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The Inertia

Kanoa Igarashi is undoubtedly one of surfing’s transcendent athletes. He may still be chasing his first world title and working his way into that tier of CT dominance occupied by guys like John John Florence (when he’s healthy) or Gabriel Medina, but outside of surfing, Igarashi’s international profile is about as big as they come. He’s no stranger to things like international press tours, he was the poster boy for the 2020 (2021) Summer Games in Tokyo, and the Igarashi family’s story is a compelling one.

Add throwing out the first pitch at a Major League Baseball game to Kanoa’s resumé as an ambassador for surfing. And he did it in front of his home crowd at Angel Stadium in Anaheim — a bit of an unofficial kickoff to the US Open of Surfing. Oh, and it was the first time Kanoa had ever even thrown a baseball, he says.

No pressure.

Now, there’s really only one rule when it comes to throwing out the first pitch at a Major League Baseball game: don’t embarrass yourself. Whatever you do, don’t forsake your good name like 50 Cent. Bouncing one to home plate is usually the thing people don’t want to do, so plenty of victims attempt to really burn one down the middle. No warm-ups, just toe the rubber, let ‘er rip, and see if they can put a respectable number up on the radar gun. Ironically, that approach is probably the best way to guarantee you embarrass yourself and end up on SportsCenter’s Not Top 10, hucking it into the stands, halfway to the visitor’s dugout, or failing to cover the 60 feet, six inches between the mound and home plate.

Kanoa got it across the plate with a nice and easy approach. Crisis averted.


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