Stoking Out on El Nino’s Winter Swells with Federico Piccinaglia

Stoking Out on El Nino’s Winter Swells with Federico Piccinaglia

Are these photos taken all in one session or various days?
These images were taken in 2016. I had an amazing 30 days of surfing at the beginning of the year.

What surf spot is this?
There are two different spots—the main spot I surf is Varazze, near Genova and the other spot is near Savona, in northern Italy. They’re all rocky point breaks, not sand, and the best time of year to surf them is from autumn to spring. The summer’s high pressure produces hot and flat conditions.

Can you tell me about that swell? Is it rare to get waves like this in that region of Italy?
There was a big Atlantic swell from the northwest that hit France. The low pressure from the Mediterranean produced amazing waves for the Ligurian sea and Sardinia Island. It was peaking at 10 to 11 seconds between waves and was overhead and glassy. Thanks to the El Nino season, swell after swell have been pumping onto the coast; I’ve actually surfed 30 of the 45 days in 2016—a record for the Mediterranean Sea!

I notice you switched from riding your Raptor to your Hokua; can you tell us a little bit about your quiver and what conditions call for which board?
I love the Naish Raptor model, I have been riding it for years now. I also love the new Naish Hokua 7’10” X32 and 8’3” X32 in GTW and LE construction. The Raptor is better for mushy conditions and small waves, doing tail slides and bottom turns, and can even be taken out on big hollow waves if you set big fins.

The Naish Hokua X32 is the best all-around board for all conditions—big or small, onshore or hollow—thanks to the 5-fin combo and various sizes and constructions. I prefer to use the GTW construction on big waves because, for me the feeling on the wave is very different than the LE carbon construction. I prefer to use the LE for doing tricks on waves like big off-the-lips and hard cutbacks on waves. I also prefer a wider board because I’m a heavy rider of more than 200 pounds; I have to use more volume than a normal rider.

Is there a large SUP community in Italy?
The SUP community in Italy is not as large as other European nations, but the cruising and race boards have become more popular recently. SUP surfing hasn’t become very big, yet, because most people don’t have very advanced surfing skills. Since there are not very many experienced riders in the line-up, a lot of beginner SUPers don’t know the criteria for catching waves. It has become a concern out in the line-up and, so far, I am the only stand up paddler to paddle out at Varazze in a crowded line-up and be safe. I have trained for many years to SUP surf, and I understand priority and the dangers of surfing with such a big board in the crowds. I am hopeful that

How long have you been riding for Naish?
I started riding for Naish in 2010 after my first Stand Up World Tour in France and still have my whole quiver of boards in my garage—I love all the Naish models old and new.

#NaishSUP #NaishLifestyle #NaishHokua #NaishStandUpPaddling #StandupWorldTour #TeamNaish #StandUpPaddling

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Federico Piccinaglia

Instagram: @federico_piccinaglia

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