.B A B E L.
Babel was created at the start of 2015 in a shed somewhere around Torquay.
But this is not how it all started.
I grew up in small town of 5000 people at the feet of the mountains of Northern Italy, somewhere between Milan and Venice. The sea, which is pretty much as flat as a lake, is three hours away from there. My parents always took us to the beach during summer holidays and my dad is a die-hard fisherman, so I have always felt somehow connected to the sea since young age.
I have been skateboarding and snowboarding for many years, but surfing was still pretty much a myth in Italy. Still, I was obsessed with waves even before seeing a proper one breaking (which happened in my early twenties during a trip to Brazil). I remember being 13 years old and watching non-stop the only surf video I had and daydreaming about breaking waves. I suppose it was the wide-open spaces and freedom and adventure I imagined went with it.
When I was 19 I moved to Padova (near Venice) to study Physics and Astronomy. Being much closer to the sea, I eventually decided to buy my first shitty surfboard and waited for winter storms to surf freezing onshore chops by myself. People walking in my room in Padova used to laugh seeing my board (I eventually ended up surfing that very board in pumping Bells, Margs and Cactus Beach). I think now surfing is much more popular over in Italy as well because of social media and stuff. I even made a couple of boards for guys back home. Yet, I was feeling like I had something that nobody else had or could understand. As soon as I arrived in Oz I realised how much of an illusion that actually was.
Once I graduated in Padova, I decided to continue my studies and start a doctorate in Astrophysics in Melbourne, which I obtained in 2017. So I landed in Australia in 2013, with nothing but a backpack and my shitty board.
I lived in Melbourne for a few months, but as soon as I could I packed my stuff up and moved to the coast. While I was doing my PhD I started to get interested (obsessed) with surfboard design, which is something that always fascinated me. I could stare at a surfboard for a disturbing amount of time. Sometimes I feel I have taken a quite of a detour to get to the point of putting my feet in the ocean and my hands on a piece of foam.
So, one summer morning I drove myself to Bunnings to buy a planer, some sanding paper and all the materials to build a shaping stand. Pretty sure that I also bought a sausage with onions on the way back to the car. After setting the shed up, I began to work on the very first surfboard. I looked at the blank for an hour, eventually started to chew some foam and after a whole day of hard work I found myself staring at the biggest piece of crap I have ever made -- that board never saw the ocean. After a rough start, I eventually managed to shape and glass some boards for myself and a few mates, who were nice enough to believe in my vision.
Things got next level after moving to West Oz. During the time spent in Perth I volunteered to work in the weekends for Dave at Katana Surfboards. This included sanding and glassing his boards in exchange for a self-made board at the end of it and a catamaran trip to Rottnest Island. Dave made that catamaran himself, the guy really is a wizard.
Back to Torquay at the start of 2016, I set up a small studio where all the boards are designed, shaped and glassed from start to finish. Since then I have been making boards for surfers and for the pure pleasure of experimentation and release of ideas.