Meet the ‘fearless’ Hawaii surfer representing Team Japan in the Tokyo Olympics

Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 5:33 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 24, 2021 at 5:41 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Surfing will make its big debut when the Tokyo Olympics kick off a month from now. And while Hawaii’s pro surfers are representing, not all will be on Team USA.

Mahina Maeda will be representing Japan, her parent’s home country.

“I actually hold dual citizenship,” she said. “It was a really hard decision.”

Maeda started surfing at 4 years old. People called her fearless when at 16, she became the youngest woman to surf monster waves at Nazare in Portugal.

LISTEN: Full interview with Mahina Maeda on the ‘Muthaship’ podcast

Born and raised on the North Shore, she learned to surf at Sunset Beach.

“As I got older, maybe around 20, it got clear what I wanted to do is be a world champion,” she said.

Now 23, the three-time world junior champion mixes swimming, meditation and breathing techniques ― even jiu jitsu ― to train for the Olympics.

“I really want to set an example for the Japanese as well as people are struggling with dual images,” she said.

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