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3 Truly Incredible Skateboarding Stories You Probably Didn't Know
23.09.2014 12:00 AM

There used to be a television show in the 80's called That's Incredible!, which featured stories that made you go "Whoa!"

Here is our skateboarding addition:

1.The Greatest Skaters You Never Heard of

Straight out of Australia, Tas and Ben Pappas took the skateboarding world by storm in the 90's ranking 1 and 2 in the world by 1996, with Tas beating out Tony Hawk in the world championships that year, while skating with a broken rib.

The Pappas brothers often contemptuous treatment of the Birdman may have backfired as they claim Hawk, using his influence with big money sponsors kept Tas from competing in the Best Trick event in the 1999 X Games, where he planned on attempting to land a 900, a trick Hawk himself would be the first to land at the event.

The brothers are credited with revolutionizing the vert ramp by introducing street-skating inspired tricks unlike anything anyone else was doing at the time, but their penchant for skating was outweighed by struggles with mental illness complicated with by a heavy use of alcohol and hard drugs.

Their lives quickly spiraled out of control after the 1999 X Games with Ben's life ultimately ending in tragedy.

Their cautionary tale of undiagnosed mental health issues, drug addiction, prison time and murder/suicide is featured in the new documentary All This Mayhem.

Tas and Ben Pappas Straight killing it!

2. Triumph of The Human Spirit

Tommy Carroll is not a professional skater but by any measurement what he does on a daily basis is more awe inspiring and motivational than anything you will catch at the next X Games.

Tommy, now a college student at Northwestern University, has been skating since he was 10 years old, which is a pretty incredible feat when you learn that he has been completely blind since the age of two due to a rare form retinal cancer.

Tommy is no slouch at the skatepark as demonstrated by the inspirational video above.

How does he do it?

As Tommy shares in this McSweeny's interview with Joel Rice, he asks a lot of questions of fellow skaters and makes judgments based on the sound of his wheels. Pretty incredible!

3. Skating Out of Adversity

Thalente Biyela was homeless and living on the streets of Durban, South Africa since the age of 11 after suffering through an abusive relationship with is step-father that ended when his mother passed away, leaving Thalente orphaned and totally alone.

When someone gave him a skateboard as a gift at the age of 10 they had no way of knowing the positive impact it would have on his life.
"When the skatepark was opened on North Beach, it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me."

Thalente says of the Durbin skatepark that he would literally call home for many years, spending his days skating and his nights sleeping in nearby garbage bins.
Until he was discovered by professional skater Kenny Anderson, who has since brought Thalente to America and taken him under his wing. Together they have traveled the US with Kenny helping Thalente find his way into the world of Professional skating.

With strong support from the skate community the world over Thalente is now sponsored by LRG, Element, and more.

Keep an eye out for Thalente at a Skate Competition near you as well as a theater near you in the soon to be released documentary I Am Thalente.

So there you have it, two of the greatest skaters ever, letting it all slip away before they cemented their legacy, a truly amazing athlete, defying the odds and accomplishing what would seem to be completely impossible, and a talented young skater given hope to realize a dream by a strong skateboarding community. Pretty epic stuff!

Do you know of any incredible skateboarding stories that we missed? Let us know what you think of ours or fill us in on yours in the comments below!

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