Watch | The Island
Roby D'Amico finds high and lows in the North Atlantic
We first met Alessandro Dotti a few years back in Italy during a longboard event in Levanto. He took us to Milan to show us around, and after the restaurant he'd wanted to take us first of all was shut, we randomly ended up in another place nearby.
All seemed in order at first, a pretty standard traditional, non-touristy, side street place for locals with great food, of course.
Then we noticed a gay couple at a table nearby, both wearing Hugo Boss SS trenchcoats. Not something you see every day in Capbreton.
A closer inspection of the decor revealed wall to wall imagery of Il Duce and even a couple shots of... the Führer. Yikes! The food was delish but the vibes a bit... mass genocide-y.
Anyway, everyone got out alive.
Having loved Alessandro's recent film The Island starring Roby D'Amico, we thought we'd catch up with the man for a little pow-wow on the project, currently playing as a Vimeo Staff Pick.
Tell us about yourself Alessandro...
I surf for fun and I do fashion and music videos as a professional. When I shot surfing, it’s just out of a pure passion for the sport.
How's the surf filmmaking scene in Italy?
There's not too many of us, but we're all good friends and work together when we can. The scene is growing pretty fast though, thanks to Luca Merli, we have the Surf & Skate Film Festival. The second edition just finished and it’s definitely creating much more interest in surf filmmaking... I hope that in a couple of years the scene will be much bigger.
Who do you look up to as film makers?
Vimeo is my bible, I watch hundreds of films every week, it doesn’t matter if it’s fashion, surfing or documentaries, I just love everything. In terms of surfing, Joe G is my favourite. His movies are just beautiful and totally different from the others. He tells stories in his own way, which is what I’m trying to do.
Roby D'Amico might be the strongest man in surfing... that chest! Is he on the carbs/pasta regime, or more of a protein guy?
He eats everything and he’s a real good cook, too. During the trip he was cooking different dishes every night... But when he cooks pasta amatriciana, he's unbeatable.
"The plan was to go for a week... but we stayed for three"
Tell us a bit about the trip... you guys saw a swell and went?
Exactly, it's been a while since Roby wanted to surf this incredible left. We monitored the first large north west swell with light east winds and decided to leave. It could have been perfect, but the swell had too much north in it and we saw waves passing off the coast. The plan was to go for a week... but we stayed for three. Then a little of everything happened... we found another crazy wave. We'll be back for sure.
We heard it can be real sharky there... any trouble?
No troubles, but looking for waves, we surfed and filmed two days in this desert bay on the east coast of the island. There was nobody in the water but it is quite normal, even in the most famous spots it often happens to surf alone. At the end of the second day, talking to locals, they told us that that spot was one of the most sharky on the island... luckily there are plenty of fish in the water, and I think sharks prefer them to us humans.
Really loved the part with the groms getting pushed into waves and also the locals shredding... Pretty cool to put some local flavour in, it's not something that always happens on edits made from swell chase trips.
The locals have been an integral part of our journey. They are true legends. Roby knew more or less everyone already, for me and Nils it took just a couple of days to get into the gang. They helped us out, took us around, recommended restaurants and where to go partying, we spent most of the day with them. Litcha in particular was phenomenal. We wanted the session filmed on the big day to be a kind of homage to them, to thank them for everything they did for us. Many children on the island don't have the opportunity to buy a surfboard and go surfing, many live in the favelas and Roby wanted to do something to help them. He brought t-shirts and caps and he took them surfing with one of his boards. It was certainly one of the most touching moments of the trip.
We were actually in the Canaries when Roby made his comeback after the injury... he was pretty stoked to get back ripping after all that time out.
Yeah, he was of the water for 3 months... He broke two ankle ligaments, the worst injury of his career. But thanks to CONI (Italian National Olympic Committee) he was back in better shape than before. The problem is that one month after those first sessions in the Canaries, he fractured the other foot. It's been a tough year, but it's part of the game and Roby does not get knocked down for long by anything or anyone. He’ll be back with a vengeance.