Meet Dan Mancina, The Man Who Skateboards Despite Being Blind
The story of this blind skateboarder is guaranteed to inspire you
Along with all of the platitudes people pay to skateboarding, about the expression, and the freedom, and the blah blah blah, let’s not forget that skateboarding is hard. And before anybody at the back chirps up about landing a switch dolphin flip down a 876 stair-set, remember all the slams it took to get there.
Hell, remember how long it took you to learn how to ollie. And then how much longer it took you to unlearn that shitty, sloppy ollie and learn how to do it properly so you could start trying to flip your board. Your shins hate you for just thinking about it. As we say, skateboarding is hard.
Now, imagine skateboarding blind. Not seeing pebbles or cracks on the ground. Not seeing the pile of dog poo (oh please God let it just be dog poo) that you’re about to roll through after hitting the said pebble or crack.
Yes, not being able to see would be more than enough to stop anybody from skateboarding. But Dan Mancina is not just anybody. The American skateboarder was born with a condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa, which destroys a persons sight from the outside in, over time.
While it can affect people at different rates, Mancina first knew he was losing his sight aged 13, and is now almost completely blind. In an interview with Jenkem Magazine, Dan confirmed that he only has a tiny amount of sight in his right eye, adding “If something’s not moving I can’t really see it. And it’s not clear vision. It’s like you put a bunch of layers of saran wrap and look through that. When I skate I can’t see my skateboard or my feet."
Dan learnt to skate before losing his sight, but he hasn’t let his condition stop him. He now uses a cane to detect terrain to skate on (although he did admit to Jenkem that “the cane gives it such a dramatic effect. It’s hilarious like, ‘Whoa, is that dude blind?’"), and can place a beeper on objects that he wants to trick on, letting him know when he’s getting close to them.
We’re loathed to fall into the clumsy trap of being patronising and saying “well done on never giving up, Dan", but it is hard not to be inspired by what he does. Whatever your circumstances, if there’s something you want to do, there’s a way to do it, you just have to find out how.