The Odd Couple: Alan & Dan

Photo:  Dan Bielich

Alan Munoz is a quiet achiever in the Bodyboarding world. The Chilean goes about his business without much fuss, comfortably sitting in the top 10 rankings of the APB following the 2018 tour. Ben Player compared his style to that of Aussie Michael Novy and even stated that that he believes “Alan is one of the most underrated talents in the sport… I’d even go as far to say that he will win a WC in the next 5 years”. With the quality of breaks in Chile and the benefits of a (relatively) home town World Tour event at Arica, it is surely only a matter of time until Alan grasps a world title of his own.

Alan is one of the most underrated talents in the sport… I’d even go as far to say that he will win a WC in the next 5 years
— Ben Player

Alan recently crossed paths with Aussie lensmen Dan Beliech in Arica. Dan ended up cancelling a 3 month trip around South America and staying in Chile shooting with Alan. The two formed a strong friendship over the period travelling and shooting together. When we saw the resulting images we were taken aback. They aren’t the usual sort of photos you would see of a wave like Arica. They are truly unique and have a strong artistic element to them, which is only reinforced by Alan’s style of riding.

With these images sitting in front of us, we decided it was time for us to have a little chat with Alan about Chile, The World Tour, NASA, Mummies, Aliens (Yep, you read that correctly…) and just how a Chilean Booger and Aussie Photographer came to form a friendship.

MM: Everyone is aware of the waves Arica has to offer, what other sort of spots does Chile have up its sleeve?

AM: For years we have seen the incredible potential that Chile has especially in the north of the country, but the south is one of the most incredible places I have known, full of waves of all kinds with a very particular elements.

Does it ever get old seeing photos and clips of your own surfing?

I think that over the years I have seen an evolution of my surfing, especially traveling and measuring myself with my colleagues from the world tour, who demand you to be strong in order to face them and take better options.

What sets an average image apart from an amazing one in your opinion?

You have to highlight certain traits that can cause an impression without even giving it much attention. E.g. either the lip of the wave that stands out thick, or the maneuver has a lot of air, or simply the athlete manages to show his skill with a lot of technique and style.

Photo:  Dan Bielich

What is it like getting to surf the world class waves of Arica on a regular basis?

It is very stimulating, especially during my first years at this wave. I waited every year for this event, waiting for a great sport festival and today for me free surfing at this wave is an impulse. This animal instinct is the essence of our sport. I think it is something that also happens at waves like fronton, Tahiti, pipeline, etc.

How did you meet or come across Aussie Dan Bielich in Chile?

Dan was moving through the north of Chile and we met in the bodyboard shop of ERIZO’s surf brand. There we began to talk about photography and the potential of the waves of Chile. Taking the subject to the south of Chile, we decided to make an expedition to various points of the country, there I understood that Dan’s style is a very fascinating format in the field of photography. Just like a painting of a picture the images manage to express many aspects and concepts open to interpretation.

Where are you most excited to compete at this year on the World Tour?

I like all the challenges but always live for the adrenaline in waves like FLOPOS (Arica) or Fronton. You know that others will deliver the maximum in these places that demand a lot and it is clear that we all want to dominate the stage better than anyone, and that's the hard part.

How have you been prepping for this year’s tour?

I have had a preseason in the south of Chile looking for strength in gymnastics and am later to go in search of power and endurance. The spiritual part is very important as well. I feel that with all of this I can be the one that achieves the best result

Photo:  Dan Bielich

Is taking out the 2019 World Title a major goal for you this year?

100%. This has always been my dream. I believe that in previous years I have not managed to be close to this goal because I have not had what it takes to go in search of it. In life there is always opportunity and in the present we should go for these opportunities

Of all the waves in the world you are yet to surf, which ones are highest on your ‘to surf’ list?

Good question! I would love to have a run at Pipeline. I have been in the water, but I never managed to enjoy the real stage. Also, the Box and Cloud 9. I think there are many, but my taste is for getting a good pipe wave accompanied by a good ramp.

What’s the go with the mummies on the island at Arica?

As it is known, in the north of the country in the surroundings of Arica, the Chinchorro mummies have been found. They are an ancestral culture dating back 10,000 years before Christ, being the oldest in the world until now. Also, in the process of the construction of a project of public works on the island of Alacran they found bones thought to be from the Chinchorro culture, this is very recent, and it is known that they are conducting studies to determine the history of these bones.

Photo:  Dan Bielich

Is it true NASA are out their digging? We reckon there is something extraterrestrial at play here… thoughts?

I did not know that NASA was in Arica, the truth is that I do not know anything about it

Ahh you can’t disclose anything 😉… Easier question, do you think Aliens exist?

We cannot be the only ones and there are always mysteries about this!

Are you yourself an Alien Alan?

Possibly, I do not know. I would have to ask my parents where I came from, but I've always felt normal… I think. What if bodyboarding is full of aliens in the water. Especially at waves like Arica, Fronton, Pipeline and Australia. Possibly NASA is already studying these athletes.

Definitely some food for thought there Alan… We’ll chuck on our tin foil hats and investigate. Thanks for the chat!