My grandfather taught me how to love the ocean. To this day it’s the most powerful thing I have inside of me.

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Growing up in the Spanish seaside town of Zarautz, Aritz got hooked into surfing at an early age. Aritz quickly learned that surfing was more than just a sport for him, “It’s a way of expression.” He explains, “In every sport you have to express yourself in different ways, it’s an important thing to have your personality, but in surfing, you’re in the middle of the ocean and there’s no two waves that look the same, so every day you have to make the most from what nature is giving you.”

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At the age of twelve Aritz won the Basque Surfing Championship, launching his life of travel. “It’s not a weird thing to become a professional surfer today,” Aritz admits, “But back in the day, when I was getting started, I’d ask my teachers for permission to take off for competitions and they’d think my surfing was just some hippie thing, that it wouldn’t bring much to my life or my career. But year by year they realized I was growing up quicker than the rest of the guys in my classroom because traveling, it’s always been my greatest education.”

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Aritz’s chase for waves has taken him all over the globe, but his love for adventure goes beyond just the sport, “It’s meeting different people and experiencing different cultures, trying to learn languages and eating weird, weird things.” Although travel is a familiar friend to Aritz, he confesses, “I always love coming home. My roots are in Zarautz. My family and friends, we have our own culture and language to communicate, all the Basque country has it that way.”

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Shelter’s doors are open to surfers of all skill levels and ages. “We have kids who come after school as well as adults who work hard in their businesses and come on the weekends or at night to train. It’s all about sharing with all kinds of people.” The excitement that Artiz and his staff have for the sport is contagious. “We like watching other people have a great time.” He says, “In surfing it’s not about whoever trains the most, it’s whoever can get in better contact with the ocean.”

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