The face of a non-loser. Photo: Quiksilver
I'm not superstitious… buuuut I'm a little stitious.
Michael Scott said that, and I totally see where he's coming from. It doesn't make sense, logically, that we'd be able to alter reality by speaking certain idioms or performing certain rituals, but I still refuse to take that $2 bill out of my wallet. I'm currently facing this exact conundrum, with Kanoa Igarashi as the potential victim. I write this post with bated breath, fearing that its very existence could destroy his current streak. But it's time we talk about how Kanoa can't lose.
At this moment, Kanoa Igarashi is the second-highest ranked rookie on Tour, sitting at a precarious 21st place on the overall rankings. This is impressive for an 18-year-old, but not noteworthy in and of itself. What is amazing about his season, however, is the fact that Kanoa has not lost before the third round. Not once, not never. Seven events in (including Teahupo'o) and the little bugger just won't go down. Like a Chinese restaurant employee, Kanoa doesn't give a damn about the 25th and works his way straight through it.
As of this moment, there are only four surfers on tour that have surfed every event and avoided a last place result. Their names are John John Florence, Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira, and Kanoa Igarashi. The two best surfers in the world, a Brazilian contest machine, and a teenage rookie from Huntington Beach.
I'm far too lazy to scour the last ten seasons' data, find all the rookies, and check their results throughout the entirety of the year, but I would be amazed if any of them survived the entire year without taking a 25th (or 33rd). John John and Gabriel both had a 25th in their rookie season, and they're the best duo to join the tour in ages. Italo also suffered a last-place finish during his 2015 rookie assault.
Kanoa's current results read 9, 13, 13, 13, 13, 13, 13, which some would consider mediocre. But those people don't understand how difficult it is to master the diverse waves on the CT. The fact that he's won a heat at every stop is a testament to the hard work and dedication put in by the 18-year-old.
I pray Kanoa doesn't falter come September. Lowers is basically a home event for Kanoa, and it would be sad to lose the streak on his native turf. If he manages to get through Lowers and the rest of the season without a 25th, that would be a true achievement. However, I’d love to see him throw a few quarterfinals in his scoreline, because at the moment he's sitting right on the cutline. Imaging falling off tour without a single last-place finish; it would be devastating!
Also, we want to congratualate Alex Ribeiro for breaking the opposite type of streak — the one where you lose first round in every event. Ricky Bassnett weeps. –Michael Ciaramella