A Chat with San Clemente's Only Italian Surfer

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Meet 28-year-old Stefano Esposito. Stefano comes from a tiny seaside town in Italy called Anzio, which is south of Rome on the Mediterranean Sea, but has been living his childhood dream in San Clemente for the past seven years. Since Leonardo Fioravente is the only other Italian surfer we know who “doesn’t” live here, we thought we’d catch up with one who does to get the inside scoop on what it’s like being a real Italian surfer living in the US of America. GJ interviews….

Ghetto Juice: How did you get interested in surfing while growing up in Italy?
Stefano: I know it's weird! I grew up in Anzio, a small fishing town right on the beach called Anzio. It faces the Mediterranean Sea and has a wonderful beach lifestyle, and I always loved the ocean and the sea since I was a little kid. I was a lifeguard and spent a lot of time fishing. I liked the waves, the forecasting—everything was interesting to me. We get wind swell, most of the time it's cloudy, small, and windy, but it was fun. I always wanted to have a surfboard and be a surfer.

Ghetto Juice: With not much surf though, and no Italians on the World Tour back then, where did you draw your inspiration from?
Stefano: There were no Italians at all on the ASP back then. But we had TV, though, and classic movies like Point Break , Big Wednesday, and the one and only North Shore fed the stoke. We did have a few local chargers who inspired us with travel stories and ocean knowledge. I can name a few of them, it might sound funny for you all: Bonfo, Ciccio, Bebbo (laughs). I watched a lot of surf videos daily, I talked, breathed, and ate surfing all day and hung out at the local surf shop every day. My mom thought I was weird watching surf video sequences in slow motion. I watched a lot of Machado's surf videos. I loved September Sessions.

Ghetto Juice: Before you ever moved to the U.S. or visited it, what did you think about it?
Stefano: MTV, blondes, cars, rap, gold chains, gold teeth, cheeseburgers, and Lowers. I have a good relationship with my uncle and he used to travel a lot for vacations and always talked well about Americans ever since I was a kid. I remember him bringing me back a Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls xxl jersey that I wore for 5 years straight (laughs). Also, my grandpa helped the U.S. military during WWII and all my life I heard about the letter of recognition that was written to him from a U.S. Army General that I believe planted the seed in my brain about America.

Ghetto Juice: Is the USA anything like you thought it would be?
Stefano: I’m really surprised about the way that the U.S. turned out to be. Like everything, there is the good side and the bad side of a situation. Seven years ago, I didn't have many expectations besides surfing Lowers, but then I learned many other things about U.S. culture and liked it. It’s a great area to raise my 4-year-old son. I love this place, it's my second home. All the people in San Clemente are so cool with me and have treated me as one of their own since day one and have made me appreciate and love this place more and more. People like Greg, Eric and the G boys, and all the boys at Rivi’s and the Lowers people. I want to thank them all seriously for showing me a good life and inspiring me daily.

Ghetto Juice: What's something interesting about Italian surfers that people should know but probably don’t?
Stefano: The trick is that it's all about having chest hair, which equals more grip, and a big nose to cut through the wind and so on! (laughs) Actually, we have good talent coming out of Italy, just look at Leo Fioravanti, Pilurzu, and crazy Francisco Porcella charging Jaws. Bonomelli is leading the Costa Rican tour and you’ve got Robby D'Amico and Morri doing their freesurfing thing. Check them out online for some cool footage. I like the way things are going for Italians and I'm excited about the future.

Ghetto Juice: You’ve gotta tell us what place in the OC has the best most authentic Italian Food?
Stefano: I don’t eat Italian out much, but when I do, I go to Tina and Vince's Deli in San Clemente and a few different places in Laguna Beach. My son would tell you that I love the SC Cafe, it's my favorite!


Posted by: Ghetto JuiceGhetto Juice at: 14 Aug 2014 15:01




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Meet 28-year-old Stefano Esposito. Stefano comes from a tiny seaside town in Italy called Anzio, which is south of Rome on the Mediterranean Sea, but has been living his childhood dream in San Clemente for the past seven years. Since Leonardo Fioravente is the only other Italian surfer we know who “doesn’t” live here, we thought we’d catch up with one who does to get the inside scoop on what it’s like being a real Italian surfer living in the US of America. GJ interviews….

Ghetto Juice: How did you get interested in surfing while growing up in Italy?
Stefano: I know it's weird! I grew up in Anzio, a small fishing town right on the beach called Anzio. It faces the Mediterranean Sea and has a wonderful beach lifestyle, and I always loved the ocean and the sea since I was a little kid. I was a lifeguard and spent a lot of time fishing. I liked the waves, the forecasting—everything was interesting to me. We get wind swell, most of the time it's cloudy, small, and windy, but it was fun. I always wanted to have a surfboard and be a surfer.

Ghetto Juice: With not much surf though, and no Italians on the World Tour back then, where did you draw your inspiration from?
Stefano: There were no Italians at all on the ASP back then. But we had TV, though, and classic movies like Point Break , Big Wednesday, and the one and only North Shore fed the stoke. We did have a few local chargers who inspired us with travel stories and ocean knowledge. I can name a few of them, it might sound funny for you all: Bonfo, Ciccio, Bebbo (laughs). I watched a lot of surf videos daily, I talked, breathed, and ate surfing all day and hung out at the local surf shop every day. My mom thought I was weird watching surf video sequences in slow motion. I watched a lot of Machado's surf videos. I loved September Sessions.

Ghetto Juice: Before you ever moved to the U.S. or visited it, what did you think about it?
Stefano: MTV, blondes, cars, rap, gold chains, gold teeth, cheeseburgers, and Lowers. I have a good relationship with my uncle and he used to travel a lot for vacations and always talked well about Americans ever since I was a kid. I remember him bringing me back a Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls xxl jersey that I wore for 5 years straight (laughs). Also, my grandpa helped the U.S. military during WWII and all my life I heard about the letter of recognition that was written to him from a U.S. Army General that I believe planted the seed in my brain about America.

Ghetto Juice: Is the USA anything like you thought it would be?
Stefano: I’m really surprised about the way that the U.S. turned out to be. Like everything, there is the good side and the bad side of a situation. Seven years ago, I didn't have many expectations besides surfing Lowers, but then I learned many other things about U.S. culture and liked it. It’s a great area to raise my 4-year-old son. I love this place, it's my second home. All the people in San Clemente are so cool with me and have treated me as one of their own since day one and have made me appreciate and love this place more and more. People like Greg, Eric and the G boys, and all the boys at Rivi’s and the Lowers people. I want to thank them all seriously for showing me a good life and inspiring me daily.

Ghetto Juice: What's something interesting about Italian surfers that people should know but probably don’t?
Stefano: The trick is that it's all about having chest hair, which equals more grip, and a big nose to cut through the wind and so on! (laughs) Actually, we have good talent coming out of Italy, just look at Leo Fioravanti, Pilurzu, and crazy Francisco Porcella charging Jaws. Bonomelli is leading the Costa Rican tour and you’ve got Robby D'Amico and Morri doing their freesurfing thing. Check them out online for some cool footage. I like the way things are going for Italians and I'm excited about the future.

Ghetto Juice: You’ve gotta tell us what place in the OC has the best most authentic Italian Food?
Stefano: I don’t eat Italian out much, but when I do, I go to Tina and Vince's Deli in San Clemente and a few different places in Laguna Beach. My son would tell you that I love the SC Cafe, it's my favorite!

Image The-Italian-Surfer-small.jpg