- Text by Tetsuhiko Endo
Chris Del Moro recently turned thirty and celebrated by taking a surf trip to Italy with the filmmaker Jason Baffa. The resulting film, Bella Vita, chronicles Del Moro’s peregrinations in search of family, friends, food and waves. After more than a decade in the lens of the surf media, Del Moro has gone through various transformations, from “clean cut California boy” in the words of Dave Rastovich, to the bearded, dreadlocked, vegetarian, sometime fashion model of today. It’s been quite a ride – one he seems to be figuring out as he goes. Huck sat down with him in the lobby of an expensive hotel in San Sebastián, where he is to promote his film, in order to get his take on living the life of the modern souldier.
I was in a dysfunctional relationship for quite a while so having that shift of energy (of breaking up) was huge. It allowed me to re-become who I am and who I kind of suppressed for a while. Six years ago, when I met that person I think I had all the tools and experiences I have now but just hadn’t started using them in the appropriate manner.
Meeting Dave (Rastovich) has been a pivotal part of my life and our friendship has really allowed me to blossom into this next evolution of Chris Del Moro, or myself, or however I want to look at it.
As a kid I got totally sucked into the whole professional surfing route. I traveled around the world, competed for the US national team, went to the World Games…the whole thing. I had a pretty wild experience when I was just about to turn 18 at the World Games where I won the contest and they revoked the title because of some…basically something they made up because they didn’t want me to win. It was a total political thing and I thought to myself: ‘you know what? I don’t want to be judged by numbers and judges.’
I don’t always want to be relevant. I really look forward to the time when I don’t have to be in front of cameras and I can slow down and disappear a little bit. I can make my appearances and my art when I want to and check out a little bit. But I definitely still have things that I want to achieve and waves that I want to surf. I’m definitely in the best shape of my life in terms of understanding waves so I feel like I still have a good chunk of time where I want to explore certain waves.
Life In Front of the Camera
A friend once said to me: ‘look, if you don’t know something you don’t have to talk about it. Just talk about what personally feels good to you.’ And if you stick to that, it’s pretty powerful. A lot of being uncomfortable – in front of the camera or in general – is insecurity, it’s thinking people are going to call you out or think you’re an idiot or whatever. Once you can get past that and realise that some people are going to love it and some people are going to hate it. That’s just what it is – you can’t make everyone happy but you will make some people happy.
The first time my mother tried to feed me meat as a child I spat it out and closed my mouth. I would not take any meat. Remember, this is in Italy so my whole family thinks that I’m going to die or something. But my mom was a little more open minded, being from California, so she worked with me as a kid and made sure I was getting a proper education on how to eat. I was really active from a young age so nutrition was important. Luckily I met the right people, my first job was at a vegan kitchen, and through these things I was able to educate myself so I could be an athlete and have enough energy and not be deficient.
I think it’s important to figure out what you like: I start most mornings with a veggie and fruit juice, or a smoothie. Smoothies are pretty radical because you can pack like 50 different types of super foods into one then hide them with wonderfully flavoured fruit. It doesn’t taste bad and it’s like putting rocket fuel into your body.
I’d say in the last couple years, I’ve started to feel that I want to slow down on air travel, and I’ve really been appreciating exploring my own backyard. After 20 years of travel you start to feel it. People take for granted how intense it is to get into an airplane, but it’s pretty intense, it’s pretty out there. There is a big part of me that wants to tap back into the Americas and see what they have to offer.
Bella Vita premiered at the 61st Annual San Sebastián Film Festival on September 22nd. For more on the film hit up: www.bellavitafilm.com