While competing at the Hurley Pro in Trestles, California, the ISA had the opportunity to catch up with the Costa Rican giant killer.
In a very humbling fashion, Muñoz reflected on his career, how he reached where he is today, while looking towards the future.
1. Coming all the way from your small home-town of Esterillos, how did it feel to become a Costa Rican National Champion, represent your country in eight ISA World Championships, and now compete on the Professional Tour?
It’s incredible. I don’t event know how it happened.
My first time outside of Costa Rica was when I went to the 2007 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in Portugal when I was 14 years old.
For me, the first time I participated at an ISA World Championship was the same as participating in a CT. For me it was an incredible moment.
Esterillos is a small town with lots of fishermen and was a little dangerous when I was growing up, but I had the blessing of taking up Surfing and forgetting about all the bad things.
What I liked best was to go to the ocean and surf, that’s it. I never thought about competing until I wore my first jersey and won. My emotions were so intense that I remember that moment clearly.
It all happened so fast! I started competing and I was in the ocean all the time. The sea helped me open my mind, experience new cultures and meet new people that I never thought I would meet.
Now that I am here, it’s like a dream to live the same moments as Kelly Slater, Joel Parkinson, Bruce Irons, and Andy Irons, and watch all the incredible surfers that are here. Now I am watching these guys free-surf, sharing lockers, and it makes me wonder that if one dreams and believes in it, it can become a reality.
2. What did you learn from competing at ISA World Championships?
The ISA is one of the best tournaments because one represents his country. It teaches you a lot about sharing as a group, the competition and co-existing to get to know each other well.
While surfing, no one wants to lose, everyone wants to give their best.
There were Repechage Rounds, so if you lost, the competition intensified because you could end up competing against the same surfers again.
After the Costa Rican National Circuit, competing at ISA events was the next step. Competing against the world’s best surfers from Australia and South Africa is something that makes you feel very proud to represent your country and give your all in every wave.
3. You are one of the few people in the world that have received an ISA Scholarship and even less people that have won it twice. How did winning the ISA Scholarship in 2008 and 2009 help you?
If it wasn’t for the ISA Scholarship, I don’t know where I would be. I always had people around me that gave me a lot of support, but without a doubt, the Scholarship was a gift from God. My mom didn´t have the money that she needed to send me to school. I got into a private high school thanks to this Scholarship, and after two years of being an ISA Ambassador, I got another Scholarship in school because of my good grades.
I will always be thankful to the ISA for those Scholarships, it was one of the things that made my life happy, specially to my mom, because she didn’t had enough money, without it, I don’t know where I would be now.
4. Being a member of Team Costa Rica has been very important for your career. What are your plans for the future? Do you plan on representing your country and achieve what the Costa Rican Soccer Team did at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil?
There is nothing that would make me more proud than seeing the Costa Rican flag waving at the top. For me, it is going to be difficult to compete at the ISA World Championship this year since there are some prime events around the same dates. Without a doubt, one of my goals is to win or make it to the podium at an ISA event.
Last time I competed it was 4 years ago and I had an ankle injury and I couldn’t surf as good as I would have liked so it’s something that I would like to change.
The 2014 Hurley Pro was not the first time that Muñoz and Medina surfed in the same contest. At the 2009 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in Ecuador, the Brazilian earned the Silver Medal, while the Costa Rican earned his highest place finish in his eight ISA World Championships, a 9th.
5. Are you interested in participating at the first Olympic Games when Surfing is included?
Woooow What!!?? Of course! It would be incredible. Winning a medal at the Olympics! Could you imagine? Being there would be incredible!
6. What advise would you give young surfers, who want to represent Costa Rica that see you as a role model?
I want to tell everybody that you have to keep fighting for your dreams, it doesn’t matter if you want to become a football player, artist, surfer or anything that you want to become in your life, don’t stop chasing that dream.
Discipline and keeping a good path is always important. Listen to all the good advices and get rid of the bad ones and always keep going forward.
Make sure to tune in to the Hurley Pro live webcast Wednesday morning, when Carlos Muñoz will face the 2010 ISA World Junior Surfing Champion, Gabriel Medina, for the second time.
The International Surfing Association (ISA), founded in 1964, is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the World Governing Authority for Surfing, StandUp Paddle (SUP) Racing and Surfing, Bodysurfing, Wakesurfing, and all other wave riding activities on any type of waves, and on flat water using wave riding equipment. The ISA crowned its first Men’s and Women’s World Champions in 1964. It crowned the first Big Wave World Champion in 1965; World Junior Champion in 1980; World Kneeboard Champions in 1982; World Longboard Surfing and World Bodyboard Champions in 1988; World Tandem Surfing Champions in 2006; World Masters Champions in 2007; and World StandUp Paddle (SUP) and Paddleboard Champions in 2012.
ISA membership includes the surfing National Governing Bodies of 100 countries on five continents. Its headquarters are located in La Jolla, California. It is presided over by Fernando Aguerre (Argentina), first elected President in 1994 in Rio de Janeiro. The ISA’s four Vice-Presidents are Karín Sierralta (PER), Kirsty Coventry (ZIM), Casper Steinfath (DEN) and Barbara Kendall (NZL).