di Erika Scafuro
From today there is one more reason to love the sea with every condition and in every season. A sup board born from the partnership between Safe, the first italian business entirely dedicated to inflatable stand up paddle and Bear Surfboards.
Alessandro Onofri, surfer, Italian champion of sup wave and founder, together with Daniele Cimatti, of the Italian brand Safe reveals us some preview about the Safe x Bear stand up paddle board and tells us some anecdotes about his career and his love for the sea.
What is your first memory on the surfboard?
“II started surfing with a blue and red beach mattress in canvas, without knowing that surfing existed in Italy. It was 1994. I immediately realized that getting carried away by the waves was a very good thing. The next year, in 1995, my aunt gave me a bodyboard that she found in a shop in Cesena called White Reef and I tried to catch the waves with the bodyboard. I was bewitched by it. All this thinking that in Italy surfing could not exist because I had no kind of reference. Until, at the end of that summer, I met some people from Romagna who were surfing and they told me that even in that area you could surf, that even in Italy there was a reality about surfing. And from there it all began. Anyway I have the first memories with a blue and red mattress”.
When and how did you approach the discipline of stand up paddle?
“It happened around 2008, when I started having back problems and these stand up paddle boards started to show around. I have seen them for the first time in Hawaii in 2006. I tried a sup board in 2008 when told me it could be very useful as a therapeutic mode for my back. At the time I lived in the Canary Islands and I already suffered a lot with my back. From there I started to do stand up paddle as a training and then I started to catch the waves. It was another fun way to play with the sea and from there it all began”.
You are Italian multi- champion of SUP wave and you have achieved victories and excellent results in surfing championships. What was the greatest victory of your career?
“The best moment of my career was the 2012 ISA World SUP Championship in Peru. But the most beautiful victory was in 2017 in Capo Mannu, Sardinia, with the FISW Surf Games. Because it is a place that I consider home, since I spend half my time there. I live between Romagna and Sardinia. That competiton was the first time with the presence of the Federation, there was an exceptional organization, the participation of the best athletes…winning the title there, in front of my house in Capo Mannu, has been something extraordinary”.
The sup board Bear x Safe is the result of the partnership between Bear and your brand Safe. Tell us about this project.
“Today Bear Surfboards is a reference brand, a reference icon especially with Big Wednesday. In recent years our company Safe is having a great success, so this partnership with Bear will be winning! The sup board will be an All Round, suitable for the fun of the whole family. What I want to give as a message is to love the sea and the sport. Because with an All Round sup board you can enjoy excursions in the sea, you can catch the waves, you can do anything, but mainly you can have fun enjoying the sea”.
As a rider you have travelled a lot around the world. Which destination would you recommend for a surftrip?
“I was lucky enough to visit all the continents, visit more than 30 countries overlooking the ocean. From Australia, to the Pacific islands, the islands of the Indian Ocean, South America, Africa…Perhaps the most amazing place to surf has been in Polynesia, Tonga, because there was no one, it was really pristine and wild. It was fantastic. Tonga is an extremely wild place, an incredible place”.
The safety aspect is also linked to the stand up paddle. Have you ever been in a rescue operation?
Absolutely. I am also a lifeguard. A job that I did full time in the Summer seasons before I had my company Safe. Now I have the chance to continue doing it for a few days, because I like it. It’s something I feel to do because save a life is priceless as the idea of being there to help a person. That’s why I still do this job. We found that the sup board is undoubtedly the best solution in case of rescue, for example compared to the rowing boat, because you can use it in any sea condition”.
Sup touring is a sustainable way to discover the beauty of the coast. What was the most exciting excursion?
“Circumnavigate the island of Formentera. We organized the touring out of season: equipped with backpacks and tents, we had various stops to sleep. It was too beautiful”.