First and foremost, I want to congratulate my good friend Keanu Asing for achieving his dream and qualifying for the 2015 World Surf League (formerly the ASP World Tour), there’s not a more deserving or well-respected young man in the sport of surfing today.
Secondly, this is not some super technical training blog about how the team here at NAKOA got Keanu in to peak physical condition over the last 18 months (those will be coming later!). This is about a young athlete with drive and maturity beyond his years who utilized an incredible support system to accomplish his goal years ahead of schedule. With the help of his family, management team, sponsors, coach and training staff Keanu defied the odds and made it on Tour at the ripe age of 21 years old, an accomplishment usually reserved for people named Kelly or John John.
Surfing can easily be viewed as the ultimate individual sport, but if you look around the professional ranks today it’s easy to see the most successful individuals have a TEAM of people in their corner (look no further than Gabriel Medina’s entourage taking over the beach at Pipe during his crowning heat). With contest-winning prize money at an all time high and massive pressure from sponsors to consistently “get results” these athletes must attack competition season with the focus and effort of an NFL Quarterback. Previously training in the sport was long viewed as only a necessity when recovering from injury. Then about a decade ago Mick Fanning severely tore his hamstring, was forced into a stringent rehabilitation program that lead to intense performance training and clean eating. Now he is viewed as a trailblazer in professional surfing for demonstrating the benefits of training throughout the year to maximize his abilities in the waves, and the results speak for themselves. This is a major paradigm shift from the traditional surfing culture; to put it simply the modern day successful pro has replaced the kegs and pizza with organic food and a foam roller. Following this path to success takes the right kind of attitude and goal-oriented mindset; Keanu has this in spades. And as usual, it all starts with family.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the parents Tommy and Paulanne, and it is immediately obvious he is blessed with dad’s powerful build and mom’s good looks. But beyond hitting this genetic lottery, its quite apparent Anu was raised in a positive, loving environment that has cultivated a hard working mentality beginning from a young age. Keanu owes Mom and Dad for the strong self esteem and confidence they have instilled in him, which will prove vital when Keanu finds himself the most diminutive competitor on the largest stage. While super comfortable in his own skin, Keanu is also humble, which he in no doubt owes to childhood beat downs (in the water, playground, and weight room) from his older sister Ashley. He also owes Ashley HUGE for introducing him to her beautiful friend Kailin Curran, who if you’ve watched more than 2 seconds of any of Keanu’s interviews this year now is a professional UFC fighter. They’re obvious love for each other and athletic-driven careers make them a perfect match, and if I had to bet on the future my money is on Kailin making Anu a new member of the #marriedupclub.
Professional sports is a BUSINESS, and surfing is no different. Without proper guidance and hands-on assistance it would be easy for a young surfer to lose his way. Keanu is fortunate to have a solid team in place, lead by his manager Greg Fernandez. Then there is the crew from his major sponsor Fox Surf, including team manager Frankie D’Andrea, videographer Jensen Young Sik and countless professional mentors/friends including Ian Walsh, Bede Durbidge, and Damien Hobgood. Keanu also benefits from the support of his other sponsors including Rockstar Energy, Prolite, Local Motion Hawaii, Vertra, Fitted, Sol Republic and ATH Organics.
After our first season of training together Keanu had added substantial strength and power, which left many of his boards too thin to handle the force he was putting into turns. His long-time shaper Wade Tokoro’s response was “Good, you need to be stronger. We’ll just put more volume under your feet.” Then last year his strategy/technique coach Bert Ishimaru advised that Anu was getting to straight-legged between maneuvers and needed our training to get him more efficient at being “low and creepy.” Long story short, Wade and Bert are the real deal and Keanu’s results last season speak to their expertise in competitive surfing.
This may sound crazy but it is the truth….Keanu is easy to train. For starters, he LOVES it. Secondarily, through his youth and aforementioned genetic makeup Anu is extremely well-rounded, injury free and blessed with above average to excellent mobility, endurance, balance, coordination, strength and power. Due to these natural abilities we are able to focus on a lot of training specificity designed towards making him a better professional surfer. This includes advanced deceleration techniques, improved body control through rotational plyometrics, total body explosiveness and heat-specific conditioning.
As I hope this article has painted a clear picture of the overwhelming need for young professional surfers to surround themselves with a support structure that can guide them towards success, lets now give credit where credit is due. No one mentioned above can surf the heats, grind out the QS travel schedule to mostly $h!t waves and put up the necessary scores against the best in the world but the man himself, Keanu Asing. He is an extraordinary person whose will far exceeds his stature (aptly tagged on Instagram #heartoverheight) and the team here at NAKOA is beyond proud and stoked to be on #TeamAnu.
I couldn’t be more stoked for you to call me your Fitness Coach and friend, Keanu! Congrats buddy!
East Coast transplant, ex-rugby player, and avid surfer, Coach Ryan Gallop has always been passionate about sports and has been immersed in them since his youth. It has been a natural transition for him into coaching and he has discovered that his true passion lies in developing the untapped potential of athletes. This has led him to pour his heart into our Sport Performance Program earning him the well deserved role as Performance Director at NAKOA.
He brings a higher level of understanding, not only to what an athlete may need physically, but also mentally to succeed. Ryan’s passion, motivation, and drive provide an infectious positive energy that everybody feels throughout the gym and helps to unite us all as a team.