Costa Rica surfer Carlos Muñoz has made it to the top 10 in the Junior Men’s World Ranking of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP). The 20-year-old rising star surfer is currently tied at ninth place in the world in the Junior Men’s Division with eight other surfers from Australia, Hawaii, Brazil, USA and Japan.
Nicknamed “The Flying Costa Rican” by Surfer Today, the team Red Bull surfer has been spotlighted by the youth sportswear company Volcom as one of the “up-and-coming talents expected to emerge as the next generation of surfing professionals.” Muñoz, whose real nickname is “Cali”, was described by Surfing Magazine as “a Costa Rican teenager with his fingers on the pulse of the good life.”
“Cali” moved from Granada, Nicaragua to Costa Rica with his parents when he was 2-months-old, and now lives in Playa Esterillos Oeste, just south of Jaco Beach on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Coast. He got into surfing by accident at age 10 when some friends invited him to try the waves right out in front of his little beach town. “I didn’t even like the ocean that much. I did it because my friends invited me one day,” says Muñoz on the team Red Bull website. “I didn’t even make it out to the line-up; I was pinned to the shore.”
After his mother bought Muñoz his first surfboard, he quickly showed natural talent and began winning a string of national competitions, including Mini-Grommets (2005), Grommets (2006), Boys (2007 and 2009), Junior (2008 and 2009), and Open (2009).
In a country with hundreds of miles of coastline, and living near some of the top surfing beaches, Muñoz had plenty of opportunity to hone his skills. His aerial stunts have earned him the “Flying Costa Rican” nickname in the international surfing community.
At just 16-years-old, he won first place at the March 2010 VQS Volcom Pro Junior Championship in Newport Beach, California. In April 2010, he won ninth place in the ISA World Surfing Games in the junior category.
Muñoz took third place at the Quiksilver Surf Pro Acapulco in July 2011. Then he went on to score a perfect “10” at the world-famous Volcom Pipe Pro 2012 international surfing competition in Hawaii, at the famed Pipeline wave on Oahu’s North Shore. Beating out 64 surfers from around the globe, Muñoz won the “highest single wave of the day” on January 29, 2012. During the event, he also picked up the “Todd Chesser Hard Charger Sportsmanship Award” for his performance. Chesser was a big wave surfer in Hawaii who died surfing in 1997.
“Cali” was named the best Latin-American surfer in history in Ecuador, and won first place in the ASP Air Walk Lancanau Pro Junior competition in France in August 2012. Most recently, Muñoz tied for 13th place with 3 other surfers in the North Shore Surf Shop Pro Junior by Rusty Surfboards, held this year January 17-26 at famed Sunset Beach in Oahu, Hawaii. Next up for the young pro will be the Ron Jon Quiksilver Junior Pro competition, March 6-10 at Sheppard Beach and Cocoa Beach in Florida.
On the team Red Bull website Muñoz says, “My philosophy of life is enjoy every single moment in life, be humble and appreciate the people around you.”
Learn to surf in Costa Rica!
Learn to surf like “Cali” in the renowned waves of Jaco and Hermosa beaches with Del Mar Surfing Academy. Costa Rica’s Del Mar Surfing Academy is one of the country’s top surf schools for teens (ages 13-19). Based in surfing hotspot Hermosa Beach on the Central Pacific Coast, Del Mar Surfing Academy offers 7-night and 14-night surf camps perfect for beginners up to advanced surfers. While the core element of the camps is surfing, the program also focuses on Spanish language and cultural immersion.
Del Mar Surfing Academy offers a second camp location at award-winning Playa Santa Teresa on the Nicoya Peninsula. Both locations are two of the prettiest tropical beaches in Costa Rica with warm water, playful waves and a friendly, fun and safe atmosphere.
Sister company Del Mar Surf Camp runs surf vacations, yoga-surf retreats, and day surf lessons for adults, women and families at Hermosa Beach, Santa Teresa Beach and Nosara Beach.
By Shannon Farley