My name is Aritz Aranburu. I live in Zarautz, in the Basque Country of Spain.
I grew up in the type of place where you didn't need your parents to go to the beach and start surfing. Perfect for when you're a grommet and all you want is to spend hours in the water.
We used to have an international surf contest in Zarautz. Since I was a grom, I'd see all of these pro surfers from around the world come into my town. I thought it was the coolest thing ever to have a job traveling to all the different breaks on the globe. I didn't ever even imagine becoming a pro surfer until I started following in the footsteps those surfers who came through.
Everything came really naturally for me. I was 14, and Quik came to sponsor me and send me around the world. I was surprised, but not as much as my parents were. They didn't really know about surfing. They definitely didn't know it was possible to make a living from surfing. They were excited that at such a young age I could travel and learn how the rest of the world worked.
Traveling has been my school. The best school ever. I've traveled since I was a little child, and I will for the rest of my life. It is the biggest gift that surfing gave me, the ability to go.
I spend a maximum of three or four months a year at home. I don't like to stay in the same place for a long time. When I spend too much time in one spot, my mind constantly wanders and wants to get me somewhere else.
Most of the time when I'm chasing waves, I am just looking for barrels.
Last year, I chased big swells and did Prime contests. That's it. Followed one swell from Tahiti all the way to Mexico; I was so hungry for surf while hunting that swell, the best waves of my year came from that one trip. Then also Tahiti and Mexico, Ireland, some really good waves in Morocco, the Canary Islands, and then Indo. That was my year. Meanwhile, I qualified for the World Tour.
I put out web clips to show everything going on around me from my point of view. People are looking for the things that go on outside the water. I love showing my surfing and I love sharing the waves I chase around the world, but with my blog people are more interested in how you get to the waves, the path to the destinations. It's a super beautiful journey, what we do when we are chasing waves, everything from departing home to getting there. And I love sharing every second of these experiences.
When you're touring for the entire year, you get really lonely. You need to be strong. Traveling has given me that strength. It gives you a lot of confidence; the day-by-day of traveling is like a constant test. You have to be super strong and strong-willed, just like when you are competing.
When I go into something like the U.S. Open in Huntington Beach, I go with my competitive goals. But when I'm traveling with Kepa Acero, camping in the bush somewhere in Indonesia, I have different goals. But both of them, both worlds, they both make me happy.
For me, the ideal scenario is 50/50. I love competing. I love freesurfing. I love living the surfer's dream in different ways. I'm really aiming to maintain that balance, even while on the World Tour. I'm still really hungry for competition, and I'm still hungry for new adventures. So I'll keep that the same.