“I feel like Italo thought he was going to walk through that heat. He probably thought I was an easy draw but I’m giving it the best I can. I’m fighting for money, for my career, for my work. I’m not just going to let these guys take my money, and take my job.” – Keanu Asing, Billabong Pro Tahiti, 2016.
Are these not the words of a warrior? Of a man grabbing his destiny by the throat and looking it straight in the eye? How did I miss this?
This pint-sized Hawaiian debuted on the championship tour in 2015 and in some ways he is still learning how to consistently ply his skill and resolve on the biggest stage. But he didn’t fluke his way onto the world championship tour, he earned it fair and square. He earned it the old school Hawaiian way, rolling up his sleeves and getting his hands dirty. It was something he dreamed about for years and maybe during the last event in Tahiti it dawned on him; it could all slip through his fingers. So he knuckled down and posted his best result of the year, losing to King Kelly. And there is no shame in that.
Just like Kelly, perhaps Keanu’s year starts now. He’s in 32nd place with four events to go. One of those events is right in his backyard at Pipeline.
After I read his quote, I was compelled to dig a little more. The words he spoke didn’t match the persona I had formed in my head and I was intrigued.
Here are three things I’ve learned about Keanu Asing; I think these same three things are the reason he made the WCT in the first place, as well as the same reasons he will have a long and successful career.
1. He Comes From a Strong family.
He has a great support base with strong pedigree and the support of the wider Hawaiian community.
2. He Appreciates the Opportunity.
The chance is not lost on this guy. He knows what it means to have it and he knows what he needs to do to keep it.
3. He Has Determination.
Those were fighting words and he is not giving this up easy. And as a man of faith, he knows a thing or two about digging deep.
I don’t know Keanu personally, but I wish I did. I’d love to know more about his life and his journey. But for now I’m expectantly waiting for the next event to start at Trestles. Keanu’s gloves are off and his next round starts in a few short days.