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Brazilian who surfs giant waves in Nazaré with his body makes a splash

GIFT FROM HEAVEN, a documentary short film that tells the story of Kalani Lattanzi, a Brazilian who ventures to do ‘bodysurfing’ on the giant waves of Praia do Norte, in Nazaré, is making an international furor

“Kalani enters seas that fish are afraid of.” The phrase that describes the actions of the “waterman” Kalani Lattanzi is strong but gains even more impact when the speaker is Garrett McNamara, former world record holder for the biggest wave ever surfed in Nazaré. And Nazaré is the stage par excellence of the documentary short film “Kalani, Gift from Heaven” now available with remarkable success on various media platforms (Apple, Google Play, Amazon Prime, Vimeo on demand and Vudu [this is not yet available in Portugal ]). In fact, it already ranks 1st in Portugal, Brazil and Australia as the most downloaded documentary on the various platforms and is ranked second in Great Britain and the USA.

But who is Kalani Lattanzi? A 26-year-old Brazilian, enthusiastic about wave sports, who gained notoriety on the international scene as a bodyboarder, but who gained cult status with his bodysurfing “performances” on the giant waves of Praia do Norte, in Nazaré.

The young Portuguese director Nuno Dias, 25, filmed the intrepid Brazilian in action for 4 years and interviewed big wave surfing names, such as the aforementioned Garrett McNamara, Australian Ross Clarke-Jones, Brazilians Carlos Burle, Lucas Chumbo and Maya Gabeira, or the Portuguese Hugo Vau and Nic Von Rupp. The result is a short film full of incredible moments that cement Kalani Lattanzi’s place as a practically unique phenomenon. As Carlos Burle says: “He is a reference to‘ waterman ’to me, because he is at home on any sea. He has a lot to evolve and what he does, nobody else does! ” or Lucas Chumbo: “He’s a bit of an extraterrestrial, an X-man who lives in water and survives in situations where I didn’t even want to be close!”

Nuno Dias, the director and driving force behind this film nominated for the Sophia awards from the Portuguese Academy of Cinema, explains the genesis of this project: “I filmed Kalani for the first time in 2015, in Nazaré. It was at that time that I met him in person and got on well. We are both the same age and we were in the same phase of our lives, trying to expose our work, me in the video and he in the waves. And we embraced this project, this idea, alone, without means. We still had a chance to sponsor a big brand in the field of action sports, but then they gave up at the last minute. I was upset but, on the other hand, it was better because my creativity was not limited by anyone. ”

And it was never an easy job, confesses Nuno Dias: “There were great challenges, namely the logistical part, the difficulty of filming bodysurf, in which you can only see the surfer’s head, and the risk of Kalani himself. For example, for the introduction, I asked you to go alone, swimming, in a large sea in Nazaré, at 7 am. And I was out there filming and full of fear that something would happen. That was a constant throughout the work, due to the very nature of what we were shooting. In all sessions Kalani risks his life. He’s a conscientious nut and one of the best prepared people in the world to do this, but it’s hard to describe what he does without using a vernacular. ”

Kalani Lattanzi, for his part, tells his side of the beginning of a successful professional relationship with the Portuguese director and the genesis of the project: “Nuno had already filmed some waves of mine, luckily, on very large days in Nazaré and when he approached me to make the film I agreed at the time and then we focused on producing new images for ‘big surf’. ”

And for those who see the film it is hard to believe, but Kalani guarantees that there were no “scares”, just one “boring” day: “We didn’t have a scare, but on the day we made the cover photo of the film, by Ricardo Bravo, we arrived at Farol da Nazaré at dawn, with the greatest cold and had to wear the wet suit. It was really boring but I understand that it’s part of the job [laughs]. ”

And in the end everything made up for it, he confesses: “When I saw the finished film, I thought it was animal and I was very moved. And the success we are having makes me very happy and strong for the next projects. ”

This post is also available in: Português

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