People on social media can’t get enough of silver medalist Japanese surfer Kanoa Igarashi

People on social media can’t get enough of silver medalist Japanese surfer Kanoa Igarashi

July 30, 2021
Surfer Kanoa Igarashi won a silver medal at the semi-finals for Japan on Tuesday, prompting many social media users to “simp” over the Olympian throughout this week. 
What happened: On Tuesday, Igarashi, 23, competed in the men’s surfing event at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach in Chiba Prefecture, according to the Japan Times
  • Igarashi was up against Brazilian Gabriel Medina who is a double world champion and has won 16 times on the WSL Championship Tour. 
  • However, Igarashi was able to get ahead of Medina to receive a total score of 17.00 while Medina received a score of 16.76, putting Igarashi at second and Medina at fourth.
  • Igarashi tweeted “Cry, cry. I’m happy!” in Portuguese, bringing Brazilian critics to his Twitter.
  • He soon apologized on Twitter saying, in Portuguese, “I always have the utmost respect for other competitors, but I don’t have the patience for people who like to talk bad about something I don’t have control over. I did my best and that’s it,” according to Beach Grit
  • After Igarashi’s event, many social media users took to TikTok and Twitter to show their appreciation for the surfer. 
Who he is: Igarashi is a Japanese American from Huntington Beach, Calif., born to Japanese immigrants, according to an interview done by the Red Bulletin.
  • He first became interested in surfing when he saw a yellow surfboard in a shop during a family vacation to Hawaii. 
  • “The board was $720–a lot of money for a family that was barely getting by on a Hawaiian vacation,” he says during his interview, “I had no idea how much it cost, but I loved yellow at the time.” 
  • While he remembers that his parents had said no, they went back the next day to buy the surfboard for the future Olympian. 
  • Igarashi recalls what it was like to grow up as a Japanese American in Southern California, “Growing up in Huntington, I always stood out, because I was Japanese–I was different… But surfing was the thing that put that racism aside and brought my world together.” 
  • In 2019, Igarashi announced that he was going to surf for Japan instead of the U.S. at the 2020 Olympics, which brought some controversy on whether he was trying to take a shortcut or not, the Red Bulletin reported. 
  • However, by the end of the year, it was clear that his ranking would have made him qualified for the U.S. team. 
Reactions to Igarashi: Social media reacted to Igarashi’s looks during his surfing event, with many people “simping” over the Japanese American Olympian. 
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Featured Image via Kanoa Igarashi and @jennamorford
      Bianca Gray

      Bianca Gray is a contributor at NextShark




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