Welcome to the second episode of the 5th series of our podcast.
Today we continue our journey on the best surf podcasts around the world with Tuttologic Surf Podcast, a podcast 100% made in Italy and created by Leonardo Franceschini.
We spoke with him about surf, surf culture, surfing in Italy and much more!
You can find the episode online on all major podcast platforms, please do not forget to rate us!
TTOS: Aloha Leonardo, welcome to the show! Where are you today?
Thank you, Alessandro, thanks for this invitation, I'm really glad to be here and congrats for your podcast because you are such great hosts and today I'm really grateful to be here. Today I'm in bologna, which is the city where I live in since 2019 and bologna for our listeners is pretty much halfway from the Adriatic and Tirrenic seas… I'm in the middle of the land “Pianura Padana”, too far from the sea…. that’s a bit of a problem for me, but I'm working here, I’m a communication manager, I'm currently here to make some good work and trying to decide where to go on the next job, maybe on the sea or on the ocean, that would be better.
Bologna is a good city to live in if you're not a surfer, because, if you're a surfer, it's pretty bad….
Even if I can arrive in the Versilia, which is a place where we got a lot of swell compared to Italian standards…. There we can surf, in the winter, two days a week, but, during summertime, is bad, no surf. What is left for us is to wish, to dream, about where you're going when we are off, in holiday, in August or something…..
I'm originally from Rome, I’m used to a noisy city with a lot of crowd and traffic jams, I lived in Milan too, which is similar to Rome for some reasons, but I think that, in the future, I will move to some other places maybe close to the sea.
TTOS: today we are gonna talk about many things, but the first question that I have for you is, in your opinion, what is the most important thing in surfing?
That's a difficult question, but I think I will give you an unpopular answer because you know, we are used to be a lot politically correct in this period of time. I think that, for me, the best thing in surfing is improving. The better thing is when you realize that your friends are watching you when you're like smashing your wave, you know, that that's a big thing because I love to score good waves with my friends and it's so good when you got the best wave of the day and when you come back to the lineup, your friends say “oh, you rip, you smashed that wave!”. That's for me the greatest thing in surfing because I love to compete and I love to improve. For me having fun means that, every time I go in the water I understand that I'm getting better and I’m able to do more, more turns or like going faster or reading the wave. Well, getting a barrel, that's the better thing for me, the best thing in surfing for me.
I think that, let's be honest, we all love to be recognized as the best in with our peers, I don't think that is the mindset that every person that come in the water have, but for me, it's like that…
I grew up playing a couple of sports at a good level, primary water polo…. I’m currently a water polo player playing like in the fourth division in Italy (Italy is very good in water polo, we are like Olympic champion world champion)
When you go surfing, in my opinion, you don't have to doubt about it, just go out… you just put your wetsuit and didn't even look at the sea… go surfing because every time you can learn something and have fun just for one wave, one turn and you made your session.
TTOS: Let's talk about you as a surfer, what you like to surf, which kind of board you like to surf?
I’m really impressed by Stab magazine and their projects, they are really inspirational for me. One of their last project is called “Electric acid surfboard test”, with professional surfers like Mason and Coco Ho, it is a format where good surfers use a lot of strange board like twins, channel bottom fishes and all kind of that stuff.
I would like to go into the strange board world because I think that could let you feel more connection with the wave. A part of this, I surfed a lot like of thrusters and squash tails, it depends on the wave… In Italy (I'm a pretty heavy guy), I'm used to surf with smaller boards with a lot of foam under my chest because you need a lot of foam to surf over here as waves are really mushy. You surf all days with 5/7, 5/8 with a lot of foam and then, when it's little bit better, you surf with a grower.
When I travel I use different kind of boards, like when I go to Portugal or Indonesia….
TTOS: How did you come up with the idea of doing podcast about surf for italians?
It's hard to answer because I started writing about surfing when I was like 19/20 years old.
Now I'm 28 and I wrote for six or seven years “La Gazzetta dello Sport” , which is pretty much like ESPN in the US, it's the biggest sports media which is a newspaper, but also website. I've been lucky because, when I started, Leonardo (Fioravanti), Francisco (Porcella) were at the top of their career, they were going up and up in the international stage… I was lucky to be there at the right moment…
I started surfing at seven years old, for me it is a big passion with which I grew up with, as I said, I'm from Rome where I met Roberto (D’Amico), Leonardo and other surfers, when I was a kid and we grew up together, we knew each other.
Based on my personal and professional experience, I thought that it was a good thing to create a podcast and start talking about surfing because in Italy, surfing is getting bigger and bigger. We are a small community, but very hardcore people, we love to share, we love to be recognizable and get out there in the best surf spots … we all know each other.
Making a podcast was one of my dreams, until when, another friend of mine, which is Tommaso Bardini a great surf photographer (Italian) that worked with a lot of good surfer told me “well, we have to do that”, let's start this podcast because right now it's the right moment, other surf Italian medias were not interested in doing it.
We started with three big Italian names (Roberto, Francisco and Leonardo) and they were so happy about this project, they told us, go on, keep pushing, because we need not only a podcast, but a surf media, like what you (TTOS) are doing. The podcast exploded in into our hands, we didn't expect that success. Now in September (this interview has been recorded in August 2021) we are about to go out with a website, another couple of stuff, good stuff that I hope will make our listeners and our readers happy about what we are doing.
TTOS: It's very interesting, you know, because the surf Italian culture, you know, it's a very powerful thing, even if we don't have like the best waves of the world, the surf community is very strong and is growing. If you go around, you see people talking about surfing, people starting to be interested about this world that of course, it's very far, especially if you live in a city far from the sea…
I told you that I play water polo and in my team there are two guys that started surfing two years ago, when I got into the team, they knew I was a surfer and they started to asking me a lot of things, a lot of things. I talked to them and say, okay, guys, let's go, I will tell you what I know about surfing and most of all, the most important thing in Italy is be aware about the spots and the conditions you have to look at the forecast all the time, if you know how to read the forecast, you will get a lot of better waves and you will improve faster, quicker.
TTOS: Let's go back to the podcast, how do you usually select the guests of the show?
I will tell you the rules for this first season, I try to make balance between people that have many interesting things to say and people that have already popularity.
When you start a podcast, if you want to be listened, and if you want to success, you gotta be recognizable straight away.
You have like ¾ months to make the podcast successful and let people talk about what you're doing, so the rule now is to try to balance between what people can bring to the podcast (about contents and meaningful things) and what they represent on social media, but in future, I will also speak with people that are not in social media and discuss more contents in deep.
TTOS: now a very difficult question, among the 18 episodes that you have done so far, was there one that you particularly liked?
It's really hard, it's strange because when I talk with someone and I'm the one interviewing them, I can see the episode from the outside and I'm not used to listen myself later when I publish the episode. I'm focused on what I'm doing, but I can tell you that one moment in which I was pretty excited was when we were talking with Leonardo (Fioravanti) and he told us that he was about to do a wave pool in Italy, close to Rome. Nobody really knew about that, he was he was giving us a big news with the record on. I was like, “okay…tomorrow, we're gonna have a lot of noise and a lot of beef on the social media”.That was a really good moment to start the podcast and, when I talk with people, because of my journalistic background, I can see if they are giving me some good news some material to cut a little piece of the interview and put it on the social media to create some hype before the episode. That was a key moment!
Another good shot was the interview with Roberto D’Amico, he's a great guy, he's a friend of mine…. we talked about a lot of things and he's another big supporter of my podcast, he always sends me feedback about every episode and tells me “ you have to be hard, you have to do the worst questions, because we need to have someone that is the voice of Italian surfing”
TTOS: What is the key challenge in making the podcast, in your opinion?
When I started, I was a little bit worried about editing, but it was really easy to learn, now I think, a really important factor is rhythm, because we are living in an age where people attention is really low, they are used to scroll on Instagram, fast…they see a content for one second, two second, and that's all. It’s really a hard challenge to let people listen to a podcast of like one hour, 50 minutes, 40 minutes….it's hard to think about a content and audible content that will perform, even if it's so long. All the time I try to getting balance between good content, a really spontaneous show and what people want, I do this part for passion, that's the main fuel in this period of time. I hope that this podcast will let Italy and Italian surf culture grow, I want to be listened by more people, more and more people to spread the message. For me, the main issue is about time and rhythm, giving the rhythm to the chat and understanding where to end.
TTOS: What is the main objective you have with the podcast?
I will be really honest, the main focus is always about to try to make the bridge between the people that started surfing in Italy 20/30/40 years ago and the people that surf right now… I'm trying to mediate
The other thing is surfing and living about talking about surfing for me is a dream. I will try to make this project sustainable… like a real job, because I think that you, me, a lot of other people, which are really passionate about surfing and we are doing something good, not only for us, but for everybody out there, we need to be in some way, some returns
it's not only content for everybody, just because we are passionate, I think that surfing in five years, maybe will be a real business, something like other sports… I'm used to compare surfing to what happened UFC UFC, like in 10 years it had real skyrocket growth. I think that surfing should be more serious about, about what is doing and WSL and Australia, USA, even France in Europe are doing the things good and I think that in Italy we need to do the same….Be professional doing a lot, but pretending more, we need to be more professional because sometimes when we focus on the, on the ultimate goal, we do great things.
TTOS: I totally agree with you and, if you think about the industry in Italy now, we have some brands that are owned by Italians. Bear, Deus and then we have a lot of great shapers that are very professional and making a living out of a very niche market. We have also surf festivals, all around the country, surf schools, a lot of them…..surf pools maybe in the future….
Is there a guest that you really looking forward to host in your show?
I don't think about one guest, but I think about maybe a concept or a way of talking with someone, because, as we already discussed, every big name in Italy pretty much has already been to my podcast. I'm trying to create new formats, new way of talking with people, new way of engaging people. maybe talking with Leonardo and Roberto about something we never discussed before…. I'm not afraid of trying new things, new stuff. If I have to think about a guest in Italy, I'm looking forward to talk with a lot of people that made great our surfing in the past years and started our movement, I will do everything I can to get in touch with them.
Maybe people that, as we already said, are even not on Instagram or on Facebook, and you have to go like searching for the phone number, that could be a great thing. I will do that to talk about people that were pioneer years because we had Italian surfing pioneers, it's important that new generations and beginners will be aware of what happened 20/30 years ago. That's what I wanna in the next months, in the next years. Internationally I would love to have Mick Fanning as guest of my show, 3 times world champion, but also because of his attitude and his behavior… I love how he always looked at surfing.
Mick Fanning could be a great deal and another one that I'm looking with a lot of attention is Josh Kerr, not only because of its incredible surfing style, but even because of his entrepreneurship attitude, he di a lot of great things when he retired , companies like the one that you can share boards all over the world (waveco), rent a board
TTOS: We gonna finish our interview with a short Q/A session, please answer the first thing that comes up to your mind…
Best surfboard you ever ridden…
Maybe it's an Al Merrick rocket wide channel islands…. I had one for the last three years, which is pretty dinged and smashed in the nose and in the tail.
TTOS: Your favorite shaper
DHD, Darren Handley or Al Merrick Channel Islands surfboards
TTOS: Your favorite song
I can think about video edit, we met with a friend of mine when we went to Chile and there was a song that was called “go f##k yourself” and the band was called 2feet
TTOS: Your favorite surf spot in Italy?
I will say for sure Banzai a little place on the coast north of Rome, like 40 to 50 kilometers north Rome. And by is pretty much the Italian vessels the place where you can learn how to surf a proper wave doing turns and riding the wave, understanding where to go, to do like the maneuver, where to pump on the wave and gaining speed.
TTOS: Who's your favorite surfer?
Another unpopular answer, I love the role approach of Zeki from Hawaii, he is one of my favorite surfer because he is so powerful, he is a big guy like me and really heavy with a row and powerful approach.
He and also Michel Bourez
TTOS: Last question, we want to know your best relationship advice…
I will talk about my family because I'm really a good family guy, I'm really close to, to my parents and my brothers, they support me in every decision. I'm growing up with my friends, with my girlfriend doing my stuff, but I'm always happy to have communication with them and getting advice for my father.
The main thing for me about relationship is having friends and sport is a big link to get new friends and being part of a group, because when you are in a team, like in water polo, when I came to bologna was I was really lonely, but when I started playing with them, they became my new family and they opened the city to me and they like to getting me around the city.
Having friends and family, that's a big thing about relationships.