Discovering Elba’s “hidden” surf in the company of Simona Marotta. Photography by Roberto Ridi
“I’d never have thought that you could surf the waves around Elba, but this island is so beautiful and full of surprises,” says Simona Marotta.
Simona, a keen sportswoman and avid reader, discovered surfing ten years ago when her son Francis began under the guidance of Davide, a pioneer of the sport on Elba. She threw herself into the waves and started this fantastic, yet strange and mysterious sport. Now, in her free time, Simona likes to follow the surfers as they “dance” out at sea off the coast of Elba.
Surfing the waves, Island of Elba.
“Surfing came to Italy relatively recently,” says Simona. “It all started in the ’70s, on the north Tyrrhenian coast. Elba began to see surfers in the mid-1990s and today, from those pioneers, a third generation of young enthusiasts has been born.”
Surfing around Elba calls for preparation to identify the ideal spots; you need to be familiar with the winds, depths and sea currents.
During the day, conditions can change and so you’ll need to go somewhere else. But the island’s small enough to get there quickly. And there’s so much to discover.
Surfing the waves, Island of Elba. Get ready
On windy days, I get up early and after some exploration, I chose the best spot, grab my surfboard and ride the waves until sunset. It’s hard work swimming against the current as you try to interpret the movements on the surface, waiting for the right wave. But when it arrives, the effort was all worth it! The dance begins and even though it lasts only a few moments, it’s thrilling.
When I ask Francesco what surfing means for him, Simona tells us again, he talks about the emotion of the sea, the sense of freedom between the waves, a cosmic and spiritual experience that goes beyond sport and he’ll cite the words of Miki Dora, “My whole life is this escape; my whole life is this wave I drop into, set the whole thing up, pull off a bottom turn, pull up into it, and shoot for my life, going for broke man.”
Surfing the waves at sunset, Island of Elba
Elba is full of ideal spots for surfing, especially when the Scirocco, Mistral or Libeccio winds blow, stirring up some fantastic sea storms. The favourite surfing haunts of Francesco, Davide and fellow islander surfers are a closely kept secret, so sadly we can’t tell you more. But, when the Scirooco or Libeccio winds blow, we suggest you watch out for surfers off the great sandy beaches on the south coast. And when the wind comes from the west, go to northwest part of the island where surfers dance into the sunset and even later.
Surfing the waves, Island of Elba
TIPS FOR SINGLES
Cavoli, a beach frequented by many young people is the ideal spot for you. Plenty of fun surfing with winds from the south. An aperitif at the beach bar, often the venue for parties and music with DJs. We recommend accommodation in a delightful design hotel not far away, where you’ll find a personal manager able to help you plan every detail of your stay.
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TIPS FOR FAMILIES
Shops and bazaars selling beach toys often have soft surfboards without sharp edges, suitable for young novices. On Elba’s sandy beaches, your children will love having a go at surfing. Here are two ideal places for children:
Accommodation solution in a design hotel with connecting family rooms >
MARINA DI CAMPO BEACH
Accommodation solution in a family friendly hotel >
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Photo ©Roberto Ridi