Brazilian skater Felipe Nunes lost both of his legs at the knee in a train accident when he was six years old. At age 13, he picked up skateboarding—at first, simply a way to get around without a wheelchair. Now, at 19, he’s one of the world’s most intriguing skateboarders, having basically reinvented the sport through trial-and-error to suit his unique body. Watching Felipe fearlessly throw himself off ramps and down rails, seated on his board, propelled solely by the strength of his upper body, it’s impossible not to feel inspired.
In his young career, Felipe has already become a local legend in his hometown of Curitiba. He’s skated and placed in competitions against able-bodied skaters in Brazil and the United States. He’s even garnered the attention of skateboarding pioneer Tony Hawk, who has sponsored Felipe’s tournament appearances in the past, and who earlier this year invited him to California to skate with the pros.
Felipe’s relationship to skateboarding goes deeper than any had by an out-of-shape amateur or even a well-paid pro; it’s something that not only gave him his freedom back after a tragedy, but even allowed him to sublimate that tragedy into the discovery of transcendent skills that most able-bodied people can’t hope to match. Keep an eye out: he’s young, and he’s got his whole career ahead of him. Most importantly, he’s a hell of a lot of fun to watch.
Senior Producer: Kiran Chitanvis | Creative Producer, Translator: Anders Kapur | Director of Photography: Kadeh Ferreira