Surfer Kanoa Igarashi wins Vans U.S. Open for second straight year

Kyodo

2020 Tokyo Olympics hopeful Kanoa Igarashi won the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing on Sunday, claiming the World Surf League Qualifying Series event for the second straight year.

Igarashi posted runs of 7.60 and 8.17 to beat American Griffin Colapinto by 0.77 point in the final heat. The Huntington Beach native earned 10,000 points toward the elite Championship Tour for claiming the highest-ranked event of the series.

“This is a day I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” said Igarashi, whose hometown win last year helped him rack up 23,030 points and finish at a career-high third in the QS rankings.

“I’ll aim for a gold medal (at the World Games) and try my best to qualify for the Olympics,” he said.

Igarashi, who possesses both Japanese and U.S. citizenship and has previously competed in American colors, recently opted to represent Japan in world and Olympic-level events.

The 20-year-old, whose parents moved to California before he was born, will make his debut for Japan at the Sept. 15-22 World Surfing Games taking place in Tahara, Aichi Prefecture.