Once Child Surfing Prodigy, Local Surfer, Now 18, Qualifies for World Surf League’s Championship Tour

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Kanoa Igarashi, 18, has qualified for the World Surf League’s championship tour.

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It's a dream at least 12 years in the making.

Once a child surfing prodigy, a Huntington Beach surfer is now on his way to possibly becoming a world champion.

KTLA first met Kanoa Igarashi when he was just 6 years old. At the time, the already gifted surfer had only participated in the water sport for about three years.

In that televised interview, he spoke of of being one of the youngest surfers in the world, and of practicing out on the water before going to elementary school for the day. As he spoke of his passion, Igarashi already knew that someday he wanted to be a world champion.

Fast forward 12 years. Igarashi, now 18, is creeping closer to that dream after qualifying for the World Surf League Championship Tour.

"I've dedicated my whole life to this, and just to be there now and see all the hard work paying off ... I feel really proud of myself," he told KTLA in a recent interview.

Igarashi continues to show he's mature beyond his years, qualifying for surfing's elite Dream Tour, and doing so at such a young age.

"It's just crazy to think I'm on tour with Kelly Slater. He's 44 years old now. I'm 18," he said. "To put things into perspective, he won his first world title ... the year I was born."

The accomplished surfer is also meeting his goals out of the water, including receiving his GED when he was just 16. He hopes to one day take college architecture classes when he's not traveling the world to compete.

And if those achievements are not impressive enough, the young man also supports his entire family.

"I'm really happy I can be able to support them ... without them, I wouldn't be here right now," he said of his mother, father and younger brother.

At the same spot in Huntington Beach where he was first spoke of his dream at the age of 6, Igarashi re-watched the interview, which aired on the KTLA 5 Morning News Show, and remarked on his growth and accomplishments.

"The first thing that comes into my head is the fact that in this interview, I said, 'My goal is to be a world champion.' And what I think is really cool is that hasn't changed," he said.

Igarashi continued his preparations for the world tour, and is on a strict regimen of surfing and training. He said that even if the championship doesn't happen this year, he's committed to making that dream come true.

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