Marlon Lipke and Marc Lacomare rendezvous in the Mediterranean island of Sardinia for a date with food, drink, family and surf
By Andrew Lewis
It's always after the longest nights that responsibility calls. Cold, careless, blurry, sleepless nights. Over my 2 p.m. morning coffee, I am delighted to open my semi-daily swell update from SURFING's tireless photographer Jeff Flindt. He is an animal on the charts and although I also fancy myself as a bit of a wave forecasting connoisseur, Flindt's always about four or five hours ahead of me with every purple blob or lengthy fetch. And of course today, of all days, he's made a call. I am no longer delighted; I am now panicking in a messy pool of hemorrhaging minutes and hours. You see, while I was swatting errant rays of sunlight creeping from my bedroom window, Jeffrey has downed a coffee or two, completed seven yoga stretches, eaten bacon and eggs, Googled, Facebooked, Tweeted, recruited European princes Marlon Lipke and Marc Lacomare, and booked a ticket to the mythical Mediterranean island of Sardinia for what looks to be three days of strikeable surf – surf that is filling in…well…right now. I unearth a credit card from last night's receipts and crumpled Euros and key up Expedia on the double.
After a bleary-eyed late arrival in Cagliari – Sardinia's biggest city (population 158,000) – the night before, I find myself in the fantastic company of 19-year-old Marc Lacomare, hailing from Hossegor, France, his manager Quirin Rohleder, and of course Flindt, who has been snapping crispy photos since arrival. We are in an eco resort about twenty minutes north of the central east coast town of Oristano. And if those are warm thoughts you are having envisioning swell chasing in the Mediterranean, then please stop them. In winter, this place is just as cold as your place in winter. And, in our case, gloomy with a thick and frigid marine layer. Thus our eco-friendly, solar heated morning showers are, umm, jolting…and really really fast.
But the compound is all ours (Sardinia in winter is like a 24,000 square kilometer beach town in January) and its rooms are well equipped with essentials like swimming pool sized beds, coffee presses, encouraging surf photos of surrounding breaks like Capo Manu and two perfectly petable guard dogs named Black and Luau. Because of such fancies, I find no shame in promoting our little island getaway, known as Turismo Rurale Menhirs (www.turismoruralemenhirs.it/). But actually, it's the place's owner Marco Testarella that is the real reason. Marco is a native of the island and our guide, which is, I soon learn, essential in the Sardinian winter, where finding breakfast is like trying to find waves in Ohio yet picking the right surf spot as tricky as choosing between blonde or brunette at a Miss Hawaiian Tropic contest. In other words, this place is surprisingly very consistent.
And so we go forth, settling on a sloppy, cobble-bottomed bay not far from home just to get that awkward maiden session out of the way. After the painful yet satisfying dip in the 55 degreeish water, we get word that our German surf hero Marlon Lipke and his filmer Greg Martin have landed and are heading our way. Marlon's boards haven't showed yet, and with the wind turning unfavorably northwest, an afternoon shred on Day One is officially out of the question. So then Guide Marco, we ask excitedly, what shall we do with ourselves if we aren't to surf? Eat is the answer. A lot. And invite all of our friends to join us. When in Rome, I guess you could say. And so begins an impossible and intriguing trend in our little surf trip to the land of Vespas, oversized Chanel sunglasses and shiny leather garments.