A few years ago, I was stood on the headland at Nazaré, watching the world’s best big wave chargers throwing themselves over the ledge of huge wedging lumps as they unloaded on to the sands of Praia Do Norte.
The crowd gasped, as in the distance a little speck could just be made out bouncing down the face of a solid 20 footer.
“That’s Kalani Lattanzi”, Emily, wife of Cornish charger Tom Butler who was also out in the lineup, informed me. ‘He’s crazy’ she added, and I concurred.
A little while later a stocky man appeared, carefully making his way up the steep cliff path, grinning from ear to ear. Save for his lack of board, to look at him, you’d have had no idea this was the fella who had just hucked himself over the ledge of a 20 foot Atlantic lump with nothing but his own flesh separating him from the oceanic fury that bubbled beneath him.
According to Kalani, heading out without a board is not actually as mad as it seems: “I feel much safer with just my body than with a surfboard.” He explained in a recent interview with Redbull. “The board can hit you in the head, but when I’m bodysurfing I feel really safe – I use swim fins to duck dive, and they really offer a ton of power to move around.”
Kalani, who hails originally from Hawaii, but now resides in Brazil, embodies the term water-man as well as any, tackling giant waves on a stand-up, a sponge and with just a pair of swim fins all over the world.
Watch him here, on a particular tubular day at Nazaré, taking to the ridiculously heavy beachie with skill and aplomb.
Hit play and marvel, and then head over to Kalani’s Insta and marvel some more: