Igarashi (pictured) celebrating?
Igarashi (pictured) celebrating?

Former champion Kanoa Igarashi suffers shock defeat at world’s most popular surf contest, babbles incoherently due emotional devastation afterward: “It was kind of a loss-loss situation for me, to be honest.”

Many tears in Surf City.

Kanoa Igarashi, Olympic silver medalist and the face of competitive professional surfing, suffered a shock defeat at yesterday’s US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, California. A “monster” hurricane swell had whipped up the brine up to 6 – 8 ft (Surflines) as fans nervously chewed fingernails, fiddled with worry beads.

Igarashi, currently number six in the world and just outside the Lower Trestles exciting “Final’s Day” draw, fell to Cole Houshmand and Tristan Guilbaud only mustering a combined score of 10.36.

“I don’t know, my head just wasn’t in this contest,” Igarashi told The Los Angeles Times afterward. “We have a really big event coming up next week, so for me, it was kind of hard to lock in this event. I just surfed a pretty bad heat, honestly. The waves were really hard today. I wish I would have stayed in, because the next few days will be good, but it is what it is. It was a tricky one. If I had made the finals here, I wouldn’t have been able to surf in it anyway. It was kind of a loss-loss situation for me, to be honest.”

The journalist, Matt Szabo, likely scratched his head at what “loss-loss situation” could possibly mean though must have chalked the incoherent babbling up to devastation.

The “really big event coming up next week” is, of course, the OuterKnown Tahiti Pro presented by Landfills.

While Igarashi was very sad not to win the “most popular surf contest in the world,” World Surf League announcers were, certainly, lightly relieved at not having to parse the one-time Huntington Beach local’s true “hometown.” As you know, the 24-year-old was raised in Surf City though laid claim to Japanese heritage ahead of the Olympics and now maybe lives in Portugal or some such.


In other utterly surprising news, Kolohe Andino also loss-loss’d.

Many tears.

Open Thread: Comment Live, Day Five US Open of Surfing as hurricane swell lashes Huntington Beach!

Julian Wilson (pictured) sad.
Julian Wilson (pictured) sad.

Thoroughly heartbroken surf fans openly sob, without embarrassment, on city streets as relic of surfing’s glory days Julian Wilson fails to advance at world’s most popular surf contest!

Bummer days are here to stay.

A mere hour ago, fans of competitive professional surfing around the globe thrilled at the possible return of our glory days. Julian Wilson, one-time golden boy, the “Conquerer from Coolum,” was set to paddle out at the world’s most popular surf contest, currently underway in Huntington Beach, California, and usher in a new era of hope and prosperity.

Our heroes once surfed the “Dream Tour” and we thrilled at their exploits.

They were once sponsored by august brands like Quiksilver, Billabong, RVCA and we wore their clothing.


The dream tour has died and we are left with a handful of scrappy Brazilians attempting to punch their ticket to Lower Trestles.

Lower Trestles.

Quiksilver, Billabong, RVCA are all one brand that will soon belong to notoriously stingy Vans. The company making heaps of money but loves, more than anything, not paying market value for extreme sport athletes who toil in the action salt mines.

And, thus, Wilson paddled out with the weight of time’s past, a possible new age of Aquarius and was thusly defeated by Ryan Callinan and Taichi Wakita in waves neither you nor I would surf unless we were going to get grounded for refusing.

Taichi Wakita.

It’s over. All over.


Also, as a child, what is the longest you were ever grounded?

Two weeks?

One month?

On paper, I think I was grounded for the back half of my entire high school campaign.

Anti-anti depressive.

Wilson (far left) ready.
Wilson (far left) ready.

Vaguely depressed surf fans thrill at return of one-time golden boy Julian Wilson to competitive professional surfing at the penultimate level!

Giving the people what they need!

These have been hard days for fans of competitive professional surfing. Rough hours punctuated by vaguely depressing minutes. The World Surf League, home to the aforementioned CPS (competitive professional surfing), thrilled all by recently announcing robust growth across all platforms. Engagement though the roof. Brand partners bashing down the door to get inside.

That windfall was used to slash the upcoming Quiksilver Pro France and place many more Challenger Series and lesser point’d events on “tentative.”

Well, one-time golden boy Julian Wilson, hearing those tear drops, has decided to give the people what they want and return to the singlet.

Can you believe?

He will be surfing in just thirty minutes.

Watch here and let’s discuss his performance afterward, ok?


Once Iconic surf brands Quiksilver, Billabong and RCVA rumoured to’ve been offered in packaged sale to multi-billion dollar shoe company Vans, “At least now they could justify having a surf team!”

"With a projected turnover of over three-bill from its pretty little canvas shoes and branded trinkets in 2023, Vans has enough cash to buy ‘em all a few times over."

Hot little rumour going around, pretty close source etc, is that Billabong, Quiksilver and RVCA have been offered to the multi-billion dollar shoe company Vans in what we’re told is an attractively priced package.

With a projected turnover of over three-bill from its pretty little canvas shoes and branded trinkets in 2023, Vans has enough cash to buy ‘em all a few times over, as well as throw in a million-dollar bonus here and there to get the deal over the line.

Quiksilver, Billabong and RVCA all operate under the umbrella Boardriders Inc, majority owned by Oaktree Capital, an American global asset management firm.

Of course, Vans, which was founded by the late, great Pauly Van Doren in 1966 with his little bro James and their pals Gordon, Ryan Emmert and Serge D’Elia, ain’t much diff, ownership wise.

It was bought in 2004 by VF Corporation, a behemoth in rude fiscal health that owns fifty percent of the US backpack market via its brands North Face, Timberland, Eastpak and JanSport.

The sale is neither here nor there, I suppose, giant corpos tossing their assets around, but ain’t it wild that in the span of twenty years, the rocks upon which modern surf culture was founded, in Billabong and Quiksilver’s case, have become little more than a logo with a bit of residual goodwill.

RVCA is an interesting one, its co-founder Pat Tenore, one of the canniest in the biz, turned the surf brand into a pivotal player in MMA, then sold out for thirty-seven mill, having bought out the other founder, Conan Hayes, a well-known man in election circles, for seven and a half mill in 2011.