Have you ever tried skateboarding? I have. I got on a skateboard at Decathlon and fell flat on my face. Suffice to say that I never tried again. But all the great skateboarders got up and kept trying. I guess that’s what makes them great!
Talking about great skateboarders, it is highly likely that you’ve heard of Tony Hawk. Tony is regarded as one of the best skateboarders in the world, and in June 2016, he posted the following to his 6 million plus fans on social media.
This is Kamali Moorthy (then 6-years old) from the coastal town of Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu. Needless to say, the internet took notice of this barefooted girl skateboarding in a skirt, and Kamali became a celebrity. Influenced by the surfing culture in and around Mahabalipuram, Kamali fell in love with surfing and skateboarding. She started practising her skateboarding skills when she was 3-years old on a slope built by the Holystoked collective.
In 2016, Jamie Thomas, a photographer and renowned skateboarder, visited Mahabalipuram for a shoot. He was introduced to Kamali by Chennai-based consultant, Aine Edwards.
He was so impressed by her that he gave her his skateboard and posted this on Instagram.
This is when Tony Hawk noticed Kamali and shared her photo. Cut to May 2019, and Kamali is in the news again. This time because a short story based on her has been shortlisted for 2020 Oscars.
The 24-minute short film revolves around the life of Kamali and her mother Suganthi. The movie talks about the challenges that Suganthi faces as a single mother raising a skateboarding champion in a traditional society. Catch a glimpse of the little champion in the trailer of Kamali.
Directed by Sasha Rainbow, a filmmaker from New Zealand, “Kamali” has already won the Best Documentary at the Atlanta Film Festival in April 2019. Going by the trailer, it is the innocent energy of Kamali and the stark realism of Suganthi’s struggles that draws the audience in. I have my fingers crossed, hoping “Kamali” wins and athletes like her get the attention they deserve.