Now, I did not happen to catch current World Surf League number one and Olympic silver medalist Kanoa Igarashi’s heat against the much-loved Mick Fanning but was surprised when I had learned of his loss. Igarashi has won many of his critics over, during this first portion of professional surfing’s calendar, with an elevated style and surgical beheading of foes.
Coming into Bells, the Japanese surfer by way of Huntington Beach and Portugal, seemed to be building the proverbial “house,” as it were, but things may have come straight undone at Bells.
After completing a lightly above average ride, Igarashi violently punched his own face in an extreme act of celebration. He went on to lose the heat, and maybe his position in the standings if Filipe Toledo continues his run of being able to surf small waves very well, but the reverberations from “The Punch” are continuing to, well, reverberate.
Important culture watchdogs have called the move “triggering” and declare that “it sends the wrong message” especially in this day and age when stopping Asian hate is paramount.
Were you disturbed? Saddened? Will Igarashi’s personal brand suffer if he is, in fact, marked as “anti-Asian”?
David Lee and I discussed on today’s podcast along with the implosion we are currently witnessing inside the World Surf League itself. Unprecedented days.