This is a short photo story of surfing in Levanto, Italy.
Barefoot adventure. It is rare to get good waves in the summer months in the Mediterranean and even more so in the Adriatic. Thick wetsuits, booties, gloves, and hoods are the name of the game. But every now and then you get a chance for a boardshorts session. If there are no winds or jellyfish to stop you:)
Our local Adriatic spot was small but still fun.
Testing the DIY mouth mount for GoPro camera.
This is what you have to deal with in summer. Tourists trying to steal your waves with pink and blue “surfmats” :). Damn you! Locals only! :D
After a few hours of surfing we were off to Italy. 3 hours sleep at my friends house and 6 hours of driving later we arrived to Italys west coast. This is what greeted us.
Levanto has a strong shorebreak that represents eternal fun for the swimmers and a few gray hair for the lifeguards. Unfortunately for surfers and fortunately for lifeguards the shorebreak is rarely on.
Unlike Adriatic windswells, here the waves are usually accompanied by sun and nice weather. Not only that – you get morning glass and offshores. And midday onshores.
That’s me waiting for a wave. Levanto gets around 150 surf days per year! But you still have to know your weather forecast before going there.
It is a little piece of paradise. Most of the Italy coast has sandy, muddy, shitty, stinky, foamy, yucky water that has you running for showers as soon as you get out, but here the sea is emerald green. That’s me taking off…
In the summer the sea is often full of jellyfish. This time it wasn’t that bad, but I still went for a wetsuit and still got burned a couple of times.
Levanto is a small Italian town stuck between steep hills and the sea. Imagine a grandpa on a bicycle going for a loaf of bread in the morning chatting with the neighbor that is looking through her first floor window overlooking a narrow street littered with cafes, focaccerias (is this spelled right:)? focaccia is kind of like a slice of pizza but not exactly the same) and small stores selling pesto, scarfs, or something. That is what the atmosphere is like and I love it. Cinque terre is also just around the corner if you are in for sightseeing and a few scenic villages.
The surf. The spot needs at least 1.2m of “swell” to work. It’s a deep water spot so if it’s smaller you only get shore pound. The bay has many peaks, from longboard peak on the far left to the occasional right tube at Nadias. It’s not a perfect wave, shifting peaks and closeouts are common. But it is a wave that you can surf:)
I’ve said it and I’ll say it again. Shorebreak seems to be really fun:). Weeee….
Here is proof of my reflexes. This seagull decided to fly 1m above my head this is what the camera captured.
There are a few piers in the bay. I remember when they held a surf competition here in Levanto and waves were so big that a jetski ended up on the rocks of the pier. Another time the world longboard tour came to town. Mediterranean surf skepticism was replaced with many broken longboards… so yeah, this spot can easily also get too big to surf, even though it is considered a “big wave” spot.
This is the longboard peak, a bit protected by the pier that shelters the harbor. Sitting in the lineup you can’t help but imagine how it would be to live in one of the villas overlooking the bay.
Levanto is an autumn, winter, spring surf spot. In summer it only works a couple of times. It’s main season brings empty beaches and parking lots but in the summer the beach is crowded with people sunbathing.
Gelato. That’s Italian for ice cream. And it tastes especially good after two 3h surf sessions.
That’s us saying goodbye to the sea in the sunset. Time to go home and time for another 6h drive. Yawn. Not enough sleep.
This is the pier that protects the small harbor, there is another harbor one on the other side of the bay.
This is 1.8m at 10s. 10s is huge period for Mediterranean. It is actually better if the waves are not too big. Too many closeouts.
Above the beach there is a promenade that sees a mix of surfers coming and going into the water, runners, skateboarders, cute Italian girls, parking lot attendants handing out parking tickets, all mixed into a stream of walkers that come to enjoy some fresh sea air mostly oblivious of the waves breaking a few feet away.
Time to say goodbye and drive home. See you next time Levanto.