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The surfer who wants to save the world

Interview with Roberto D'Amico, the 30-year-old who has made ecology his reason for living. To save the planet from death


Roberto D'Amico is thirty years old, has a boundless love for surfing and a girlfriend, Antea, who studies film. Since he was a child he has been fighting an impossible war: he wants to save the sea. From man's neglect, from the ignorance of those who have turned it into an immense dump, from the arrogance of a system that relentlessly rapes the planet in the name of the god profit.

He is fully aware that he lives on the edge of utopia, but he does not give up. He does not bend. He has a hard head, a frightening physique and an extraordinary stubbornness. He devotes his life to promoting sit-ins to clean up the coastline and continuously spreads the ecology virus in schools. He has an obvious contempt for those who underestimate the environmental problem, but he does not fall into the trap of letting words get in the way. He is measured but very clear. The sea is his life and he has decided to dedicate his life to the sea.

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Un post condiviso da Roberto D'amico (@robydamico)

“I grew up in Ladispoli,' he says on the phone on his way back from France, 'my father taught me to love and respect the sea. He had a strong character. When he saw someone throwing something on the beach, he made them pick it up. With a strong hand, if it was needed”.

How did your passion for waves start?

I started surfing as a child. In Ladispoli in winter you can.

Surfing is not a mass sport.

But it is a beautiful sport. If you're lucky enough to start, you never give it up.


Because it is absolutely natural. A wave, a man, a board. Nothing else.

With surfing, he took a lot of satisfaction.

I was strong. I won seven Italian junior championships and was overall champion three times.

Was? Stopped?

With competitions yes. I put all my energy into stopping the filth that poisons the sea every day.

In what way?

Ten years ago I founded an association, Robby clean-up. We work to clean up the coast.

Tell us more about it.

We sensitise people to take care of the sea. Basically, we organise sit-ins through social media to gather people.

And how do you do this?

Gloves, a container bag and a lot of goodwill. We collect the waste that the sea returns to the beaches. We are a drop in the ocean, but doing a good thing makes us feel good.

The problem of pollution has become an instrument of political struggle.

I don't do politics. I just try to make it clear that we are heading for disaster.

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Un post condiviso da Roberto D'amico (@robydamico)

Some might argue that he is exaggerating.

Look, the planet is warning us clearly. The water level is rising dangerously, the climate has changed dramatically, new marine species are being born. These are important signals.

Yet there are those who consider ecology a radical chic fashion, ridicule activists like her, call Greta Thunberg the Gretina.

These are people who live far away from nature. They stand in air conditioning, they have made comfort a reason for living, and they don't notice anything.

So you challenge the model on which the western world is built.

I think we can no longer afford to live today. We have a duty to look forward.

Make us understand.

People must be made aware of what is happening. We need a jolt, we need urgent measures.

Give an example.

Do you know what happened with the pandemic? Extreme measures were put in place. Everyone realised that we were facing something exceptional. Something exceptional caused exceptional measures to be taken. All over the world.

Is this where we are now?

Look, the signs are very clear. We are coming to the threshold, if we cross it there is no turning back.

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Un post condiviso da Roberto D'amico (@robydamico)

So what should governments do?

Take drastic measures.

And each of us?

Live more simply, first of all. Try to love our surroundings.

We have to ask you a bit of a rough question.


How do you stay in the world if you don't compete, work and spend your days promoting the environment?

I have a pool of companies that support me.

Which ones?

Breitling watches, Deeply that makes wetsuits, Pucas that makes surfboards, Ventura dried fruit.

And why do they pay you?

Sustainability has become a decisive factor for the manufacturing world. Sensitivity is growing. I don't want to be a phenomenon, but my action is known and recognisable. Evidently they consider me a useful person to support the cause

Evidently so. He explains what the project consists of “Io Tevere, le radici del mare”?

With documentary filmmaker Marco Spinelli I made a film to test the health of the Tiber.

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Un post condiviso da Marco Spinelli (@ciaomichiamospinelli)

And how is the Tiber?

Terrible. But the important thing is that through the school two thousand students were able to see the documentary and become aware of the situation. This created the conditions for the audience to expand.


Soon the documentary will be broadcast through a television platform.

Which one?

I cannot say yet.

Last thing: do you really believe that the planet can be saved?

If we start raising our voices, yes. But we all have to raise our voices. And every day.



Image Roberto D’Amico