Article and captions by Andrea Bianchi.
Surfing in Italy is a consolidated reality, and nowhere is this more apparent than Sardinia. Surf schools thrive, frothing groms have emerged and surf photographers proliferate. Shapers are, for the first time, developing new boards made in Sardinia, and a grass-roots competition scene is taking off; in short, surfing on the island has matured well beyond the epoch of the pioneers.
Life on the island is poor. No work, inadequate institutions and a severe lack of opportunities. As soon as young people can, they fly off to other destinations to realize their dreams, whether it be to work, or simply complete their studies. Nevertheless, compared with other crisis hit regions of Italy, life is good, thanks to the wonderful natural resources that heighten the quality of life.
The island boasts 1,149 miles of coastline, much of which is dotted with reefs and points. The Tyrrhenian Sea stretches east, and the Sea of Sardinia lies west. Setups on the West Coast benefit from any atmospheric disturbances that occur in that sizeable expanse of water, producing high quality waves for much of the year.
Contrary to the dominant perception of surfers on Europe's West Coast, we do get solid waves in the Mediterranean, and they are savoured as a rare delicacy. These waves are framed by breathtaking scenery, and often sunny skies, as the climate is mild throughout the year, very rarely dropping below 10 degrees.
Sardinia has so much to offer, both its coastline and its wilderness. We are tired of being pigeon-holed as a holiday destination where billionaires moor their plastic yachts. If you look beyond the "Costa Smeralda", there is a coastline boasting great surfing resources, from shapely sandbanks to consistent points. Crucially, it is a place which deserves respect, for nature, for the people who live there, and for its traditions.
The photographic book "1095 Days in Capo Mannu" records three years of swells and surfing all around the best spots of the Island. Browse the online version for free HERE, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase a copy.