Unless you are big into skateboarding, you might never have heard of Dan Mancina.
Dan became blind several years ago because of an eye disease called RP or retinitis pigmentosa. It is a hereditary disease that slowly affects each person’s vision from the outside in. For Dan, he has not let this disease hold him back.In an interview with Jenkem Magazine, Dan described the current state of his sight.
“There’s a very small portion of my right eye that has peripheral vision. lf I had to put a percentage on it, it’s probably 5%, but it’s more shadows and lights. 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. The little section I have helps me when I’m moving really slow, like pretty much helps me not run into large objects. When I skate I can’t see my skateboard or my feet.”
Despite losing his sight, Dan was still interested in skating.
“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?” 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. It’s gonna have to be more creative than dropping hammers. I have a million ideas I want to try but it’s the same as when I was sighted. You have all these ideas and you get to a spot and you’re like, “’Yeah, I’m not going to be able to do that.'”
He further explained his skating life before he lost his sight.
“I moved to California right after high school, worked at a skate/snow/surf shop for about four and a half years. I got flowed from the shop and through Black Label and Vans. It was super fun but the whole scene was not what I expected. I kind of lost a lot of love and passion for skating. Coming from a smaller town, I’d never seen judgment in skateboarding. Whether it was your style or the way you dressed, as long as you landed the trick it didn’t matter. Then you get thrown into this world where there’re so many good skateboarders it has to be graded on a higher level. I just wasn’t stoked on that view of skating. I always viewed skating like, if you skate it’s all good. But that’s all about how you look at it. I’m looking to just have fun and skate with the homies.”
Dan is an inspiration to me because even though he cannot see, he still pursues his passion of skateboarding. Most people would give up after what he has been through, but he hasn’t let his blindness affect his life.