Over the course of the past year, Italian Leo Fioravanti has become a household name in competitive surfing, as he currently sits atop the WQS rankings, almost guaranteeing him qualification to the tour next year. Leo has had a spotlight shining on him since before he even hit his teens. And why not? He had eerily good form, a myriad of airs, a fearless approach to fearsome waves and a carve as big as his smile. The world was his, and the hype was inevitable. But those days are over.
Leo’s 18 now. An adult. He’s had a certain fire in him ever since returning to the water after sustaining a broken back at Pipeline. This year, he grabbed the lead on the WQS and has already beaten both Kelly Slater and defending World Champ Adriano de Souza as a wildcard on the WSL.
‘Leo has a good eye for waves. He’s always putting himself on the good ones’ said Kelly Slater of the young Italian ‘His best surfing comes in big waves. He seems to really like the powerful stuff, so competitively he already has a real advantage over a lot people’ Reflection on Leo’s injury and subsequent recovery Slater said he believes it was almost a blessing. ‘It gave him a lot of time to sit back, think about where he is going, what he is doing and what he appreciates. And I think he came out more on fire after that”
Leo will be looking for a big result in France, where he is a wild card, to not only further pull away from the pack, but also show he can mix it up with the top dogs in a variety of conditions. It’s been a while since we’ve had a European in the top tier of the WSL, however by the looks of Leo’s surfing in this edit, and what we’ve seen from him in a comp vest, that could well be where he’s destined for.
We caught up with Leo a few weeks ago in France to find out more about the man behind the hype. You can read the conversation in full here.