- The Inertia

This article was originally published on The Inertia

Athletic magic is tough to come by. But when you see it, you know it. The swooping wonderment of a full rail carve on an open face. Or the perfect barrel stance, perhaps executed after a well-timed stall. When I first saw a clip of Dariel Meléndez Dávila doing similar things late last year, I was floored.

Dariel was performing magic. But on one leg. His story is inspiring if not intensely tragic. When he was 11, he was wandering around his home on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. For reasons unknown, a robber attempted to steal from the young boy. As he tried to escape the thief he crossed a set of tracks, trying to beat a passing train. He didn't make it. In the accident, the young boy lost his leg.

A man now at 22, Dariel hasn't let the incident stop him. Not even close. He started surfing a little over two years ago, and as you can see, he's developed a pretty special technique where he stands low on his back leg and essentially uses one of his front arms to create a balanced stance. But Dariel has a dream to stand on his own two feet. And the surfing community - namely Logan Dulien, creator of the Snapt series - is rallying to help make that happen. "I've been so inspired by his surfing but most importantly who he is on land," Logan told us. "This kid is so positive and has the best attitude regardless of his situation . I felt it was only right to start the GoFundMe and reach out to the surf community so we can come together and help make Dariel's dream come true to walk again with the help of a prosthetic leg."

Dariel has such an impact on everyone he meets that it seems most want to join his team the minute they meet him. To wit, Russell Molina, who owns Advanced Kinematics in Irvine, Calif., was one of those acquaintances. He's offered his skills to help Dariel get a "top-of-the-line prosthetic leg." The leg, Molina hopes, will allow him to walk, give him full mobility and also allow him to surf standing up.

Aside from fitting the prosthetic, Molina has already donated $1,500 of his own cash to the GoFundMe, which at this point has already raised nearly $13,000 of the $25,000 goal. "This kid has a heart of gold and has made the most of life with one leg," wrote Dulien on the GoFundMe page. "But it's time we come together and help his dream of walking again become a reality."

If you want to help Dulien and the rest of Dariel's team capture some magic, donate to the GoFundMe campaign here.

This article was originally published on The Inertia

World Surf League
Download it for free on the App store. Download it for free on Google Play.