By Jake Howard
It’s always disconcerting when a kid you watched come up achieves something notable. It makes you feel old. Six or seven years ago the smallest little Japanese kid was ripping the inside runners at Uppers. He was so small, but right away it was obvious the technique and fundamentals of good surfing were well-engrained. He had that effervescent “it” factor that’s so illusive. Skip ahead a few grades, and 14-year-old Kanoa Igarashi, who’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from Japan, is now the youngest ever Under 18 Boys National Champion — the National Scholastic Surfing Association will crown their champion this week, maybe he’ll win that too. This is the kid in his words.