Aitor 'Gallo' Francesena, 47, is a staple figure in Basque Country surfing. Founder of Zarautz Surf Club and co-founder of the first surf school in the country, Francesena has made an unforgettable impact on the sport as a national coach and trainer of some of the country's most elite surfers, such as, Aritz Aranburu.
Francesena is also completely blind.
Born with congenital glaucoma, he lost the vision in his right eye at 14-years-old. In 2011, after a corneal transplant, he had a surfing accident that left him without vision in his left eye, leaving him 100% blind.
Since then, Francesena hasn't skipped a beat. He is still surfing and still coaching the country's youth as they climb the ranks of the national circuit and beyond.
Better yet, he represented Spain in the 2016 Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship in the newly added AS-VI (Visually Impaired) Division winning the Gold Medal against seven other competitors from around the world.
If you are not inspired by Francesena's instinctive talent, than you can surely find inspiration in his dedication to the sport. Other than his personal competitive achievements and his founding of a surf club and surf school in his hometown, Francesena has also written a book for those looking to learn how to surf. He is truly an ambassador of our sport.