“Forza Italia!” he wrote on his Facebook page immediately after his triumph: in October, Leonardo Fioravanti, 17, was crowned under-18 surfing world champion. His name is already in the history books: until now no Italian surfer had ever conquered the world. Leonardo succeeded, taming the waves at Oceanside, California, in six days of competitions and surfboard challenges.
Leonardo’s victory was a particularly sweet triumph: at the beginning of the year, he had an accident during a competition in Hawaii, followed by a long period of rehabilitation. Flooded by messages of support from his many fans, Leonardo was back on his feet in time to compete in and win the world championship. The young Quiksilver athlete truly deserved gold at the ISA 2015 World Junior Surfing Championship, in which 322 top junior surfers from 36 countries all over the world competed.
A TRUE ITALIAN, A CITIZEN OF THE WORLD The young champion hails from Cerveteri (Rome), and is a true “citizen of the world”, having travelled widely and lived abroad, in the USA, Australia and France. Wide Magazine wrote about Leonardo two years ago, when he became 2013 European ASP Pro Junior Champion (Association of Surfing Professionals): on that occasion, Xtreme Video produced the “Italian Surfers” web series about him, where he can be seen riding a Vespa, the undisputed icon of Italian style, and demonstrating his skill in mastering the world’s most famous scooter, as well as the ocean waves. Leonardo has two idols: surfing legend Kelly Slater, 7 times world champion (whom he met in Hawaii), and the Vespa, chosen as the co-star of his web series. Vespa and Fioravanti: a winning duo.
TRACK RECORD: SIX TITLES IN FIVE YEARS Leonardo began surfing at the tender age of four, following his brother Matteo, a surfer with the Italian team. Young Leonardo showed talent and travelled to the Maldives, Australia, Brazil, as well as spending time in Rome to study. He trained with the world’s best surfers to perfect his technique. In 2009, he joined the Red Bull team and has already built up an enviable track record, which he hopes to enhance. In the last five years, he has won six major titles. In 2010, runner-up in the under-14 European Junior Championship, in Viana, Portugal; in 2012, first place in the Rip Curl GromSearch International at Bells Beach, in Australia. Two years ago, European ASP Pro Junior Champion in the Canaries: this was the first time an Italian surfer had won a European ASP title, an historic achievement for Italy and Leo Fioravanti’s best result to date.
After his silver at the European championship, in 2013 Leonardo Fioravanti took home another silver, this time at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championships (in Tola, Nicaragua), and showed his pride in being Italian with the tricolour printed on his shorts. 2014 saw another silver, at the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing – Pro Junior at Manly Beach, Sydney; and this year, he won the gold crown as under-18 world champion. Now he’s ready to move up to the next category: on 8 December 2015 he turns 18. Happy birthday!
"I surf italiani” – Italian Surfers – is a web series launched in 2013 on the then 16-year-old new European ASP Pro Junior Champion, Leonardo Fioravanti. Over the last two years, the videos in the series have attracted 200,000 views, and not just among surfing enthusiasts. In six episodes, the young champion talks about himself, accompanied by image of his splendid prowess riding the waves. Here is the 6-video collection.
Production: Xtreme Video; Filmed by: Jamie Tierney; Sponsored by: Quiksilver; Rider: Leonardo Fioravanti; Music: Sleeping with Fishes (Anders Lewen, Tore Berglund) MAT228 – UPPM.