In a sport where its stars seem to be getting younger and younger, Ayumu Hirano is the latest prodigy to receive acclaim for his ability beyond his years. Aged 14 he's almost an elder statesman by today's standards.
Hirano's rise has been rapid. Two years ago he was riding in the US Open Junior competition - this year he claimed silver at the X Games in Aspen with only the Shaun White juggernaut outscoring him. He finished a place higher at the Burton High Fives pipe competition, beating men twice his size with a combination of technique and huge air.
For one so young Hirano has already pulled off huge results at some of snowboarding's biggest events. As well as the aforementioned X Games and High Fives he's already won at the BEO in Laax, second at the US Open and third at the Arctic Challenge. Riders in their thirties would look back on that as a job well done - Hirano has no intention of stopping there.
Supported by compatriot and veteran, Kazuhiro Kokubo, Hirano is being spoken about as the one to displace Shaun White from his throne as king of the pipe. Hirano was born in Murakami, Niigata, Japan on 29th November 1998. He rides goofy and has been entering into competition with his older brother since he was just four. He grew up skateboarding and many have attributed this to his control and smooth transitions. In the words of Mark McMorris Ayumu Hirano will soon be the 'Cat's Meow' and probably before he finishes puberty.
- Age: 15
- Height: 1.45m
- Weight: 59kg
- Nationality: Japan
The Story Of Japan’s Wonderkid Ayumu Hirano
31st January 2014