The Blind Rider
In its purest form, skateboarding combines the best of art and athletics. But, for a few, the sport is more than that. It is a way of life.
And in some rare instances, it has the ability to heal.
At the end of the famous pilgrimage, Way of St. James, in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, one 19-year-old has found comfort in skating in the midst of personal tragedy. His name is Marcelo Lusardi.
Since the age of 11, Marcelo has been riding. That is until last November when he lost his sight due to a genetic disorder. It was a traumatic event for one so young. He was not only depressed. He was lost.
His story could have ended there. But with the encouragement of friends, he started to skate again. And it is through skateboarding that he rediscovered who he is. Marcelo’s incredible tale was told in a short movie that premiered at the end of last month. It was produced by the Spanish production company Runastudio and directed by 32-year-old Carlos Junquera.
X-Wear caught up with Carlos to talk about his touching film which has led to newfound fame from Marcelo who has been featured on GrindTV, The Guardian, Kingpin Skateboarding, VICE Sports, Thrasher Magazine and has even caught the attention of skate legend Tony Hawk.
X-Wear: Why was it important for you to tell Marcelo’s story?
Carlos Junquera: I am a skateboarder too and when I heard about him and met him, I thought his story needed to be told. I knew it would probably help him, give him support and hope. Skaters are family and I connected with Marcelo from the beginning. He was just so awesome. Ironically, he was the one who gave me hope.
X-Wear: Perhaps the most powerful moment in your film occurs a little more than 2 minutes in when Marcelo talks about the first time he skated after losing his vision. He’s unable to finish his statement and breaks down in tears. It shows just how important skateboarding is to him. Why do you think he has such a passion for the sport?
CJ: I think it’s because skateboarding is a form of expression, of art and allows us to disconnect from our everyday troubles. And that becomes very important in a skateboarder’s life. For Marcelo, it’s his passion and it’s what makes him happy.
Skateboarding gives you hope and motivation every time you land a trick. No matter how good or bad you are, you can feel that when you skate.
X-Wear: What do you hope audiences get out of your film?
CJ: I hope people realize that no matter what problems you may encounter in life, you can always push harder and move on.
There are two audiences for this film: skateboarders, or extreme athletes, and those who aren’t extreme athletes. For skateboarders, I believe they will be proud of the skateboarding and remember the iconic phrase, “skateboarding saved my life,” that a lot of us reference.
Non-skateboarders will feel the awesomeness around what Marcel is doing, and also feel hopeful.
I hope everybody realizes after watching this film that we are capable of anything, and that Marcelo is the most courageous person in the world.
X-Wear: What are Marcelo’s thoughts about “The Blind Rider”?
CJ: He is very, very happy about the feedback he is receiving. He knows this is an important point in his life and this film is giving him opportunities and hope.
X-Wear: What’s next for you? And what do you think is next for Marcelo?
CJ: I am very interested in telling more stories that have social themes. I will continue skateboarding with Marcelo so we can share our passion together. I believe Marcelo opened the door just a bit and this is the beginning for him. Now he is strong and he has decided to keep living and make his dreams come true, so the opportunities for him are infinite.
At X-Wear, we believe Marcelo’s story should inspire us all to keep riding and to keep shredding. You can start by clicking this link to a section of our online store dedicated to all things skateboarding. If you’re in Falmouth or Provincetown, make sure to visit our Board Stiff stores where you’ll find an assortment of skate gear to meet the needs of the most passionate riders.
And to turn your own rides into a story, check out our GoPro cameras and accessories which will help you capture your best tricks from unique perspectives.