Kalani Lattanzi enjoys a gift from heaven

June 15, 2020 | Surfing
Kalani Lattanzi: bodysurfing a giant wave at Nazaré | Photo: Nuno Dias

"Kalani - Gift from Heaven" is a short documentary about the Brazilian waterman, Kalani Lattanzi.

The film reveals the life story of a man who ventures out and risks his life in the giant waves of Nazaré.

"Kalani goes in the ocean where fish are afraid. Kalani is a freak of nature."

The statement belongs to Garrett McNamara, former Guinness World Record holder for the biggest wave surfed in Nazaré.

And it is in Praia do Norte where most of the action takes place.

But who is Kalani Lattanzi?

Lattanzi is a 26-year-old enthusiastic bodyboarder, surfer, and bodysurfer, who is rising to a cult status thanks to his mind-blowing performances in the Portuguese big wave surfing arena.

Nuno Dias and Kalani Lattanzi: the duo spent four years shooting the documentary in Nazaré | Photo: crashgrafia

A Unique Phenomenon

Young Portuguese filmmaker Nuno Dias spent four years capturing the fearless Brazilian in action and interviewed some big names in tow-in surfing, including Garrett McNamara, Ross Clarke-Jones, Carlos Burle, Lucas Chumbo and Maya Gabeira, along with local Portuguese standouts Hugo Vau and Nic Von Rupp.

The result is a short, yet explosive documentary that consolidates Kalani's status as a unique phenomenon.

"He is the example of a waterman because he is at home in the ocean. And he is still evolving in what he does, which is something not many are in the world!" notes former Big Wave Tour champion, Carlos Burle.

Lucas Chumbo, another Brazilian famous for his tow-in performances at the infamous Praia do Norte, has unusual adjectives for his fellow countryman.

"He is kind of an alien, an X-Men who lives in the water and survives in situations that I wouldn't want to be caught in," adds Chumbo.

Nuno Dias, the director and the creative force behind this documentary, recalls how it all started.

"I filmed Kalani for the first time in 2015, at Nazaré. Then I met him in person, and we immediately got along."

"We were the same age, and we were both at the beginning of our careers, trying to show off our work, me filming, him surfing."

"So, we went head first in this project, without any kind of support."

"We had the opportunity of getting sponsorship from an action sports giant, but the deal failed unexpectedly at some point, which was frustrating but also a relief because it meant I had full creative control."

Kalani - Gift from Heaven: a film about courage and big waves | Photo: Nuno Dias

Shooting Bodysurfing

The director of "Kalani - Gift from Heaven" says this is never an easy job.

"There were massive hurdles to overcome, mainly logistically, and it truly was hard to film bodysurfing because most of the time you can only spot the surfer's head," explains Nuno Dias.

"And the fear of it all. I was always afraid something happened to Kalani because of the risk that's inherent to it all. In every single session, Kalani risks his life."

"But he is a conscious madman and one of the best-prepared people in the world to do something like this. It is difficult to describe what he does without using swear words, though."

Kalani, on the other hand, has a more laid-back approach to it all.

"There were no big scares during the whole shooting; only a 'difficult' day when I had to go and do a photo session for the movie cover," jokes Lattanzi.

"It was 7 am, freezing cold, and my wetsuit was still wet. It was the hardest thing I had to do for this movie."

But in the end, it all paid off.

After watching the final cut of the movie, Kalani thought it was really incredible, and he was overwhelmed with emotion.

All the success the duo is enjoying is making them excited. The athlete himself now looks forward to working in future projects.

"Kalani - Gift from Heaven" is available for download on Apple TV, Google Play, Amazon Prime, Vimeo, Vudu, and others.

The documentary has already reached topped the charts in countries like Portugal, Brazil, Australia, made it to the top 5 in GreatBritain and the United States.

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