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Boardheads

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Published on Jan 13, 2011

Board sports define the tough, trendy, wild young kids who dice with death as they wow and surprise. But there's another side to the 'too cool for school' boarding frenzy. It's about autistic children taking to surf boards, skateboards bringing sport and a life to a guy with no legs, underprivilaged kids strapped to snow boards, kids from the ghetto finding a new lease of life and confidence riding a big wave. Boardheads is the slick and surprising story of an international community of adrenaline junkies who find a spiritual home on a board and want to 'share the stoke' with those who need it most.

"If I didn't have a skateboard I'd be pretty miserable", Mark Lee says as his powerful arms push his skateboard along, "Skateboards are my legs". Boardheads love a buzz and communion with something totally outside of themselves, "you're riding in a different universe". But now the escapism that defines board sports is offering the underprivilaged, the disabled, the handicapped, a way to rise out of themselves. To find thrill and exhileration and discover a physical confidence they never thought they could have. "If I can inspire people with disabilities to do something, that's what I'm here for".

In South Africa street children who never had a chance to surf are encouraged by instructor Gary; the only catch is they have to go to school. "We didn't allow them to go surfing and it was the last time they bunked". Gary's programme tries to give the children a release from their everyday lives. It's not a cure but it helps the kids and their families, "I don't think people realise the power that surfing has". The sport not only offers a release but builds confidence and helps overcome mental barriers. The Chill foundation, which brings inner-city kids snowboarding also has discovered the benefits of a little adrenaline. "I love snowboarding because I'm really good at it", says Heidi just one of the kids whose self-perception has been changed by the sensation of board-riding.

This fast and compelling documentary brings to life a phenomenon spreading rapidly around the globe, offering hope and confidence to many who otherwise would be solidly fixed to terra firma.

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