Think about how difficult it is to get really, really good at skateboarding. The basics are attainable, but hitting big-time stair sets, long handrails and mastering the technicals of advanced flip tricks all take lots of hard work. Now imagine trying to do all of that without the luxury of sight.
Skateboarder Dan Mancina suffers from a hereditary eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa (RP) that will eventually cause him to be 100 percent blind. Within the last five years Mancina has lost the majority of his vision, but he still continues to skateboard.
He recently chatted with Jenkem Magazine about being blind and what it’s like. His left eye is completely blind while his right eye has maybe five percent of peripheral vision left. As he tells Jenkem, “When I skate I can’t see my skateboard or my feet.”
But that hurdle hasn’t stopped him. He was a promising skateboarder when he was younger, getting flow from a shop he worked at and a few skateboard companies. Now he is just focused on his own goals instead of sponsorship. Of how he skateboards these days, he told Jenkem:
“I got inspired one day and built a box, then I was just like I’m gonna see what I can do. I’ll take the box to a tennis court and put it along the white line in front of a crack. I’ll pop over the crack and know the box is coming up, and I feel the box with my cane and just hit it from there. I haven’t done any street skating, which is what I really want to do. I haven’t done anything on my skateboard yet that I haven’t done before I was blind, so I’m hoping to eventually reach that point. My first goal is a handrail. I want something short enough so that I’ll be able to clear the rail if I bail. My big thing is 50-50 on round bars, so that would be cool.”
Ultimately, Mancina wants to help others that are blind, as he is currently going to school to help those who are visually impaired. “I want to help them live not so sheltered of a life and not be afraid to go out there and do anything.”
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