Postcard: Suburban Los Angeles bowl

I was in southern California recently to report a story on a once-homeless Zulu skateboarder from Durban, South Africa, who is now pursuing his dream of becoming a professional athlete in the U.S. His name is Thalente Biyela (pronounced “Talent”) and the simple facts of his story are extraordinary. He was beaten savagely throughout his childhood by his stepfather; his mother died of AIDS when he was young; he became addicted to heroin and crack cocaine before he was 16; he ran away and lived on the streets starting at age 11, sleeping under dumpsters and skateboarding every day. Through it all, he has maintained a remarkably positive and moving perspective. This is Thalente sweeping a bowl before skating it with Bones Brigade legend Lance Mountain. Watch for the documentary “I am Thalente” this summer.

thal sweeping 2
Photo by Devon O’Neil