Kalle Carranza grew up surfing the coastlines of Riviera Nayarit and became a successful pro surfer at a tender age. Then he quit.
Start off being named one of the top 100 young surfers in the world by “Surfer Magazine.” That’s a lot of pressure. Win a national title, travel the world with sponsorship deals and appear on the covers of a stack of international magazines. Then what do you do? In 2008, Kalle Carranza shifted gears, quit competing, and moved to Finland. Didn’t stop surfing exactly, but was there to get a university degree. While there—in Finland, mind you—he realized his true passion was dissecting the complex sport of surfing and teaching it to others. He spent the next few years creating a thoughtful step-by-step surf instructing program. From there he founded a company called I Love Waves in Sayulita, Mexico, where he now teaches, surfs and is a regular commentator for WSL contests.
HANAH founder Joel Einhorn caught up to Kalle and got on the same wavelength.
Joel Einhorn: If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be and what would you talk about?
Kalle Carranza: Montezuma, the last emperor of the Aztec Empire. I’d ask him about the Aztec calendar. Supposedly when conquered and their villages were pillaged and all the gold was stolen by the Spaniards, Montezuma said that the knowledge they have, all the knowledge is in the Aztec calendar. Then I’d like to know about their medicinal practices, how they built the pyramids, if they saw or communicated with or believed in aliens, etc.
JE: What scares you?
KC: Humanity destroying this earth in my lifetime.
JE: Where’s the coolest place you’ve ever been?
KC: Coolest place I’ve been would have to remain secret. It’s a place with great waves, empty lineups, warm water and awesome food. It exists, but I love it as is and don’t want it to grow at an accelerated pace. Second to that, go check out the Lofoten Islands. That’s an amazing place in northern Norway.
JE: What do you do to reset?
KC: I go on a surf trip. Preferably no laptop, minimal driving, great friends, perfect waves… the simple life. Surf, eat, sleep… repeat.
JE: What is one (or more) thing you do for health or fitness every day?
KC: I exercise, whether it be surf or do push-ups, or something. And I try and have a healthy smoothie.
Money and corporate interests destroying our animals, forests, oceans—and plastic… it’s sad.
JE: What is the biggest challenge facing our planet and civilization today?
KC: Money and corporate interests destroying our animals, forests, oceans—and plastic… it’s sad.
JE: Who were your heroes growing up?
KC: When I was a kid, I didn’t really know much about people that fought for values or beliefs. I was just obsessed with surfing and my surf heroes were Kalani Robb and Rob Machado. They looked so stylish on waves and out of the water were always smiling and laughing.
JE: What would you say to your 16-year-old self?
KC: You’re in for a ride. Hang on. And… take the hard road, it will make you a man.