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Death Slabs On Three Hours Of Sleep

An Irish strike mission with Aritz Aranburu and Leonardo Fioravanti.

cinema // May 5, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

The term “strike mission” is misleading.

It sounds too calculated.

Makes it sound like you actually have your shit together.

Nothing about “strike mission” says driving through the night on gas station coffee or putting yourself into a Bintang-induced coma on the ferry to Desert Point or erratically tossing everything into a boardbag and getting a speeding ticket on the way to the airport because the flight you just overpaid for is in two hours.

Or, in this case, stealing a board from your team manager, driving until 3 AM, and surfing waves that can kill you on nary a blink of sleep.

Leonardo Fioravanti and Aritz Aranburu recently did a “strike mission” to Ireland and it turned out to be well worth the scramble.

Leo — who you’d have to view as one of the world’s premiere tubesmiths after watching this — colored in the details for Stab.

 

 

QS 2018 Ireland WestsouthQS 2018 Ireland Team West 1

This ain’t Rome, honey. Ireland, flexing for the visitors.

Photography

Quiksilver.

How did this trip come about?

I’ve wanted to surf this wave for so long. I knew Aritz had already been there, so I’ve been harassing him to take me. He’s like a big brother to me. He’s got so much knowledge and he’s a full tube pig — when he goes somewhere, you know you’re going to score.  

So when he called me and said that this wave was about to be good, I was 100% in. We booked tickets the day before the swell, landed in Dublin at 11 PM, drove until 3 AM, woke up at 6:45 and went straight into it. The lack of sleep definitely got overpowered by the adrenaline when we saw how good it was.

How was it adjusting to that wave?

Well, this is where it gets funny. You have to walk all the way down this big cliff to get to the wave. So I did that, then I paddled out and realized that my back fin had fallen out. I had to paddle all the way back in, hike up the cliff, get new fins, hike down the cliff and paddle out again. I was so fired up because I missed nearly an hour doing that, so I ended up getting a few waves right off the bat once I got out there.

In the footage, it looks like the rest of the pack is sitting a lot further out. What was going on there?

The guys out the back were on bigger boards, because sometimes you can sit out there and get a roll in — but there weren’t many roll ins that day, because the swell was so long period.

That day, it was a full slab, and you had to make sure you were under it. That’s why we were sitting inside, which made things interesting. On one of my waves [2:12], I was only able to take two strokes to get in. I free-fell, caught, and the board just took the perfect line. It was easily one of the best waves of my life.

 

QS 2018 Ireland Leo WestsouthQS 2018 Ireland Team West 3

“On one of my waves [2:12], I was only able to take two strokes to get in. I free-fell, caught, and the board just took the perfect line. It was easily one of the best waves of my life.” Leo Fioravantl, hanging on with his toes.

Photography

Quiksilver

What were you riding?

It was a 6’10” but it felt like a toothpick because there was so much water moving. That board wasn’t even supposed to be mine. It was shaped for Belly, but I pulled it from Euro Glass [surfboard factory] for this trip and it ended up working amazing. It has the colors of Capbreton, France, which are for Pierre Agnes.

What was the vibe like in Ireland?

It was incredible — the people there are so nice. The Irish charge and they created a club for all the big wave surfers there. You pay a little bit of money per year to become a member and whenever the waves are good, they use that money to make sure someone is running safety. It’s a good system, because that can be a problem at some waves.

How is this year going for you so far?  

I’d obviously rather be on tour, but I’m focused on enjoying this. I won a QS earlier in the year and I’m trying to chase a lot of swells. Last year, doing both the CT and the QS, I couldn’t do trips like this. I was losing a lot and wasn’t very happy.

At the end of last year, you said you were focused on two things: enjoying life and improving your surfing. Is that still where your head is at?

Absolutely. As far as surfing goes, I’ve been working with a new team. I have a new coach, Dog Marsh, to help me work on a different approach to surfing and I’ve been doing some different things as far as training goes. It feels really good so far. Other than that, this year, I just want to travel a lot and get as barreled as possible. The plan is to enjoy life and see how it goes.

 

QS 2018 Ireland Aritz WestsouthQS 2018 Ireland Team West 7

Hardly a stranger at any Atlantic nook and/or cranny, Aritz Aranburu, standing tall in a proper Imperial pint. “[Aritz]’s got so much knowledge and he’s a full tube pig — when he goes somewhere, you know you’re going to score.

Photography

Quiksilver

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