Kanoa Igarashi is of Japanese descent but learned to surf and grew up in California. His surfing career is one of the most successful in pro surfing history, having made the Championship Tour at 18 and the top10 at 20 years of age.
This past January Igarashi could have been anywhere in the world but he chose to go to the place where he feels more at home than anywhere else on the planet, Portugal.
Since he was 18 years old, this super talented surfer has been spending more and more time on the Portuguese coast. It all started when he came to compete at the EDP Cascais Pro, a WSL qualifying series event, where he lost early but “felt a really positive energy”. He came back a month later to compete at the World Junior Championship where he finished 9th and met some of the local pro surfers, becoming close from really fast. “In two weeks they became some of my closest friends and I started coming over more.” Quickly Igarashi fell in love with the country. “ What makes Portugal so special to me is the beauty in everything. It’s a dream, going surfing in the morning and having lunch in Cascais or Lisbon, a city so big with so many interesting things to do and it’s so close to the beach. It’s a huge advantage that Lisbon has, it’s almost a city in front of the beach, and it’s so close. The food is amazing; the people are so welcoming, so happy, I think the quality of life is really good. I travel all year, I really know these things, when a place is good or bad, there is something special here, whenever I leave Portugal I leave with more energy.”
Since his first trip, Kanoa has spent over a year in Portugal, learned to speak the language fluently, acquired a beachfront house in Ericeira and is on the market for a second one in Cascais. He surfs all over the country but has as favorite surf spots some of the most well known breaks like Supertubos, in Peniche, and Coxos, in Ericeira. “Being as a pro surfer I love waves that have the “push and the punch”. I love Supertubos, I love the power of it, it’s a short wave, but really aggressive. Lot’s of open area. I like Santa Cruz as well, lot’s of fun beach breaks. I also love surfing in Guincho, the sand banks are always changing, sometimes it’s a left, sometimes it’s a right, outside or inside, a really fun spot.”