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Aitor Francesena, aka “Gallo”, had to listen several times to “forget about surfing” since childhood, due to the congenital glaucoma he had been diagnosed. However, and even after losing his sight completely a few years ago, he continues to practice his passion on a daily basis, demonstrating that there is no limit greater than oneself.
“I like to live life to the fullest. I lived it before and now I still live it,” he says in relation to the moment he became completely blind 7 years ago, after suffering an accident at sea. This was just the end of a long-awaited black screen that he had been pursuing since childhood because of his illness, which he had already seen dramatically advance when at age 14 he lost the vision of his right eye, but that never conditioned his character or his day to day. “I have not stopped surfing, I have not stopped teaching, nor have I stopped doing anything I did before, maybe in a different way, but I have not quit.”
Just feel the whirlwind of positive energy that is Aitor to understand how he has been able to live, despite everything, a thousand lives in one. “I have spent my whole life running trying to see as much as possible and live as much as possible, because one day I was going to go blind. And what do I have left to do in my life? Jump off a plane, everything else I’ve done, ”he says. And is that “Gallo” has not only dedicated part of his life to practice this sport, he was also co-founder of the first surf school in Spain (1988) , creator of his own teaching method that is still in force, manufacturer of professional boards , professor and even the discoverer and coach of great international champions such as Aritz Aranburu, as reflected in the documentary “Gallo”.
In recent years, in addition to continuing to surf and teach in the Basque Country, he has achieved another great challenge in his life: becoming a champion of the world of adapted surfing . And it is that the skill of Aitor is such that, at times, it seems impossible that he cannot see the waves. Of course, he confesses that there are other eyes on them to help him, almost always those of his great friend Ibon Illamendi, who has been practicing as a caddy for years, making it possible that “the smile, the adrenaline and the feeling of harmony and tranquility ”That surfing brings to your life remains something indispensable.
“LOOK FOR ALTERNATIVES, DO NOT RUN OUT OF RESOURCES”
Aitor’s life is not just a story of overcoming, it is a way of living life, or rather squeezing it. “In the end what you have to do is make sense of the things you do and give everything for it.” Therefore, it is a mistake to set limits without even setting goals, as well as maintaining a pessimistic attitude towards ridiculous day-to-day problems. “It is important that people realize the value that life has, how incredible it is, and be aware that nothing happens and value it”, in addition to knowing how to enjoy such simple things, while important , such as family time or simply the beauty of a sunset.
Therefore, whatever happens, Aitor is clear about the message he would like to convey. “Look for alternatives, do not run out of resources”, because there is always a way out. He is a clear example. “Everything that has been put between my eyebrow and eyebrow I have achieved and everything that comes from now I will not let go, I will do it in the best possible way.”
Of course, although the world of surfing continues to be an essential part of his life, he says excitedly that he currently has other things in his head. “Now that I have done everything I wanted to do in life, and I have my daughter and my partner, my greatest aspiration is to make them happy for the rest of my life.”