Aloha Everyone and welcome to the fifth episode of The Temple of Surf – The Podcast.
I would like to thank you the thousands of you that connected, shared, liked our previous episodes! We promise you to keep surprising you every Monday and Thursday with new interesting episodes about surf, skate culture and much more!
Today with us Roberto D’Amico, Italian Surfer and Nature Lover.
Let’s discover together about his career, future projects and surfing in Italy!
As always, we think is better for you to listen to the interview in Spotify, YouTube, iTunes, Soundcloud and other platforms, otherwise you can just read the interview below…..
TTOS : Hi, Roby, welcome to the show! Where are you today?
Hi, I’m here in Italy. I live near Rome, a little city called Ladispoli, here is where I grew up and where now I spend my quarantine.
That was kind of lucky instead of the guys in the city.
TTOS : How’s it going in Italy in times of coronavirus is your finally over there, right?
Is not really over, but he’s getting a lot better for sure! In the last two weeks, we were finally able to walk out of the house and go to the beach a little bit and finally surf.
We have been quarantined pretty much 60 days on full lock down. And now we are really enjoying every bit of freedom that the government is giving us and hopefully we’ll get out of this situation for real and start traveling again and have our normal life with more respect to mother nature.
TTOS : Today we’re going to talk about surf, you, your future projects, boards, so many things, but the first question that we have for you is what is in your opinion, the most important thing in surfing?
The most important thing in surfing is to be free and to represent yourself like “surfing for yourself and for no one else”, enjoying the moment, the way you like and listen to your soul and go wherever your, heart brings you and enjoy every bit of it.
I like to see the charts I like to bring friends mean with, with me.
I like to… I really dream the day days before…..so when it happens you really have to enjoy and leave the problems on land
In Italy there is not surfing every day, but this maybe makes it more special.
It makes you wish for waves, it makes you wait for waves…. so when there’s waves, it’s really special. It’s never bad. It’s always pumping in my eyes,s o I’m really, really excited on each surf I get to have
TTOS : How did it all started with you and surfing?
Actually, I started to love the sea first….. I started to leave by my sea, by the sea, because of my dad.
He started to teach me how to fish, how to windsurf and how to live in this blue world.
I was skateboarding, skim boarding I was doing a lot of board sports and at the age of eight, a friend of mine gave me his board to try it.
I used to stand up on a boogie board….the feeling on a surfboard was a lot easier then surfing, standing on a bodyboard and it was just another object to have fun in the water.
I really liked that I could do what I was feeling like I would just cut the wave and that was amazing because I was only going straight on, out on a boogie board and on a surf board, I could actually ride, actually do little turns.
That made me really, really excited….then I wanted to do something else.
A couple of years later, I went to my first surf trip. I went to France and I saw that surfing was actually a real sport.
Because here it was just for fun. You know, I was catching waves every night at 7:00 PM because of a boat was passing through and was creating one of two waves.
And I was paddeling there everyday…. just to stand up.
Then I saw the level of the other kids out, outside of eatery and was really, really inspiring.
TTOS : what’s the best spot in Europe in your opinion?
I don’t have a favorite spot…. my favorite spot becomes when I’m with my favorite crew, it can be the best waves out there, but if I’m with the wrong people, I don’t enjoy as much.
I’d rather be alone then, then in a bad crowd.
I really liked Portugal, Spain or France…. I had good times and special moments there.
There are many, many waves yet to be discovered…. even in Europe.
TTOS : Do you remember your first surfboard? The one that you bought?
I had a boogie board first, then I tried this board that was maybe, I don’t know, a five/nine or a five/ten. It was really, really small….I talked to my dad that I really likes surfing and when he showed up with this board, like a six/four, pin tail, fully to get ..huge barrels and I was maybe four foot five high ….I was really, really small.
And yeah, that was my, first board with fire on the rails….Violet and green. I remember, I think someone still had this board. I wish I could get it. I could get it back and surfing it now.
I sold it to buy another one for sure, but if I have the chance now to get it back, I would….
Maybe this is really inspiring because I can do something with social media now, like post a little photo, then ask to, to buy back that surfboard.
It would be really good.
TTOS : how many surfboards do you have?
I feel really, really lucky with the life I have.
The sponsor I’m working with for surfboards is named Pukas, at the moment I might have 20 to 25 surfboards, but I still have in my garage all the boards with my best memories. I didn’t sell them. I just keep them in the garage and I don’t count them.
So the boards I’m using around 20, but I change them all the time.
And you know,at this moment, I’m really liking to change and have different feelings. I’m getting bored of riding all the time the same.
I just started to ride twin fins and the feeling of different lines and different push of the waves. It makes me really excited. It makes me want to go surf more and more even I’m trying these new materials from Pukas which is called INNCA.
This material makes the board different… I never liked poxy because it was too nervous for me, moves too much and doesn’t allowed me to do anything wrong…and I think I do a lot wrong in my surfing for my weight. And I move a lot my feet.
I couldn’t really use poxy, but with this INNCA, which is a new project, I really found that different feeling in between poxy and pu.
The Pu, it a lot slower, of course, like small surf box was too nervous and fast, and this is in between. So I’m really like the flexing and the opportunity that this board is giving me.
TTOS : What was the defining moment of your career?
There are two moments….
In 2003, they took me to the first surf contest here in Italy, Marco Gregori took me , my family came to watch and I won that contest was under 12…. Quicksilver then took me to France, Hossegor and Cap Breton where I’m still actually going every year.
It was there where I saw that this was not only like a hobby or something to have fun, but it was something where I could have learned a lot.
At that time there weren’t dvd around or VHS…. I had nothing to watch, so It was really inspiring to see the 360s or turns that I didn’t even imagine that it was possible to do.
That was the first moment.
After that, I started to competing a lot and getting all the pressure by Italy, all my sponsors….I was getting paid, It was good, you know….. it was like a dream, but at the end I was surfing for the judges….I was surfing for the sponsors, I was not surfing for me.
So…I started to vomit before my heat or started to suffer that pressure. That was, way too much.
And at the age of 18, I was like : “okay, this is not what I want”….. my sponsors wanted me to be like that, but that was not me…. I kind of quit.
This is when I got my new sponsor Reef at the age of 18, they said: we don’t want you to do anything that you don’t want to do. Just be yourself.
I started to travel. I started to bring my crew and travel with the people I wanted to travel and create good content.
And that’s what gave me a full gas and a full gain of surfing and enjoying.
That was until that I went back competing I wanted representing Italy with a full heart and full passion. And it was completely different being who you are instead of being who they tell you to be!
TTOS : How does surf evolve in Italy ?
Surfing in Italy is becoming huge, for the amount of waves we have, the amount of surfers is just not under control.
There are so many surfers out there…
You know, some people are saying “surfing is a fashion”, I say.. all right, surfing can be a fashion, but once you like the fashion becomes passion.
I believe that there are so many passionate people at the moment, and they’re starting to travel and getting the word because surfing is not at all just a turn or a wave, it’s, the whole concept of traveling, is meeting new people.
It’s living this kind of life, that many people dreams, everyone can live it actually as an hobby, as a sport to play instead of other sports, with the lifestyle on the side of it.
TTOS : What was the greatest achievement of your career?
The greatest achievement or my career was my first ever 10 point ride at C. Class, which is not a contests in my eyes…it is a show of barrels in one of the gnarliest waves of Europe.
And I went on to compete and I was, as usual, I was suffering my anxieties, I had asthma….
I was needing like a 9.5 or 9.6 with one minute to go…I had all my friends watching me, a lot of people that came to support me.
I was like, Oh God, you can’t give them this bad results. You know, I really wanted to show what can I do….
So…. there was only one minute left….this wave came and… it looked like a closeout.
It was breaking on the second reef and the tide was like mid to low…..it wasn’t really surfable.
I was like, you know what, I’m going for the glory, whatever…. and I paddled, I went …I pulled in ,like..I almost fell.
My front arm went backward, then I recovered first pit, and spat better again….and I came out and, and just I cried for the next week.
Another achievement was maybe to realize my first movie, which was “the island”.
I had a trip that I did with all the photographers and was in Africa.
I really wanted to go back with a cameraman share the story of that place and when I was able to go and show the images of those people, those waves, the food, the culture, everything, and see it and share it with everyone was a great achievement
TTOS: You surfed with the Italian team, right? Now that surf became an Olympic sport, who is going to represent Italy in next year Olympic games?
For the moment, none of us, is going to represent Italy, because the selection is really, really tough.
I was among those people that were going to represent Italy in El Salvador, this May (2020), but because of the covid, everything got canceled, of course.
But the chances of going are still opened!
The contest is postponed it….I don’t know when yet and hopefully, at that time, I will be in shape to be qualified, to go just represent Italy either then if I can make it or not
As I said, It’s really, really tough the chances are really low, but surfing is a sport where you never know if it could be your day or not the day for someone else, which is a lot better than you.
So it, it really, it’s really an opportunity for everyone
In Italy we have Leonardo Fioravanti, which is the greatest competitor ever, of course it’s going to represent us and hopefully is going to be “his day” or the day of Angelo, which almost qualified in in Tokyo in 2019, or…. it can be my day or someone else who knows.
TTOS: You traveled the world, you told us before about your projects of photography, videography… in your opinion what was your best project so far?
It’s of course “The islands”, this video called the Islands, which is filmed in a couple of different islands in front of Senegal.
The story is great because I had this friend of mine, which is Licea, who came to work here in Italy in my little town.
I invited him to stay at my home, I gave work to him and we really became good friends.
And he was like… “Roby, you should come visit me, where I live is amazing….you know, you will love it. you will love it. “
I was like, God, dude. You know is far, is expensive, to bring two more people with me for the production stuff.
But, at the end, I was finally able to organize it and the way he welcomed me with every other people was amazing! I was really feeling at home and that feeling of being home, not at home, it’s amazing, you know….
You can really see on that video that we were having a good time, even if it’s finished with a bad injury on my ankle and I wasn’t able to surf at all meanwhile there were good waves
We were there for three weeks not getting what we wanted, but that experience made me see things that I would have never seen if there were waves….
It was another way of leaving a trip and it was just amazing.
TTOS: What are your future plans?
I want to be sensible and to sensibilize who has yet not respect for mother nature, respect more the beaches, organize more events.
You know, I think that people don’t know yet how important is to do a little bit to save the planet…
I’m trying to sensibility sizing on that way, without saying “you’re doing wrong”, but instead “you can do better”.
This is a goal I have and then I want to go travel. I miss traveling.
I don’t plan much I just go where the swell is and wherever I go, there is a story to tell.
I just want to go back to what I was supposed to live this year.
TTOS: We’re going to finish our interview with a short Q/A session, please answer the first thing that comes up to your mind. Okay. ?
TTOS: The best surfboard you ever ridden?
Pukas Dark INNCA
TTOS: Your favorite song?
I am a fan of Italian rap, I would say Noyz Narcos Italian rap, Roman.
TTOS: your favorite surf spot in Italy….
My favorite spot in Italy could be Banzai just for the atmosphere It has that I miss every time….it’s my home and that’s where I really liked to go back.
When I’m traveling back home to share those sessions with hundreds and hundreds of people.
TTOS: The best surfer of all time
I like Rob Machado and like then Dane Reynolds for different reasons, but Rob Machado is inspiring. I’m really inspired by him.
I had chances to spend time with him with a and other people too, where it was not feeling really comfortable with myself and he was the guy that really took good care of me.
He was really human, you know, his name is just huge, but in person is, amazing… just amazing.
He told me his story…I had the chance to spend some time with him, then I watched his last movie with a whole of greatest surfers of all time…. I don’t remember the name of the movie with Kelly and him and his story at pipe and everything….it was very cool and inspiring
TTOS: the last question is a bit unusual, we want to know your best relationship advice….,
My best relationship advice. Oh, God ….”stop surfing”!
I always say “Ocean comes first”, but girls don’t really understand that
Recorded in May 2020