TO aritz aramburu his French colleagues call him potxoka, because when they cross the border to go catch waves in Mundaka they see dozens of small horses with strong legs, and they remember him, and that’s the Basque word used to describe the native Basque pollinator. His nickname is exactly that the title of his book, a photographic review of two decades of escapism by Javi ‘Pacotwo’ Muñoz who has added prose to explain what he feels when he goes surfing. And with an eye on Paris 2024but from his own eyes, what makes him more happy is spending more time in Zarauz, he reflects on all the goodness that the sea has given him.
How did ‘Potxoka’ fare?
Javi is a romantic of photographs, he shoots on film, he himself says that he is not adapting to the new digital times, that he had many photographs from 20 years ago, and that he had to get a book. And so we did, I was in charge of the phrases they suggested to me, and I was very happy. It was a challenge to write for others, I’m not a writer, I did everyday things to motivate myself in the championships, but I wasn’t that lucky. And now that I have it in my hands I remember what’s left out, and it makes me want to write another one…
How is the rise of surfing assessed in our country?
It is clear. As I was hooked, it’s nice to see how other people do it. The growth of surfing is a train that has not stopped in recent years, and for us who live on a peninsula, it is easier. See, sometimes when you are in the water and there are many people you think about the identity that there are no waves for everyone, but on the other hand it seems logical to me.
Sometimes I imagine your day in front of a map that randomly points to your next destination.
Maybe. There are moments that luckily it. The best gift surfing has given me is travel, and the most beautiful excuse to go in search of waves around the world. We become obsessed with this, but the memory is still precious. For many years I focused more on the world circuit calendar, but now little by little I am becoming more selective, and I no longer travel and before, I spent 10 months away from home, but now I appreciate the emotion. of home I still itch to travel, but it is not the same. And it’s not the same in other sports, when you hang up your boots and that’s it, when you’re surfing you get out of the competition but you continue with your lifestyle.
Still, you will try to be in Paris 2024, right?
I’m putting my competitive side aside for a bit, but I have the opportunity to go to the World Cup, which is also pre-Olympic, and while I’m here I’m going to try my best, because of the prize very large. I never thought as a surfer about taking part in the Olympics, and it is a reality. And also, in Tahiti, where the surfing in Paris 2024 will take place, there is the wave that gave me the best results in my career. It is quite a beast if the conditions are clear, and it will be very attractive to watch.
Surfing has lost its essence since it was part of the Olympics and is now bigger mainstream?
Surfing can be lived in different ways, everyone chooses how to do it. I like a little bit of everything, from competition to going to the Angolan desert for a month with a tent. Before, if you wanted to be a professional surfer you had to compete, and now there are more championships. The structure is very nice, and like everything in life, it’s about chasing the carrot and that’s it. Joe, who does not like Games, lives with other athletes from all over the world, with the best of all disciplines, that milk and inspires.
Tell me about those strong legs, how you get them.
Gym workouts are more preventive to clean the body. After so many hours surfing you take certain positions, and you get the opposite out of the water. At our school there is Julen, my coach, he takes good care of us… But let’s see, I’m out in the open; I took up mountain biking, swimming in the sea, climbing, and although I love the sea, I also enjoy enjoying nature.
And the diet?
I have eaten a lot. I don’t take a lot of things away from myself, I try to eat well, my excuse is that the water wears us out a lot (laughs), and sometimes it happens to me, but I love food, it’s a passion . Let’s see, living here what can I tell you, I don’t have a sweet tooth, I don’t eat fast food…
For people from Madrid like me, the sea is usually a tool for our mental health… Does surfing give you that emotional well-being?
I believe a lot in surfing as therapy. In the end, I use it every day, and it makes me happy. And when I’m not having a good day, dipping my head already helps me. 10 years ago we created an NGO called Kindsurf, which uses the sea as a tool for social inclusion with children who have experienced different realities or problems, and which I see emerging thanks to surfing. In the end I talk about this because I think it’s true, and anyone can use it to feel better.