Being blind shouldn't be an obstacle to doing what you want with your life, even if that desire is to skateboard. Dan Mancina is proof of that. The accomplished skater's vision began to fade when he was 13 years old due to a degenerative condition known as retinitis pigmentosa. He now only has a small portion of peripheral vision in his right eye, he says around 5%, but it hasn't stopped him from skating.
Mancina started skating before he was blind, where he would perform kickflips, fakies and other tricks. And since his blindness he's continued to do tricks, but now to help him skate Mancina uses a cane and a beeping box that alerts him to how close an object he might want to jump over or skate near is.
"I got inspired one day and built a box, then I was just like I’m gonna see what I can do. Originally I was doing it without my cane but the cane gives it such a dramatic effect. It’s hilarious like, 'Whoa, is that dude blind?'" Mancina explains to Jenkem Magazine. "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."
Mancina says that due to his condition, one day he'll be totally blind but he doesn't dwell on it, he just gets on with skating and living his life.
He doesn't just skate either, but does "blind beer pong,” “blind woodchopping,” “blind archery,” and “blind automatic rifle" as you can see in the video below. He does it because he says he wants to "change the perspective of what you think a blind person is."
It's an inspirational attitude and one that he's also trying to install in others by teaching kids that they don't need to let their blindness limit them.
"I never really worried or thought about it." Mancina says about his eye disease. "I just kept doing what I was doing, which I think is the best way to go about it. Not dwell on or stress out about it. I’m going to school for teaching the visually impaired, working with blind kids on orientation mobility. I want to help them live not so sheltered of a life and not be afraid to go out there and do anything."