The International Surfing Association (ISA) has formally approved Kanoa Igarashi’s request to represent the nation of Japan at future ISA World Championships and potentially the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Igarashi previously represented USA in ISA World Championships and the WSL Championship Tour, but due to his possession of dual citizenship with USA and Japan, he is eligible to change nations.
In accordance with the ISA Rules and the Olympic Charter which govern the eligibility of athletes at the world and Olympic level for surfing, the ISA is required to validate and approve an athlete’s nationality through a formal review process.
Effective immediately, Igarashi will be eligible to represent Japan and will be able to surf on Team Japan through the qualification process for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Igarashi last represented USA at the 2014 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship, which meets the minimum eligibility requirement of 18 months between changing nations.
ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, said:
“The ISA is honored to approve Kanoa Igarashi’s request to surf for his native country of Japan moving forward in his career. Kanoa blossomed as a junior surfer, competing in three editions of the ISA World Junior Surfing Championship on his path to becoming the world-class talent that he is today.
“Kanoa will be a very strong addition to Team Japan and surely a strong favorite to represent the host country when Surfing make its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games. I think it is safe to say there are more medals on the horizon for Team Japan with the incorporation of Kanoa’s skill, drive, and leadership.”
The International Surfing Association (ISA), founded in 1964, is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the World Governing Authority for Surfing. The ISA governs and defines Surfing as Shortboard, Longboard & Bodyboarding, StandUp Paddle (SUP) Racing and Surfing, Bodysurfing, Wakesurfing, and all other wave riding activities on any type of waves, and on flat water using wave riding equipment. The ISA crowned its first Men’s and Women’s World Champions in 1964. It crowned the first Big Wave World Champion in 1965; World Junior Champion in 1980; World Kneeboard Champions in 1982; World Longboard Surfing and World Bodyboard Champions in 1988; World Tandem Surfing Champions in 2006; World Masters Champions in 2007; and World StandUp Paddle (SUP, both surfing and racing) and Paddleboard Champions in 2012.
ISA membership includes the surfing National Governing Bodies of 104 countries on five continents. Its headquarters are located in La Jolla, California. It is presided over by Fernando Aguerre (Argentina), first elected President in 1994 in Rio de Janeiro. The ISA’s four Vice-Presidents are Karín Sierralta (PER), Kirsty Coventry (ZIM), Casper Steinfath (DEN) and Barbara Kendall (NZL).