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.