I Heart Italy: Part II

posted by / News, Photo / March 3, 2010

heart-italy-2

German gentleman Marlon Lipke familiarizes himself with some Mediterranean coping.

Marlon Lipke and Marc Lacomare rendezvous in the Mediterranean island of Sardinia for a date with food, drink, family and surf

By Andrew Lewis

There are seven of us packing up at dawn. That’s already a crowd. Then we go for a breakfast of chocolate and marmalade croissants and espresso at the local hotspot (and only open seaside establishment serving food and drink for miles around) called Lepori Bar and Gelateria. Marco, you see, is a bit of a don – or a capo – around these parts, so as we burst through the little café’s doors and step into the dusty morning light seeping in from outside, there is a bit of a crowd there to greet us. “Ciao, Marco!” an old man sings from behind his newspaper. “Bonjourno!” a group of very Italian looking guys in leather jackets says to us excitedly as we approach the bar. They’re Marco’s boys and apparently they’re coming with us today. Go ahead, guess what their names are. Mauro, Alessandro and – I’m sure you nailed this one – Gigi. Scratch our comely entourage of seven, now we’re styling with ten.

A stroke of luck has stalled the wave generating northwest Mistral winds coming down from the Gulf of Lion and pushed the arrival of our swell back a day, which helps explain yesterday’s meager conditions. In true wind swell fashion, however, things are sure to fill in fast. In a flurry of animated eehyy!s, oooh!s and a thousand fierce hand gestures, Marco and the boys decide on a spot two hours away on the very southwest corner of the island. It is, they proclaim confidently, called Pipeline. From my cozy, caffeinated vantage point at the bar, I spy out through the salty windows of Lepori and across the cold, flat sea and can’t for the life of me imagine the stuff of Pipeline. Nevertheless, we pay up and start south, three cars deep.

A little note on surfing in Sardinia: In a place that is still going strong at the ripe age of 500 million years old, surfing is, well, embryonic. In 1978, a man from Italy’s northwest coast by the name of Alessandro Dini became the first surfer and thus godfather of surfing in Italy. Since Alessandro and friends’ implementation of surf culture in Italy and the subsequent exposure to the motherlands of Southern California, Hawaii and Australia via the Internet Age, a healthy gaggle of devotes has matured in the whole of the country. But still, this shit is fresh. And unlike the jaded masses of the aforementioned surf Mecca’s, Italian surfers stick together like the Gotti’s – and they are very much more stoked than you.

So it is no surprise that when our entourage bounces into the Pipeline parking lot we are greeted by what seems like all of Sardinia’s surfers and, of course, everyone knows each other. Pipeline turns out to be a double cheeseburger (surprise) so the pack heads to a little beachbreak cove on the other side of the headland. As I mentioned, Sardinians are stoked on surfing and word has gotten out that Marc Lacomare and Marlon Lipke are in town, shooting and filming.

At the cove, Flindt and filmer Greg Martin find themselves trailed by paparazzi everywhere – some poaching their angles, some hiding in the bushes, some pointing their pricey digitals straight into harsh afternoon light and shooting God knows what. Some guys are even dressing up their boards with fresh stickers. Clearly, this is a momentous occasion in Sardinia and not one local is taking it for granted. Especially young Alessandro Piu, who shows up with the godfather himself, Alessandro Dini. The 20-year-old Sardinian turns out to be a pretty apt surfer and cool kid and since he’s with the godfather, well, he immediately becomes a permanent member of our entourage. Twelve guys now, four cars.

That night over an unfathomably delicious Italian dinner at one of Marco’s watering holes, Gigi pulls out his laptop and calls everyone over. The main image on one of Sardinia’s main surf sites, Wipeout.it, is of Marlon; the angle quite paparazzi. Marco and the boys cheer with delight and order another bottle of red wine to further relish in their successful exploitation. Flindt just laughs indifferently. “Huumphff…the Internet Age…” I hear him mumbling. The night is late and the wine is strong. Tomorrow the swell will peak and Marco and Alessandro are making some calls. The familia, you see, is multiplying.

After you surf, you eat. After you don't surf, you eat. Pizza. And drink wine. It's fantastic.

After you surf, you eat. After you don't surf, you eat. Pizza. And drink wine. It's fantastic.

Marlon and Marc power up on croissants at Lepori Bar and Gelateria.

Marlon and Marc power up on croissants at Lepori Bar and Gelateria.

Not piping, but extremely pleasant. Southwest coast.

Not piping, but extremely pleasant. Southwest coast.

More eating and drinking. Marc, Marlon and filmer Greg Martin.

More eating and drinking. Marc, Marlon and filmer Greg Martin.

Poaching Jeff Flindt.

Poaching Jeff Flindt.

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