One of the other board sports I love is skateboarding, when I was young I used to have a single kick skateboard, I used to enjoy riding it around, taking it to parks and cruising round where I used to live.
That was something like 30 years ago, I hadn’t been on a skateboard since those days, I thought there was no way I would be able to skate as a visually impaired person. I used to feed the obvious interest in skateboarding by buying and building my nephews skateboards. It wasn’t until I started surfing in 2014 that I released those old restricting beliefs about being unable to skate, and I got on a skateboard again. It took me a while to open up to the realisation that it was ok to skate at any age, I also had this other limiting belief, as well as my visual impairment, I felt that only kids skateboarded. After a lot of convincing from both my husband and my nephew I decided to go and buy a longboard skateboard. For a good year I didn’t tell anyone that I was into skateboarding, this was before I got trained with my long cane, so I actually was skating without it for the first year, we would always go to safe, quiet places to skate. However once I had learnt how to use, and indeed accept using a long cane, everything changed.
Before then I would only ever skate with my husband, he would act as a guide, skating alongside me. The more I skated the more I wanted to do it on my own. Using my cane was inspired by an incredible guy, Dan Mancina, who you can find on The Inspiring VIP Community page, I first found him by Googling blind skateboarders. I watched him on YouTube and was so inspired by him. I them connected with him through Instagram, I am proud to call him a friend, in fact I created him a Blinded Soul Skateboard.
So now I go off skating on my own whenever I want, using my long cane in my left hand out in front of me, this helps navigate my surroundings and gives me my independence. I often go skating along a canal path where I live, I also like to cruise along the walk way at the beach. The sense of freedom is second to none, just like surfing it gives me a feeling of joy and trust. Learning to surf as a registered blind person gave me the confidence to skate, when the waves are flat, I grab my skateboard and go for a cruise instead.
I have a good collection of boards, my first board, a pintailed longboard, a real classic, I also have my Retro Fish board cruiser, this was the first skateboard I created from scratch and inspired me to create the Blinded Soul Skateboard brand, this board is pretty wide but short and is fitted out with longboard trucks and wheels, it is such a good roller, it cruises along forever. And then there's one of my favourite boards, my mini cruiser, I revamped the deck artwork, it has the Blind A Sixth Sense artwork on the back, I re-grip taped it in purple and fitted it out with new wide wheels for rolling longer. It is such a great, lightweight board, this is my go to board for when I am walking to where I skate as it's so light on my back.
One of my favourite times to go for a skate is at night, I am completely blind at night but somehow my skating comes alive when I skate blind, my remaining vision during the day can be a little distracting, at night I don't have that confusion and I can just go full gusto with no holding back or fear.
So if this sounds like something you would like to try, I say go for it, it's such a fun, joyous activity for anyone, be adaptive with it, enjoy it and always cruise with a smile on your face.