Francesco De Luca - China Surf Report

When and where did you start surfing?
I learned to surf 17 years ago in Italy. We didn’t have big waves in Italy so I travelled to France, Spain & Portugal chasing them.

How old were you when you first learnt?
I’m 34 now so I was about 17-18 at the time.

When did you move to China?
In 2005 so 9 years ago.

What was the reason for the move to China?
I ask myself the same question all the time. Since I was a child I have always been fascinated with China. I have no idea why! Maybe it was destiny. I had two Chinese Aunties when I was growing up, which probably influenced me the most because as a child I didn’t see Chinese people as "different".

What kind of education do you have?

I have a University degree in Media and an MBA in Economics & Tourism from Rome University.

What did you do for work straight out of University?
I started working in the Chamber of Commerce in Rome, but it wasn’t what I wanted so I handed it in and moved to China.

What kind of work have you been doing in China?
At first I just studied the language for 2 years in Beijing and got a few odd jobs. After that I set up an import/ export company with some partners in Italy, then moved from the North to the South of China which is when I got more into the surf industry at the beginning of 2012.

What else do you do outside of running the CSR website?
I make boards that are stocked in Italy, France and also in China and I'm a surf instructor. I started the China Surf Report website when I moved down South. I try to involve myself in promoting Surf Culture in China through as many avenues as I can.  I love China and I love Surfing.

Is the popularity of surfing in China increasing?
Definitely. There are a lot more people out in the lineup. When I arrived in Hainan in 2006, you couldn't even find a surfboard to rent. 3 years ago I would paddle out in the bay and there would be 2-3 people out there. Yesterday I paddled out and there were about 25. All locals. Visitors to the website have increased too. When we first started we were getting 300 visits a month, now we’re up to 30,000 month! We’ve been cooperating with big magazines and web magazines in China, it gives to us the energy we need and definitely makes the work more interesting. I also have to thank ASP Australasia and ISA for the support and assistance in these almost 3 years of intense work.

Are there many good surf spots in China?
There are about 60 good surf spots from the north down to the south that we have discovered so far. We are constantly searching for more! We’ve also discovered a number of small surf communities up and down the coastline and we find that they are really surprised to be part of a bigger movement. We created the first surf map guide of China and the forecasts in cooperation with Magicseaweed.

Is this something you see yourself doing for a long time to come?
Definitely. I’ve found my spot and I love the work I’m doing.  It’s amazing seeing how much this sport has taken off over here, and I love contributing to that. It’s something that a large majority of locals knew nothing about and now you see them out there smiling and having fun and that’s what surfing is. I just love it. We will keep on spreading the stoke!

Where can we find you online?



Posted by: Troy Roennfeldt, on April 15, 2014
Categories: Interviews