La Dolce Vita

Emiliano Cataldi, 30

Rome, Italy

Emi Cataldi started surfing twenty years ago at a beach break south of the Eternal City, and has never looked back: “My dad took me to ride some glassy little waves on our windsurf boards, I’ve never set foot back on a windsurf board since," Emi recalls. Unsurprisingly, surfing in Italy requires a fair bit of driving around, chasing generally short-lived swells all over the famous bootleg. “You can’t just sit and wait for your spot to go off," Emi adds, “but if you have it dialled you can get some really fun waves, and driving around is pretty cool too, you get to see all the beautiful places, old towns, eat really good food… and yeah, there’re some really beautiful girls here too."

A civil engineering graduate, these days Emi dabbles only occasionally in that profession, preferring to spend his time travelling on surf trips and working for magazines as a writer and photographer (see his story from Egypt p90). When we caught up with Emi, he’d just got back from two months on the North Shore, and was already turning his thoughts towards pending trips to the Maldives, Middle East, West Africa, Indo and the Philippines and a return to Hawaii all planned for 2006, as well as chasing Med swells around his native lands.

Emi reckons the surf community will continue to grow in Italy, but at the same time cherishes the unique cultural heritage of his country. “Italy has an old-fashioned charm that never grows old, and the more things change the more they stay the same, which is probably why so many people fall in love with the place."

Emi rides for: Bear, Reef, Xcel and Pike surfboards.