By Daniel Ikaika Ito/Contrastmagazine.com
Photo: Andrew Shield
Keanu Asing is making moves in 2011. The 17-year-old ‘Ewa Beach native recently inked a new sponsorship with Fox Racing, and is excited about the new deal. Asing is currently in Australia for a couple of WQS events and getting shots with the new logo on his board. I caught up with Keanu at Starbuck’s at Kamehameha Shopping Center. Asing was with his BFF Ezekiel Lau and they were planning out editorial for the next issue of Free Surf Magazine, which they will be guest editors. After the ed meeting, I chopped it up with Keanu about his new deal, old sponsor and his signature Kamehameha Fitted.
Daniel Ikaika Ito: Itʻs a new year and I noticed a new sticker on the nose of your Local Motion boards?
Keanu Asing: I recently signed with Fox Racing and I do not ride for Billabong anymore. Glad to be a part of a new family.
DII: What was your best experience while riding for Billabong?
KA: My best experience was making a lot of friendships. Not just friendships, but family friends. It was like I was a part of a family at Billabong. Theyʻre really good people. There was a couple of things on the business side that I didnʻt like, but Iʻll always be friends with them. Being a part of (Billabong) was awesome.
DII: How did working with Billabong Coach Rainos Hayes elevate your surfing?
KA: Rainos Hayes was a big part of my sponsorship with Billabong. He got me so attached to the brand and he built my surfing to where Iʻm at right now. Without him I donʻt think I would be where Iʻm at right now and I wouldnʻt have any titles that I do have. So, thank you, Rainos. He played a big part of my career so far and tried to lead me into the way of a professional surfer.
DII: So what bummed you out on the business side?
KA: I built such a great relationship with all the guys from Billabong and having to leave was really sad. But, you have to get past the friendship-side and nobody is working on the same team in surfing so you have to look out for yourself.
DII: Who helps you get past the friendship-side and with all the negotions in the surf industry?
KA: John Shimooka is my manager, as well as Kurt Jacobs. For them to help me out is huge so I donʻt have to worry about the (business) stuff and I can just worry about my surfing. I can work on what I gotta to do in the water and my attitude.
DII: What are looking forward to with this new endeavor with Fox Racing?
KA: Just building my profile and just try to be a star player at Fox. Trying to climb up the ladder at Fox.
DII: How is Fox Racing different from other surf brands?
KA: Itʻs kind of like a Nike where they attack different sports markets and not just surfing. Fox Racing came from motorcross so itʻs different and itʻs cool to be a part of a different family from a different side of action sports. Hopefully, one day I can watch the super cross.
DII: Who do you look up to the most on the Fox Racing team?
KA: Definitely Ian Walsh because heʻs from Hawai‘i. Itʻs just cool to watch him surf because he rips. Heʻs an all around great surfer?
DII: So are you going to be towing into Jaws now with Ian?
KA: (laughs) Uh…maybe. Hopefully, one day.
DII: Since youʻre riding for Fox, did you buy a dirt bike yet?
KA: Iʻll probably get me (50cc) one day. Not a 150cc. Not a 250cc. Just a fifty to cruise around.
DII: Anything else youʻd like to add?
KA: Iʻd like to say thanks to Fitted for all the support through these ups and downs. Thanks for always having my back in surfing.
DII: Speaking of Fitted, how did you feel when Ezekiel Lauʻs signature Kamehameha outsold yours?
KA: I thought it was a cheat because Zeke was there and I wasnʻt.
Ezekiel Lau: Whose fault is that?
KA: Because Iʻm more of an Aloha guy, and Zeke…
EL: Nelson was there.
KA: And, Zeke is not so much an Aloha guy like me. Iʻm friends with everybody and him (pointing to Zeke) Iʻm not too sure. He has no hair. (laughs) Nah, Zekeʻs the man. Iʻm stoked for him, but he beat me at everything: Nationals and wearing his Fitted hat. Everybody bought his and not mine. It bummed me out. Next time we do that Iʻm making a way more better hat.
DII: Why do you think his hat sold more than yours?
KA: Because he was there telling everybody to buy his hat. I had one more hat left and it was probably a size 7, which pretty much only fits a baby. And, he was there telling everybody to buy his hat and probably told them that he would pay them to buy his hat. (laughs)
DII: Thatʻs so heavy.
KA: Thatʻs what happened. (laughs) Thatʻs why itʻs so heavy because thatʻs what he did. Itʻs fact.
DII: So where were you at that time?
KA: I was actually hurt in California doing rehab on my ankle.
EL: Whoa. Ok.
KA: I was. Wasnʻt I?
EL: You were in Cali.
KA: I was probably golfing in California, hitting birdies while these guys were selling hats. (laughs) No, Iʻm just kidding. I was actually in California doing some event and I was really bummed I didnʻt get to make it. Next time Iʻll be there supporting my hat and supporting Fitted.
Tags: Keanu Asing