A world champion who was nurtured by the magnificent sea of ​​Amami Oshima was born last year.

16-year-old Kapono Fukuda won the SUP surfing world championship, standing on a surfboard and riding a paddle to ride the waves.

We asked Mr. Fukuda, who is aiming for a further leap, about the appeal of SUP surfing and his thoughts on this year.

Surrounded by the sea of ​​Amami, there is now

“In the Amami sea, I am surrounded by the great nature of Amami.

This is what Kapono Fukuda, a first-year high school student from Amami City, said.

"SUP surfing" is a marine sport that is gaining popularity around the world.

Fukuda won the world championship in the under-18 division of the World Championships held in Spain last November, and also obtained his license as a professional player.

Fukuda said he couldn't believe the world number one moment.

"I didn't really get it right away, but during the interview, I thought, 'Huh?

Can you become the best in the world under the age of 18?

I'm happy that I've become one."

SUP debut at 4 years old

Fukuda was born on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, USA, and moved to Amami Oshima with his parents, who run a surf shop, when he was two years old.

So when I was 4 years old, I met SUP surfing.

The feature of SUP surfing is to use a board that is larger than normal surfing.

And by accelerating with the paddle, you can perform dynamic tricks.

He still remembers the day when he first stood on the sea.

“I got into SUP surfing when I was 4 years old and enjoyed surfing in front of my father’s board. It felt good to run through it, and I got hooked on it.”

Growing up surrounded by the magnificent Amami sea, Fukuda naturally fell in love with SUP surfing.

At the age of 9, she made her first appearance at the All Japan Championships and finished 4th.

With this as an opportunity, she began to feel that it was not only her hobby, but also that it was interesting as a competition.

However, he says that during his junior high school days, he had a difficult time when he could not get any results.

Even so, what I kept in mind in order to overcome it was to “continue while having fun”.

"I don't like hard training, so I tried SUP surfing, normal surfing, and while having fun doing cross training, I got better."

Preparing for the big stage

In order to gain even more strength, Fukuda worked on strengthening the flexibility of her body.

Inspired by the movement of yoga, he devised his own exercises to increase the flexibility of the hip joints and legs.

Then came the first international competition in Spain.

Despite being overwhelmed by the atmosphere, it is said that he felt strangely nostalgic when he entered the sea.

“There were so many people that I felt depressed, but when I got on the waves, I found that there were some similarities with Amami Oshima, so I was able to surf without worry.”

Transmitting the Amami Nurtured

Fukuda, who won the first crown on the world stage.

At this year's world tournament, we are aiming for a further leap forward and are enthusiastic about transmitting the charm of Amami Oshima, which has been nurtured.

“This year, I have about three world championships, so I would like to achieve a feat by winning consecutive championships. I'm from Amami Oshima and I want to spread the word and make it more famous."

Fukuda Kapono, who proudly surfs on the sea, is a first-year high school student.

He worked late into the night on his school assignments, taking breaks from filming.

Among surfing enthusiasts, there is a word "waterman".

It is a word that describes a person who masters a wide range of marine sports, and Mr. Fukuda said that he would like to continue challenging other competitions while mastering SUP surfing in the future.

A 16-year-old who aims to be a "waterman" and rides the world's big waves from Amami Oshima.

I am looking forward to seeing Fukuda, who has acquired a professional license this year and is now able to challenge even bigger competitions.