Each year, as the world’s best surfers chase trophies and ratings points around the globe, over 13,000 Fantasy Surfer players attempt to predict their fates. Last year, Italian Fantasy Surfer player Luca Fioravanti (screen name: surfkart) proved himself a true pro surfing soothsayer by ending the year in the Number One spot
You’re probably wondering if Luca is related to Leo Fioravanti and, if so, whether or not he was privy to any insider trading. Well, yes and no. Luca is not related to the professional surfer named Leonardo Fioravanti, but he is related to the world famous car designer of the same name. Luca’s father was the lead designer of some of Ferrari’s most iconic models, including the Testarossa, F40 and 308 GTS—the one Tom Selleck whipped around Oahu in as “Magnum P.I.” during ’80s prime time TV.
Before taking up surfing in his early 20s, Luca was a race car driver. He’s won championships in go-kart, single-seater and GT divisions. Now in his 40s, Luca’s passion for motorsports has carried over to his career where he works as a managing director for a car design company. “Motorsports are the very opposite of surfing,” Fioravanti told SURFER. “But both disciplines have great emotions and adrenaline in common.”
A love for fast cars isn’t the only passion Luca’s family instilled in him. From a young age, his parents took him body surfing. As a teen, he was constantly monitoring the fickle Mediterranean Sea for swell big enough to whomp in. In 1993, his friends took him to Levanto, Italy and introduced him to surfing. “From that moment I was totally hooked,” Luca said.
“I started with the wrong surfboard,” Luca recalls his early surfing experience. “I had a potato chip thruster and a super thick sailing wetsuit. There was no internet forecasting so it was a mission every time when trying to make the right choice for a surf spot. But that lack of internet forecasting has helped tune my understanding of how the swells are generated in the Mediterranean Sea, a sea where waves only happen sometimes.”
After 25 years of surfing, Luca has not only got the Mediterranean wired, but he’s also scored Uluwatu, J-Bay, Morocco, the Maldives and just about every other dreamy wave you can think of.
SURFER contacted Luca to tap into out his champion Fantasy Surfer strategy, surfing background and some hints going into Rio.
Luca, how the hell are you so good at Fantasy Surfer?
I do not know…luck maybe? Let me say this: I have always been attracted to competitive surfing. I spent the summers in France in the ‘90s and watched a lot of pro contests on both the ‘QS and ‘CT, so I understand some of the characteristics that a competitive surfer at the pro level needs to have during contests. This has helped me pick the right underdog surfers at times. It’s also helped me to know which big names to avoid at other times.
Last year, I was building each event’s team with the goal to have all eight surfers make it to Round 3. This year the WSL changed the seeding around, so…we will see.
What was your reaction after the Pipe Masters Final and you saw you that you won?
I knew after the quarters that I remained in the number two spot for the overall, so when after I saw my name at top of the list after the final I just said, “I hit the jackpot!”
What did your friends and family have to say?
I saw that I was in the overall title race a couple of contests before Pipe. I play Fantasy Surfer because everyone in the club I belong to is very passionate and competitive. Fantasy Surfer is a way for my surfer friends and I to stay in contact. We all live in different continents; some are in OZ, Northern Europe, Italy, everywhere. We have our chat and we bet. We bet a lot.
My biggest rival in Fantasy Surfer is my friend Titto. During the France contest, Titto told me, “Luca, do you know that you can go for the overall win?” So my Fantasy Surfer club friends knew I was in the running and they just said, “great, incredible, etc.,”
My wife said, “Yeah… what’s the prize?”
How’s your team doing so far this year?
Very bad. I’m relaxing after the big win [Laughs].
So for Rio, what high seed are you putting on your team?
Definitely John John. I got him at the beginning of the year when he was cheap.
How about a low seed?
Griffin Colapinto. He’s a super good surfer and competitor, especially for his age.
What else should we know about Luca Fioavanti?
I’m still super passionate about surfing. I enjoy surf in every form still to this day and there is not a better feeling after a good ride and session. I had the opportunity to make such a good friends in many different places and to visit fantastic countries because of surfing. Dear readers, if you meet me in the water, know that I’m a real frother!