As the author of this “Notes” let me quickly introduce myself and talk about the passion that has pushed me to make this radical change in my life.
Since I was a kid and during my teens I’ve always been very much attracted by different sports; in addition to a Chinese martial art called Wushu and skiing (both of them my first sports starting at the age of 6) I’ve played handball for a while, tennis, basketball and I had my first crashes on the skateboard, like many other kids did, in the early ’90s.
In those years sailing was becoming really popular in Italy during the summer holidays, that in Italy are considerably long, many friends of mine had their first tries. But right in the same place where my family used to go every summer, and just next to the sailing academy, there was also a windsurf school. Basically just a big beach umbrella and a couple of chairs a few meters from the shore and an handmade written sign saying: “windsurf lessons here!”. There, in between a sand’s castle construction and a marbles match to the death with my beach mates, I met for the first time an Austrian guy sitting there under that umbrella; his skin could tell about long time spent at the sun and his smile a lot about all the rest! His name was Max and he was the windsurf instructor.
Coincidence, as we know, do not exist! so, to me, it was clearly another great chance to ask my parents to let me do what I felt was right. That was windsurfing, of course! Despite everybody was telling me: “It’s better to start with sailing, you will learn the basis of knots, sails, winds. Then you will be able to hold a windsurf”.
“I’m young but you can’t fool me” I was thinking “let me go surfing!”. And so, thanks to my parents, I did it!
Over the years my windsurf “career” didn’t really take off; I was very young and I didn’t keep on practicing enough… Maybe I should have asked my parents to buy a van and wander around, but I think it would have been definitely too early for this kind of request and my parents not exactly that kind of “hippie” style people!
So, in the following years I found easier ways to practice “board sports” and snowboard came as the first one. Since I used to go to the mountain every winter, the idea of switching from ski to snowboard began to come to my mind more and more frequently. As I grew up, I had the chance to go to skiing by myself or just with some friends of mine; some of them had already been snowboarding since a while so It was the perfect condition for me to break the ice and start trying with them. After a few days I was feeling already confident and in the following years I kept on practicing as much as I could.
And during spring time I took advantage of my snowboard training and started with the long skating, having great fun shredding around the city; I remember days spent somewhere in my hometown’s hills with some of my first “surfers” friends looking for a road with a good slope, a good surface, wide enough… and possibly with not too many cars! It wasn’t as complicated as finding a good wave, but the approach to a proper “spot” wasn’t too different in the end. But it was surely more painful if I ended my race scratching myself on the tarmac, as it happened a few times of course!
Even my first tries with a wave surfboard came more or less in that period: I was about 16 yo and, once again, during the typically long Italian summertime. Suddenly, I started feeling really excited about this new sport; then, storms and strong winds became my only focus (in Italy the swell rises mainly thanks to the wind’s effect) and they fulfilled my sunny and “boring” days! Then, as soon as I got the driving license, I started chasing some waves in Italy – usually in Marche region where all my surfer friends were at that time but i did also some short trips to Tuscany and Sardinia, where there are some of the best Italian surfing spots. Those years a good part of my yearly vacations and savings were normally invested in traveling abroad to find better places for surfing, I was really into it!
But after a few years of joys and sorrows, dreams and frustrations, weather forecast’s addiction, longboards vs shortboards, long drivings to chase waves despite the little satisfaction of short rides, just like I had started surfing very quickly, I suddenly came to a bitter decision to stop it until the moment I would have been able to wake up every morning with the ocean in front of my eyes.
So, running alongside my “standard” life which was somehow flowing smoothly in the “city” between my studies and my first jobs, in my twenties there was a part of me already aware of what was important to myself: staying outdoors, doing sports, living close to nature and, as a natural consequence, traveling.