"When you’re surfing these huge, intense waves you feel so insignificant… you feel naked in the ocean. It’s terrifying but the love of it is to beat the fear."
Where did it start for you?
I grew up in a small town in Peru called Punta Hermosa. I watched my dad and cousins surf and the joy it brought everyone around me. As kids, my friends and I would grab our parents’ boards and go surfing in the summers... it was fun and made us happy. I loved it, and when that sport became a job that was a blessing. It got super intense for me when my dad passed away, I feel like I’m with him every time I’m in the ocean and that was the real feeler.
How did you start competing and what drives you to keep going?
There was definitely a spark of competition in me, a feeling that I wanted to win. There were a few wins that gave me the confidence and belief that I can do this. But I don’t make it all about winning, I never let competition ruin the moment. I enjoy every moment of this life. We get to meet amazing people and go to beautiful places like Bali, Hawaii, Fiji, Tahiti and surf these crazy waves… win or lose the competition you can still have a wild ride or catch a big wave that makes international news and gets brands to notice you.
What does surfing mean to you?
There is no way for me to live without surfing. It’s more than a sport, more than a job, it’s very much an addictive feeling that I get. Once you are a surfer you know exactly where and how you want to live your life - in connection to nature. I love the ocean and I know I want to be back there with all my heart every single day. You get to experience all these beautiful things being so close to nature and live this crazy life going from paradise to paradise... you really learn to love this earth and you want to take care of it. It just feels right.
Was there ever a tough moment for you when you almost quit?
Yes, there was a really hard time at one point... 6 years of really bad luck and injuries… 33 dislocations of the shoulder. That was rough, I thought maybe I’m just destroying my body. Luckily, I have really good people that were there for me and helped get me through this. I got a surgery on my shoulder and put in a lot of work in training and fitness so it doesn’t happen again. Now I’m back in the water and I’m super happy. Injuries are just part of the sport… but we can never quit for the love of surfing.
Can you describe the feeling you get when you are in the ocean about to catch a wave?
I’ll describe a big wave moment for you… When you’re surfing these huge, intense waves you feel so insignificant… you feel naked in the ocean. It’s terrifying but the love of it is to beat the fear. When you’re in the ocean and you see that perfect wave, you have to make a split-second decision to catch it. That moment is so intense and feels very unique from any other sport. It’s so exhilarating when you are in the wave barrel and you are surrounded by an intense amount of water roaring around you. You have to have no fear, you just have to put on your poker face and go for it. It actually hurts your face, your back, your arms, and everything but it’s the most incredible moment in the world. It’s like being purified… something incredible is happening. All these minerals are getting through you. It’s pretty crazy when you get spat out of a barrel with a lot of water…there’s something magical about it. If you film a guy right after catching a big wave you’ll see his crazy eyes and how intense the whole moment is.
So you would say that you are living out your passion?
A hard YES.
What’s your advice for people that are not pursuing their passion?
If your heart and gut are telling you that you should be doing something else, go search for it. Just try to make this work for you personally and do whatever makes you happy. If people really invested time into what they love and not what others think they should love then they will succeed. I mean there is no way you won’t succeed when you pour all your passion and time into it and that only happens when you love what you do. If we follow our hearts we will all do fine and be happier.
Follow @Alvaro on his surfing journey.
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