Italian filmmaker and surf diehard Luca Merli leads a collective of like-minded surfers, photographers, and artists who chase and create a perpetual summer. The group first came together in 2010 to film Onde Nostre, a doc shot on 16mm film that demonstrated just how underrated a surf destination Italy is, with powerful shots of rocky coast and lonely countryside. Merli, the founder of Block10, which produced the film, was surprised by the public response.
"Onde Nostre had been produced with a very small budget in just a few weeks," he says. "In Milan, at the premiere, more than a thousand people came to the venue, and we had to show the film more than three times. We realized we were doing something that people could relate to. In the years since, Onde Nostre has become a collective for surfers and filmmakers committed to preserving the spirit of surfing."
In "Lunar," surfer Leah Dawson explores the moonlike landscape of one of the Canary Islands.
As a collective, Onde Nostre travels the world looking not just for great surfing, but for great stories set against ethereal landscapes and perfect waves. Their subjects aren't necessarily famous beyond a small surfing cohort, but they all have a compelling surf style and worldview.
In Lunar, a short film produced in collaboration with surf and swimwear brand, Seea, surfer Leah Dawson traverses the lava grounds of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands, offering dreamy words of bohemian wisdom: "Every single step we take on this journey is a gift," and "I love that I'm always learning when I'm in the ocean."
Whether you surf or not, it's hard not to want to spend the rest of your life coasting from island to island like this.
Onde Nostre's next big undertaking is Nausicaa, a film that will follow a group of surfers as they loosely trace Odysseus's journey through the Mediterranean Sea on a pair of sailboats. The boats, a 1960s yawl and a 1970s ketch, belong to friends of Merli who are surfers, sailors, and artists.
"The Mediterranean has very old legends and myths. It's an ancient sea, the cradle of Western culture," Merli says. "We'd like to go back in time and travel with the aid of just the wind, open to adventures and discoveries, to see what it's like to live just by sea, with zero carbon footprint."
"Italy has a jagged coastline, full of small and tiny islands. Some of them are volcanoes, some are just rocks emerging from the blue," Merli continues. "We know from sailors that in some of these hidden places there are still undiscovered waves and spots for surfing."
Sounds like a journey we want to go on, too.