photos by Timo

interview by Benny Cunthorpe

Recently the editor saw you surfing with gloves and no boots? Is this a new fashion statement, sort of like Michael Jackson or  Mr X back in the day?

Leo: Um, who is Mr X?

He was a pro surfer in the ‘80s called Glen Winton who wore gloves.

Um okay, no it’s not fashion, my hands just get super cold. After about 20 minutes they go numb, so I wear gloves.

How were the waves?

Yesterday I had two surfs and played nine holes of golf. I surfed in the morning, then had a golf lesson, and then went and surfed Bourdaines late and it was firing, like fully barreling. 

If you want to be a pro surfer you have to play golf don’t you?

Well I suck at golf, but there’s a lot of good golf courses where ever you go so you might as well play.

You’ve surfed with Kelly Slater, have you played golf with him?

I have once or twice and he is so competitive

What even with little kids?

Nah not with me, but with the other people he plays with. But he’s really good at golf.

You are 14, and come from Italy, but live in France, what languages do you speak?

I speak Italian, French, English and Spanish and I’m learning Portuguese. 

Does that help when you can speak to the girls in the different countries?

For sure, you can just go straight up to them and chat. 

And I heard you did a bit of school in Australia this year?

I went to school in Australia for three months at Palm Beach. It was pretty cool, one of the main subjects was surfing, so we went surfing. And it was warm.

You speak a lot of languages, but what did the Aussies teach you about their language?

Well yeah a lot of people say, ah actually I can’t tell you that one...

Go on Leo, tell me, I promise I won’t print it (which was a lie, but I’ve only printed this to teach Leo a lesson that are surf journalists are lying scum that are not be trusted)

Well a lot of the Aussies, instead of saying  “That guy over there" will say (adopting a pretty good Aussie accent) “That c**t over there" or when I’ll say “see that dude over there" they’ll say “see that c**t over there." And they say maate, and I reckon, and heaps, and at the end of every sentence they always end with it ay,  like (Aussie accent again) “I reckon that looks like fucken heaps of fun, ay"

And you live in France now, but want country will you compete for?

Italy, definitely Italy. 

Are there any other good young surfers like you from Italy?

There is Joao Marco Maffini, who is half Hawaiian and half Italian and he charges like massive Jaws and he’s only two years older than me. He’s really good. 

Would you want to go and surf Jaws with Marco?

No way, but I did surf Big Pipe this year, like 3rd Reef. This year I want to go back and catch a second reef Pipe wave. 

Make sure you pack your brown boardshorts then

Uhmm yeah, sometimes you feel like you are going to poo your pants.

And where do you go next? 

I’m going to Italy for the weekend, and then I’m going to California, which should be cool?

What do you like about it?

The waves are pretty fun and there’s all the blonde girls.

What’s your chat up line?

I just say I’m from Italy, and they go, ohh that’s so cool. Although I think most of them wouldn’t have a clue where Italy is!

You don’t have a girlfriend then?

Nah, I travel too much (thus ending the interview and setting a record for the youngest surfer to ever use one of pro surfers oldest lines)