Sponsors: Quiksilver, Channel Islands Surf Boards, Oakley, Da Kine, Nixon
Noa Mizuno has taken the NSSA Hawaii Juniors division by storm. When this Punahou freshman isn’t getting drained at Pipe, he is standing tall atop the podium. With wins on the Big Island, Maui and Kauai, Noa has proven he is no “one trick pony.” A contender in all conditions, Noa’s passport could easily be mistaken for a veteran’s on the World Qualifying Series. This 15-year-old super grom has already surfed the likes of Tahiti, Fiji, Bali, Japan, Mexico, France, California, New York and Singapore.
On Black Friday, while you were weaving through a horde of hungry consumers looking to score the new Elmo doll and a pair of fuzzy pajamas, Noa was weaving through a horde of the most accomplished surfers in the world looking to score some of the gnarliest waves Banzai Pipeline has to offer. This grom charges!
But this talented goofy footer isn’t just a surf-crazed competitor; Noa is a fun loving jokester and a passionate fisherman. Between the surf contests, travel trips and fishing excursions, Freesurf got a chance to catch up with the young shralper.
What is your first memory of surfing?
I was three or four and my dad took me to Waikiki for the Rabbit Kekai contest. I think it was my first contest. I remember going through my first couple of heats, it felt like I was catching 8 footers!
Favorite surf trip?
I really enjoyed myself surfing Teahupo’o in Tahiti last spring. It was probably the best trip of my life! Caught a couple really good waves. The guys are super cool over there. When someone paddles out, it doesn’t matter who you are, they shake your hand. They’ll shake the hand of everybody in the lineup. It doesn’t matter if there’s 100 guys in the water, they’ll still go out and shake everyone’s hand. Surfing there was my favorite thing of all time.
What is your go-to maneuver?
I don’t want to be a one trick pony. I want to be an all around type of guy. Someone who can do airs, get barreled, good at front side/backside, hacks and carves. I just want to be one of those all around guys, like the world tour guys, like Andy (Irons). Andy was really good. Same with Kelly (Slater), Parko and Julian (Wilson). Those guys are well rounded and they’re known for everything. That’s what I try to base my surfing around. I got to keep my mind open and do everything.
Who are your favorite surfers and why?
This season I’ve been watching Seabass a lot. He’s been really energetic and throwing huge airs and huge carves. He’s really fun to watch. And Mason Ho, he’s one of the most exciting surfers to watch. And the last guy I saw at Backdoor was Dane (Reynolds). He got super barreled, came out and did a huge air. I mean everyone’s ripping!
Do you have any friendly rivalries?
Seth Moniz, Kaulana Apo and Imai Devault. That’s been the rivalry since day one. That’s the pack. They are my rivals, but they’re my best friends too. We hang out a lot and I’ll call them all up for free surfs. They are all at such a high level. I want to surf with them because they push me. We’ll get into paddle battles, and there’s moments… but we’re all just having fun.
But when we’re in a contest something has to click. Seth, Kaulana, Imai and I have been together in a couple different finals before. But we’re not really thinking about friends, you have to think about yourself. It’s kind of a bummer when you have to paddle battle and snake your friends.
Have you snaked one of your buddies in a contest before?
Imai. It was the final at the Arnette Cashpot at Bowls. Seth won the final, and Kaulana was in it too. I snaked Imai on the only good wave. It was the only wave he could go on because it was really inconsistent that day. He was so pissed at me, I can’t even explain how pissed he was. And he was staying with me too. We didn’t talk. I had to say sorry. Next time I’m just going to wait outside and get my own wave. I’m not going to take anyone else’s wave.
Who is your surf celebrity crush?
I had a crush on Kelia Moniz when I was younger. All the Moniz boys used to give me crap. I think she’s still my crush, but she’s pretty much my sister. The boys don’t roust me for it any more.
What are your goals?
For now I’m working on getting exposure and getting myself out there. I’d like to be the number one Hawaii seed going into Nationals and eventually win a National Title. And I know everyone who surfs wants to be on the world tour, but for me, I just want to be a good role model and get the younger kids psyched. Surfing is all about having fun. Got to keep having fun and keep surfing.
Noa Mizuno: France. A video edit by Orion Owens.
1st at NSSA Banyans Open Juniors & Explorer Juniors, Big Island, 2013