15-1-2009 Kite-Surfing is a Way of Life for Alessio
I first met Alessio when he attended an English class I was teaching. At the beginning of the course he quickly let me know that he would be absent from lessons whenever the wind conditions were right for his great passion, Kite-Surfing.
That passion has now been turned into a book, Melthemi: L’Ultimo Tuffo, written over several years by Alessio and published by Pacini Editore in December 2008. It contains a preface by professional kite-surfer Renzo Mancini.
According to Alessio, kite surfers are not the most highly regarded of sportsmen, invading beaches with their huge kites and madly challenging the elements. One of the reasons he wrote his book was to dispel the myth of the crazy kite surfer.
I’m pretty normal really”, he assures me. Normal, in the sense that he is married – to fellow kite-surfer Silvia -, has two young children and is Sales Manager for the local freight forwarding company Polo Spedizioni. He has responsibilities which he takes seriously. But, whenever he can he sheds jacket and tie for his wetsuit, straps himself to his kite, and takes to the waves and to the air.
To say that Alessio is passionate about his sport is an understatement. He embraces this extraordinary activity with an infectious enthusiasm . Talking to me about it from behind his desk, his eyes glisten. Kite surfing is a way of life for Alessio, and his enthusiasm for it extends to his life in general.
Alessio saw kite-surfers for the first time in the Seychelles in 2000. Previously a keen surfer, he was attracted by this new way of challenging the elements.
The right winds for kite surfing are not as frequent around Livorno as Alessio would like. In fact, the unreliable nature of local winds made the school that Alessio and friends set up in Vada some years ago impossible to run long-term. His book tells of this and other adventures, from the beaches of Calambrone and the Tre Ponti in Livorno, to Senegal , Egypt and Lanzarote, and to the hospital in Pisa where it looked for a time as though he would never be able to do any kind of sport again. It is an autobiography with kite-surfing as a backdrop, a celebration of a sport that has given Alessio his very special zest for life.
Alessio will be hosting a presentation of his book at the Gaia Scienza bookshop on Thursday 22nd January at 9pm.
He is currently working on a second book, a novel, set in a future where enthusiasm for sport is the only way forward...
Kite-surfing in and around Livorno: Calambrone, Tre Ponti, Vada
Tips for beginners: follow a professional course. Start practising with an ordinary acrobatic kite, on land, to get the feel for mastering a kite.
Equipment needed: a kite, a harness, a board.