Words by Chris Del Moro
Italians are known internationally for the beautiful land they call home, their tasty culinary contributions and for being one of the most hospitable family-oriented tribes in the world. I am a perfect example of a product of these deeply held Italian traditions. I was born into the Italian culture a blond haired vegetarian via my hippy Californian ocean mama and my city-dwelling Italian father. From the beginning I was different. My alternative ways tested my family on a daily basis. Despite their best attempts to mold me, I was always greeted with open arms, just as if I was one of the other dark haired boys who schooled me on the soccer field. Italy is a melting pot. A strip of land so beautiful and intriguing, it has been inhabited by various cultures and travelers for thousands of years. To me, the most beautiful part of Italian history is; despite the centuries of wars, and spread of globalization and the general loss of their history, Italians have maintained their family traditions and in turn have greatly inspired the world with their own.
I spent the first five years of my life raised in a small countryside farm in Tuscany. My father worked as a sales rep for Giorgio Armani and my mother as then and now is a kind-hearted angel sent to guide and protect me. My mother and I moved back to Los Angeles when I was young, but I would return to Italy for the summers and was able to stay connected with my Del Moro family. For me it was a time where I found independence, where my creative world was greatly stimulated by surroundings and a time where I embraced the great importance of “famiglia”.
As a child, my romantic summers were happily spend wandering the Italian coastlines with a dive mask and Nonna’s Italian lunch packs. Somewhere around high school, my obsession to the sea and the art of riding waves consumed me. My thoughts were becoming plagued by homesickness and a nagging feeling that my California friends were neck deep in summertime surf and endless swells. In hindsight, I’m thankful I wasted only a few weeks soaked in self pity because the often flat, summertime blues I was used to, gave way to a strong northwest wind storm which resulted in the first rideable Mediterranean waves I had ever seen. That single day was a great shift in my life; it connected my love of riding waves and my appreciation for Italian culture.
My mind was sent into orbit thinking of the possibilities ahead and since this was only the mid-90’s, surfing and surf spots around Italy were still basically empty. I started making friends in the water and learning about Italian surf culture. I was being educated with the folklore of Italian waves and groomed to ride them as well as the many undiscovered waves I was yet to find. When I ran into Nico and Luca surfing Cardiff around 1999, they became brothers to me. They took me under their wings and taught me the ways of Italian surfing. Those two individuals have always intrigued me with their nomadic search for waves, their genuine aloha spirit, their complete devotion to the sea and to bringing their culture with them no matter how far away from “the boot” they roamed.
After years of traveling the globe in search of oceanic stimulus, I reached a point where I wanted to explore these Italian surf fantasies that I had accumulated. I was ready for a grand adventure surrounded by friends in my homeland. I set my intention to share the wonderful aspects Italy is known for and at the same time highlight the flourishing Italian surf culture that is forging a unique water tribe, steeped in good vibes.
The Bella Vita film project is a wonderful manifestation of these childhood dreams. It has allowed me the ability to reconnect with my family, my friends and the natural spaces we explored over the course of our three-month long wander-bout. It feels surreal that I was able to share that time and space with such a talented group of filmmakers and friends. I am indebted to Mr. Baffa for the tireless work, skill and love he has put into telling the story of surfing in Italy. Thank you for your time and interest.