Francesco Cortese, UI Developer and Surfer

Hi, my name is Francesco Cortese, and I am a UI Developer and Designer focused on smooth interaction, prototype, animation, and web trends. I am originally from, and now live in, Napoli, Italy, but I have lived all over Europe working in design. There are so many things to love about Napoli: the sea, the slow life – but remember, here you can find the best and cheapest pizza in the world. Nothing can top that!

When I was 17, I made a video of me rollerblading. To promote it, I created my first webpage and blog. After that, I started to play with codes and Photoshop just for fun. From there I began learning more about design, and I realised it was the job I wanted to get into.

Outside of my design work, surfing is my passion. When I was young I started with body boarding and skim boarding, but, after a road trip to the west coast of both Spain and France, I knew I wanted to learn how to surf. I began to take lessons and ask more experienced surfers for advice. I went to Peniche, Portugal to see the World Surfing League, and practiced surfing in Barcelona and other parts of Spain.

Two years ago, I bought my first surfboard: a 7’7” soft top. I kept practicing as much as I possibly could, surfing in Spain, Portugal, California, and the Canary Islands. That is one of the many reasons I love surfing, you can create great memories in all sorts of different places around the world.

Surfing has definitely changed how I think about the ocean. Before starting, I was always scared to be in the middle of the sea, far away from the beach, but now I love it. The Mediterranean is not like the ocean, but when the conditions, the swell, and the winds are right, surfing is fun here. I would love to do more road trips to the ocean to surf bigger waves there.

I have been very fortunate to not have to deal with any serious injuries while surfing. However, when I was in San Diego, we went to surf the South Mission Beach after a rainy night. We were in the water very early in the morning, and I saw two shark fins only about 10-20 meters away from us. After we left, a local explained to me that there is a mouth of a river that flows into South Mission Beach. After any rain, food or debris flows there and sharks like to find things to eat.

I try to surf as often as I can now, but I am still just an amateur surfer. I am not sure that I have the experience to give any real advice to newcomers. What I would say is that everyone should surf responsibly, ask for advice before buying a board, and find a surf school or friend to teach you.

Determination is a huge part of surfing. You should be determined to catch a wave and reach your target. The same applies in my work. I think about the best and quickest possible solution, and then effectively complete the job. After that, you can simply enjoy the wave.

Surfing allows me to remove myself from any stress or worries I have. When you are separated from every kind of technology, and it is just you and the sea, you feel the power of nature all around you. This helps you to clear your mind of your work or other issues and start again much more focused on your ideas.

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