HOMETOWN: Zarautz, Spain
BOARD: 5’11" X 18 3/16" X 2 3/16"
SPONSORS: Quiksilver, Pukas, Island Style
"Mario's got a really smooth style," reckons friend, team-mate and fellow Zarautz homeboy Aritz Aranburu, speaking in the office of the town's surfclub. "He’s really good at reading the wave, good positioning, and with how skinny he is, he surfs like Rob Machado." (Mario laughs). A product of the highlycompetitive Zarautz surf club in the Basque Country, Mario is one of the standouts of a new generation of school kids that also includes Marcos Segundo and Igor Muniain, all looking to emulate Aritz and Hodei and make pro careers out of the sport that takes centre stage in their classy beach town. Having been surfing since he was 6 years old and doing contests for several years, Mario trains with Aritz’ coach Aitor Francesena working towards the short-term goal of winning the EPSA Pro Junior title.
“Maybe I’ll go to Uni in San Sebastian when I finish school, it depends how it all goes with the surfing," Mario explains. But in the meantime, when he’s not at school in Zarautz where he can surf at lunch break, he’ll be hanging out at the surf club, training with Aritz at the town’s new sports complex or keeping it real on MSN messenger with his amigas. In the summer time he’s doing Pro Junior comps throughout Europe and in winter staying at the Quik Europe team house on the North Shore. Doesn’t sound like a bad gig for a sixteen-year-old goofyfoot, does it? Oh yeah, there’s this left just down the coast that gets alright from time to time, too.
San Mundaka action: Alex Laurel.
Portrait: Victor Gonzalez