When Leonardo Fioravanti won the recent Sydney Surf Pro, he dedicated the victory to Italy, which has become the new frontline in a global pandemic.

This win was bittersweet. Competition was soon to be suspended, and Leonardo went from the highs of a 10,000-point win, which came after a break from competition with a back injury, to deciding where to ride out an extended off-season.

The choices were France, with his mother and stepfather, Hawaii, with girlfriend Sophia, or a long stay in Australia.

Fioravanti Captures The Win In Sydney With A Last Second Air
The surfer from Italy claims the first Challenger Series event victory with yet another nail-biting finish at Manly.

"Basically, I'm a bit stuck," Leonardo recently told the WSL, with a visa issue for USA making Hawaii tricky, and some advice from his family cementing the Gold Coast as the best option.

"They [his family] were like, you're better off staying there, there's no point for you to come here, it's freezing, we're locked into our house.

"The middle ground is Australia. It's a beautiful place, luckily we can still surf. We're being very careful. We did a big shop, so we're cooking at home and walking out to Snapper or D-bah and having a surf and then coming straight back home."

For time time being, surfing is still perfectly fine under Australia's COVID-19 guidelines, and the recent run of all-time waves on the Gold Coast provided a nice little silver lining for Leo and the other surfers enjoying the swell. But most people are aware this could change any day.

"I'd booked an apartment for Snapper, that's where we are staying right now. It's an apartment I booked for the contest. We're looking at a couple of houses to rent. A house would be better than an apartment, you have a little garden and everything.

"Once we find a little house, we'll be settled in. If it goes on lockdown, I guess it is what it is. It's important that everybody respects the rules, and we'll get through this by working together," Leo says.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 13: Leonardo Fioravanti of Italy, winner of the 2020 Sydney Surf Pro at Manly Beach on 13 March 2020 in Sydney, Australia today. (Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL via Getty Images) Leonardo Fioravanti - WSL / Matt Dunbar

And he'll be staying busy if surfing is off the table. The win at the Sydney Surf Pro was his best result, and a validation of the hype that has existed around Italy's first Championship Tour surfer.

"I got to the start of this season as fit as I've ever been, as ready as I've ever been ... everything was so dialed in. And the first event, I won. It was incredible, it was my biggest ever victory. That day was incredible.

"Manly ended, I was super stoked but I knew there would be some time off. I think it's been tough for everyone. It's important to stay prepared. All the gyms are closed, but I went to a gym shop and bought a bunch of weights.

"It's important for all of us to stay fit and keep training, and keep working on things," he says.

Of course, our little patch and it's challenges pale in comparison to what is going on around the world right now, which is exactly why Leo dedicated his Manly win to the Italian people.

"This virus is not only dangerous for the virus [itself], it has a huge economic impact, but also a huge mental impact.

"I just hope we can get past the situation as quickly as possible, for everyone to go back to our normal lives."

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