December 6, 2021

The Heartwarming story of Carlos Muñoz qualifying for the World Surf League.


Do you remember the dude who missed his heat at the Olympic surf competition earlier this year?

Carlos Muñoz was sitting at the beach in Costa Rica when he got invited to compete in the Olympics. After Frederico Morais tested positive for COVID-19, Muñoz was the one to fill the vacant spot.

Unfortunately, Muñoz didn’t make it in time. He spontaneously traveled all the way from Costa Rica to Japan and ended up being a few hours late to compete. What a bummer!

Fans around the world felt sorry for him. I remember writing an article about this heartbreaking story that ended with the words “Don’t give up, Carlos”—and that’s exactly what he did.

A few months later, Muñoz accomplished an even bigger goal than competing in the Olympics: he qualified for the Championship Tour 2022.

For those of you who are not familiar with surfing: 16 surfers qualify for the tour every season, which allows them to join all major competitions without the hustle of participating in the qualification rounds.

That saves a lot of time and energy—and, of course, makes you one of the top 16 surfers on this planet (potential sponsors love that).

Muñoz is the first Costa Rican ever to qualify for the tour—and I feel that this is already a scandal itself. Why is that?

It’s about the money. Looking at professional athletes in surfing, snowboarding, and skateboarding might make us think it was all about skills. There is no doubt that these competitors are incredible athletes, but we often forget that it takes more than that to become a pro.

Before anyone is making any money, he or she needs to qualify for major competitions by joining the qualification series—which costs a lot of money. Someone needs to pay for flights, hotels, and fees. Not to forget expenses for coaches, physiotherapists, and material.

There are basically two ways to deal with that: sponsors or rich parents (or ideally both).

To put things into perspective: Muñoz had been trying to qualify since 2009, and he was so close, so many times. But now, he finally made it—just a few months after the heartbreak at the Olympics. What a year!

Muñoz will represent thousands of talented surfers from countries that are not as connected to the world of surfing as they should be. There are so many talented surfers in countries like Morocco, Senegal, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and, of course, Costa Rica who are not able to compete because of financial limitations and visa problems.

Let’s hope that Muñoz won’t be the last surfer who makes this dream come true.

Maybe the World Surf League should take more effort to include surfers from developing nations? Maybe it’s time to rethink the qualification series? There are so many things that could be done.

But I am so glad that my second article on this inspiring athlete doesn’t end with the words “Don’t give up, Carlos.”

Today we end on a positive note.

You made it! Congratulations! All the best in 2022! #GoCali

Pura Vida.



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