di Erika Scafuro
To begin to know Alberto De Mario we must start from the tattoo he has on his right arm in which he is depicted as a child, his father and a longboard.
Because for this young man of 25 years, born in Spain where he still lives and half Italian on his father’s side, the passion for surfing and the teachings transmitted by his father have led him to become a surfer.
In addition to devoting himself to longboard competitions, Alberto has built his own professional path that leads him to transmit, for seven years, his passion to those who are lucky enough to learn to surf with him.
Seven years later, now that his business with Manguito Surf is up and running, as a coach he conducts lessons, organizes surfcamps, surfskate lessons and everything else related to the world of surfing.
You started surfing as a kid and haven’t stopped since. Tell us about your first encounter with the waves.
“On January 5, 2001, my grandmother, for the ‘fiesta de los Reyes Magos’ that for spanish is like a second Christmas, gave me a wetsuit and a bodyboard. That day, I was still four years old, was my first encounter with the waves. I got into the water with that board together with my dad, who then put me on his longboard (by chance, ten years later I would have chosen to longboard too).
The peculiar thing is that the first day I entered the water I saw surfers putting on their surf boots and I put on my socks like I was going to school, thinking they were surf boots!
I then continued to train and learn with my dad and my uncle, both surfers. I was still a kid and from 5 to 12 years old I didn’t have continuity with surfing because I dedicated myself to other sports: soccer, tennis, basketball, judo (I even competed in national competitions) and when I was 8 years old I started skateboarding. When I was 15 years old I started competing in surfing competitions”.
You are of Italian origin and in 2012 you also represented Italy at the European Surfing Championships in Lacanau for longboard. Your bond with Italy is very strong, do you come here often?
“When I was 15 years old I started competing: first in shortboard, without getting great results. Then, when I switched to longboard and I reached the second place in a regional competition, I realized I had to focus on longboard. After seven months I was taken by the Italian National Team and I represented Italy in the European Championships in Lacanau, France, coming in fifth place out of twenty-six.
Except now for the pandemic, I usually try to come in Italy twice a year to see my dad and eat good pizza because nobody makes it like him!”.
You currently live in Valencia, what kind of surf spots does the area offer?
“The one I frequent, near the port of Valencia, has a sandy bottom. When there is east direction there is a beautiful wave. When the conditions are there it creates a perfect wave for both learning and surf longboard. I’ve been surfing a lot here in Valencia this winter”.
You are also a surf coach, what is your favorite aspect of teaching?
I teach both beginners and advanced. With beginners I stay in the water with them, while with the more advanced level I offer a premium service that includes for each session video analysis, filming the students while they are in the water and the use of walkie talkies so I can follow them and give advice.
I like to teach especially the beginners, the people who are starting out, because seeing the emotion on the face of that what person gets up on the wave and tells you ‘you were my first teacher’…that emotion will remain for a lifetime because you know you were the first one to allow them to catch the wave. They’ll never forget that. That’s what I like most about teaching surfing. I’ve had students catch their first waves with me and now they’re becoming teachers. It’s very cool. And then for the higher level, I love it when students tell me that with my lessons they feel they have improved”.
Skateboarding is becoming more and more popular among the younger generation. As a surfskate coach what are your next projects?
“I take my students on the flat or very small ramps, it depends on the level they have. The most important thing about the way I teach is that I am a coach who thinks about safety first and then comes everything else. I can’t make you happy if you’re not safe. That’s very important to me.
Soon I’m taking my students to an indoor skatepark, a ship with cool ramps inside. And then at the beginning of June I’m going to Barcelona to do a skate clinic, which is a two-hour intensive surskate lesson for both beginners and advanced riders. I’m working really hard because these clinics allow me to give more value to my business. The first skate clinic I did in Madrid a few weeks ago, it went very well. It was a test with about 15 students that I already knew and some new ones that discovered me on Instagram. Now I’d like to reach 30 people, not more because then you can’t follow everyone”.
What surfcamp are you organizing for this summer?
“I organize surfcamps from July onwards, two per month, for a maximum of five people. This way I can give attention to each individual person, I personally follow the students around the clock. The format is six nights, seven days. Every day there are two surf lessons, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Then during the week there are a couple of surfskate lessons. It’s a very intense experience. We do a lot of theory about surfing, both to understand how the waves form, recognize the wind, and the surfer’s approach when entering the water, understand what fins are, surfboards etc….In one week, you experience surfing in all directions. Then there are extra services that people can buy, like yoga for example. I take care of all the organization, who buys the package doesn’t have to think about anything, just think about surfing. On the locations of the surfcamps I’m still working on it, there will definitely be a surfcamp in Salinas, Asturias, where the biggest longboard festival in Europe is held (which I won in 2016). And then, from October to March, Fuerteventura, here the format changes a bit because on the island you move by van to reach the spots and so you need time to move so there is only one lesson, longer. And then we organize a catamaran excursion to the island of Lobos. I like to organize everything and allow those who attend my surfcamps to be able to get away from it all during that week”