Stab Magazine | Kanoa Igarashi Blasts WSL Rule Blunder

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Kanoa Igarashi Blasts WSL Rule Blunder

“I’m sure I wouldn’t have gotten a resurf.”

// Sep 15, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

After dismantling three-time world champion Mick Fanning in Hurley Lowers Pro, Kanoa Igarashi learned that his win was actually a tie. Or maybe not a tie per se, but an illegitimate victory due to a judging/rules discrepancy. As a result, Kanoa was forced into a “resurf” against Mick, 8AM the following morning. 

And he did it. And he won. Again.

I caught up with Kanoa shortly after his (second) victory over Mick, to hear his feelings on the matter.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/QsYpx10nJpM

Stab: Kanoa, good job man! (awkwardly misses handshake/high-five maneuver.)
Kanoa: Thanks!

We’re dying to know how you feel about the whole resurf situation…
Yeah, obviously winning twice is better than winning just one time, but I would have been pretty pissed if I lost that second one. I was so stoked to win my heat yesterday, especially against one of my favorite surfers, so I came in and I was getting ready to do the heat interview, and they kinda just pulled me aside, so I was like.. “What’s going on? Where’s my heat interview? I want that thing,” [laughs].

No one really knew what was going on, and in my mind I was already in round four, so I was about to start getting ready for that heat because it was coming up soon, and then they told me there’s gonna be a resurf.

I didn’t understand it, so they took me upstairs and showed me the footage. After seeing that, I was still pretty bummed about it.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/v96yju4SKX4

So you didn’t feel you made enough of an effort to catch that wave to constitute the (belated) use of the new rule?
In my head I didn’t want the wave, but whatever, the point is they had 45 seconds between the incident and my first wave where they could have made the call. In my mind, they need to make the call then and stick with it. Because if they wanna give him priority, fine, but then I’m gonna surf my heat differently.

As it was, the announcer said no priority, so I was like, “Ok sweet, it’s clean.” Mick didn’t like the call, but he accepted that nothing was gonna happen, so we surfed our heat under that assumption. But I guess I just surfed a 28-minute heat… losing. Like there was literally no chance of me winning, so I surfed a 28-minute heat as a waste of time.

Whereas, if Mick would have won, it’s not like he would have contended the call, and you wouldn’t have gotten the resurf.
Exactly, and if it had been the other way around, and I had gone up there to protest, I’m sure I wouldn’t have gotten a resurf. So I was kinda bummed about that… how it all played out. It was such a stoked moment for me, but then it just got shut down.

Screen Shot 2017 09 14 at 12.15.38 PM

Kanoa calls this turn the Mick Slayer. Photo: WSL/Rowland

And then today, I found it interesting how you got the inside on Mick, again, leading to the best wave of the heat… again. Were you guys fighting for the inside or did Mick just let you have it?
He’s not just gonna hand it to you on a platter. Obviously there’s jockeying and strategy, there’s timing, there are so many things involved. My strategy was to get the inside, and he couldn’t get it, so that’s how it went.

Do you feel like you’ve been validated by winning this heat again?
They say that to beat a world champion, you gotta really smoke them, because they’re just so gnarly that you really have to surf out of your skin to beat them. I guess this time instead of it being in the same heat, I had to do it twice. 

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