It was a Sunday in February, 2015. Solid swell was pouring across the North Shore, and the Volcom Pipe Pro was on. Then just 17 years old, Leonardo Fioravanti, the up-and-comer from, of all places, Italy was just settling into his heat when a big set rose on the horizon. He was late on the drop, went down hard, and the next thing he knew he had slammed the reef, back-first.
"I knew it was bad," Leo says in a new documentary from Red Bull TV and TAG Heuer. It was – two broken vertebrae and some torn ligaments. Facing the worst injury of his young career, Leo immediately got back to work, despite the enormous amount of time he would have to devote to rehab, so that he could achieve his dream of joining the World Tour.
Ride to the Roots: The story of Leonardo Fioravanti, from Cerveteri to the World Surf League takes us on a journey back to where it all began for Leo, beginning in his hometown on Italy's Mediterranean coast.
In the punchy windswell surf of Cerveteri, which is not far from Rome, Leo rode his first wave at six. Three years later, he'd won his first contest. By ten, he was traveling the world as a sponsored amateur – and already being touted as a future World Tour competitor.
The accident at Pipe in 2015, coupled with the pressure to qualify so young, could have cracked Leo’s soaring career, but it instead pushed him even harder. In this film, you'll take that journey with Leo, plus see archive footage of his early days as a surfer in Italy, and meet the people who have been by his side since the beginning. In the end, you'll get a unique look at the mindset of a kid who wouldn't settle for anything less that World Tour qualification, no matter the obstacles.
Beginning today, Leo's Ride to the Roots will be available on Red Bull TV. You can also check out additional content on TAG Heuer’s YouTube channel. If you’re searching for some inspiration right now, this is the documentary you need to see.