event's 60-year span, only two men have ever gone back-to-back and they're both HB locals – Brett Simpson and Igarashi.
Sadly for our man of the moment, he bowed out in round four and while gutted at his loss, he sought solace the only way a surfer knows – by going and getting barrelled with his buddies. After meeting up with board shaper Marcio Zouvi from Sharp Eye Surfboards, a bulked-up Igarashi took delivery of a new quiver of crafts and set off to the Surf Ranch in Leemore, California.
Surf Ranch was ideal place to test his new equipment, practise for the Freshwater Pro and, most importantly, "get a tan". Kelly Slater's wave pool was the perfect post-loss tonic and Igarashi leaves California with a head of steam, raring to take on surfing's scariest event, the Tahiti Pro. Competition is ready to get underway in the South Pacific, so hit play on the video above to catch up on what Igarashi's been doing and get psyched up for the remainder of the 2019 World Surf League Championship Tour season.
2019, Episode 2
Tail surfing's freshest contender as Kanoa looks to extend his hot streak at the Corona J-Bay Open in South Africa.
Last time we caught up with Kanoa Igarashi he was winning events in Bali and proving it was no fluke in Western Australia. A few weeks later, and with another strong showing to his name in Brazil, we're rejoining our favourite Japanese surfer on the other side of the Indian Ocean in South Africa, at the world's best point break, Jeffrey's Bay, for another instalment of Beyond the Lines.
After a fifth-place finish at Rio, Kanoa again made it to the finals day in the Rainbow Nation, and after another quarter finals finish he finds himself sitting at fifth in the world with more than half of the season under his belt.
With John John Florence (currently third) sadly injured and out for the year, there are only three surfers between Kanoa and the top of the table, with a fairytale maiden world title five events and a dream run away.
Kanoa isn't daring to dream just yet, he's only a kid, and as you'll see in Tanner Carney's latest edit above he's going to keep living young and carefree for as long as he can. From surfing to sandboarding to safaris, Kanoa and his crew go hard in the water and suck as much marrow as possible out of life back on dry land.
So, what are you waiting for? Hit play above and savour another fun look behind the scenes at a WSL Championship Tour event, with surfing's hottest young prospect playing the ultimate tour guide.
2019, Episode 1:
Ride shotgun with Kanoa Igarashi as he powers to his – and Japan's – first ever WSL Championship Tour victory in Bali, Indonesia.
Keeping up with Kanoa
Exactly this time last year Kanoa Igarashi surfed on Sharp Eye Surfboards for the first time in competition at the 2018 Corona Open J-Bay. Igarashi finished third in the contest, knocked out in the semi-finals by eventual winner Filipe Toledo, but commentators noticed a new edge to his surfing, a string of high scores en route to the business end of the event confirming suspicions.
After switching passports from the United States to Japan in February of that year, with an eye on Tokyo 2020, Kanoa found another gear and was ready to step up to the heights that had been forecast since his pre-teen phenom days. Despite bulking up and growing into his young frame, Kanoa kept his signature speed and, combined with his new boards, his turns went turbo. Much to the delight of his fans and, most importantly, the judges.
Ten months later, 21-year-old Igarashi was chaired up the black sand beach of Keramas, Bali on a traditional Indonesian throne, the winner of the Corona Bali Protected and new world number two. The kid from Huntington Beach never looked like being beaten at surfing's high-performance mecca and ran through his hero Kelly Slater in the semis before nudging French barrel maestro Jeremy Flores in a closely fought final.
To say Kanoa was riding high on emotions would be an understatement, and thankfully for us he had close friend Tanner Carney in tow to document his dream run to the podium from behind the scenes.
Carney's Between The Lines edit above is the debut release in a series he'll be doing with Igarashi this year. It follows Japan's first-ever Championship Tour surfer through his victorious lap of Bali and on down to Margaret River. If you've ever wondered what life is like on the WSL's Dream Tour, press play above and wonder no more. Candid and raw, this is Kanoa Igarashi Between The Lines.