di Erika Scafuro
If you seem to know all the sides through which the Spaniard Sergio Múñiz is known, actor, singer and surfer, you have to know that there is always a new passion with which he manages to surprise us.
Just have a look on his Instagram profile to find out how his life is rich of ways to in expresses his creativity, but also of interests and balance (did you know that he also has fun with stone – balancing?).
Our talk takes place on a beautiful sunny day, long awaited after an incessant rain of the previous days, during a walk by the sea in the East part of Liguria in the company of his dog Arcibaldo. There is no doubt that, if there were waves, Sergio would have been on the line-up with the local surfers.
You were born in Bilbao and the Basque Country is a popular European surfing destination. Yet you started surfing in South Africa at the age of 20. How did your interest in surfing start?
My home town is 15 km far from the sea and so I used to go to the sea only in the summer months and to do underwater fishing. Surfing for us was something that only boys from very rich families did. Then, when I discovered surfing too, I realized that they were not wrong (laughing). Surfing in South Africa is a common thing to do. I tried, I had the chance and since I got on the surfboard I never stopped”.
What is your best memory on the surfboard today?
“There are so many that choosing one would be really difficult. But I have several related to emotions. I surf mainly for the emotions.
I have different memories depending on what. if it is for the images, for what’s in a a video, perhaps it could be here, in Liguria, in Levanto, where I live. There are many images, many people taking pictures of you while surfing.
But as emotions I would choose the Basque Country and South Africa, even if I have surfed in different places in the world, but nowhere is like at home. I lived in South Africa too, I have been there a long time so even if for many it can be a very inaccessible place due to the nature and the presence of sharks. In South Africa I had some wonderful experiences, surfing with animals. While you are surfing there is a seal surfing with you. Seals are the favorite food of white sharks. And usually when you see a seal surfing with you it is better that you take that wave to get out because it may be that it is running away from a shark. Some people can rightly be a little scared, but there shouldn’t be too much trouble if you get used to it and you know how to behave and especially what not to do, when not to enter in the water or when to go out.
And then near my hometown, in Bilbao, the first few times I started surfing there and being able to surf at home is wonderful every time. These are different moments, but they are mainly linked to places I know or where I lived ”.
Among the places in the world where you’ve surfed, which one surprised you the most? The best wave you have ridden.
“The best wave I’ve ridden is probably in Bali. Even in Hawaii, but when I have been there I wasn’t very good: there were wonderful waves, but technically I was not prepared. But when I went to Bali, for example the last time a few years ago, it was very interesting there. I’ve been to Serangan, there were between two and three meters of wave and it was very exciting. Sometimes you can find waves of that size here in Italy too, but not so perfect. Surely the most beautiful waves I’ve ever surfed are in Indonesia”.
You are a successful actor who has worked, and still works, for TV, cinema and theater. How did you discover your vocation for acting?
“I really liked theatre. I had been studying it since 1998, when I started my first course. I was used to do a lot of TV commercials, I worked as a model. After my partecipation at ‘L’Isola dei Famosi’ (an italian reality show, ed) in 2004, I started working for the theater. But I didn’t intend to work for it. I liked theater so much, but I had so much respect. I didn’t have the courage. I used to go to the theater a lot, but I didn’t have the guts to go there. Then when I did ‘L’isola dei Famosi’ I receveid some job offers and then I took the opportunity to start with it. And theater as a passion became a job“.
You have been practicing yoga for some time. In the world of surfing many practice yoga, there are many points in common between the two disciplines. The awareness of the present moment, the “here and now”, helped you to maintain balance so uncertain times?
Yoga helps with everything. Yoga means ‘union’, you cannot separate yoga from anything, neither from thought, nor from the body, nor from the spirit. Because yoga means just that, it is that union of body, mind, spirit. Which can also be done through other disciplines, such as surfing. However, surfing practiced in a certain way, because if you practice a competitive surfing, you move away from this concept a lot, so if you also do some modern yoga styles that leave out very important parts of this triptych. Maybe if you don’t work on the soul part, but only the body part, something is missing. So it’s not yoga in the end. Maybe stretching, call it whatever you want. There must be a bit of everything, yoga are exercises that grow through the breath, through movement, through meditation. Yoga is a way of personal growth, of improvement in every sense.
It can be done in many ways, but yoga is one of the sciences that deals only with this. Because in the end it is a science, it is simply that instead of using the senses and going to look outside as modern science does, it does it with an introspection and then through meditation. Because in general yoga is born as introspection, as meditation. The first writings where it was really explained what yoga was, the asana (positions) almost did not exist. In Sutra of Patañjali, the only position you can find is the lotus, to sit and do breathing exercises and above all meditation. So that’s the basis of yoga. Which then helps a lot to do physical exercises to enter the physical, mental, spiritual side. It’s something you can’t escape from because if you do those exercises, that way, you go in a direction. You can also find it through a certain type of surfing, which is very similar. The asana also help a lot physically, they also help concentration, balance, knowing how to breathe if you go deep under a wave. Yoga can help with anything. It is still very nice to surf and practice yoga. You usually do yoga in natural places even if it is not true that it is always like this because if you do yoga in India where there is constant confusion, noise, traffic. In the end it is not a question of finding peace outside, for example on a beach, but the difficult part is doing yoga everywhere. Because the difficulties in life, the distractions are everywhere. You cannot make life too easy because life is not easy in general, so being able to find techniques that help you not move too much from your ‘permanent center of gravity’, as Franco Battiato (italian sogwriter, ed) says”.
You have many other passions, including playing the guitar and ukulele, singing…What fascinates you most about the world of music?
I don’t make distinctions. In the sense that for me art is art. As I act, I sing. Just as I sing, I play. And the way I play, if you make me dance I do it, also if I am not good. Music for me is simply another language of art, it is one of the most direct languages of all. Just a vibration, a sound and you can already create an emotion. It’s probably the most direct, but I don’t divide it from acting. In the sense that I also do a lot of musicals, so let’s put it all together. I also combine yoga through sound. Within the yoga that we practice, Akhanda yoga which is a classic yoga, there are always also the mantras sung or recited. The sound is important, not even that is overlooked ”
What can you tell us about your next projects?
“I’m writing a play where by chance the main character is a surfer. So I combine my passions with a character that comes naturally to me. A surfer and a fisherman, who in the end are the same person because one is the alter ego of the other. A cynical point of view, which would be that of the fisherman and a more utopian point of view, which would be that of the surfer. Using the sea as an allegory of life. In which there will also be music, because it is theater-song. As soon as possible I will take it on tour ”.