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Blind Japanese skateboarder uses cane to ride the rails

Published: Updated:

Ryusei Ouchi takes a deep breath as he uses his cane to feel out the edge of the three-meter-high ramp, shuffles to the edge and then drops in.

Like all skateboarders, the rush of air, the thrill of the ride, the sense of achievement in completing a trick are what drew the 19-year-old to the sport. Unlike other boarders, however, Ouchi is almost completely blind.

Ouchi was born with perfect vision but since being diagnosed with an eye condition at the age of seven his sight has degenerated to the point where he needs a cane to navigate his local skate park in Tokorozawa, north of Tokyo.

Dropping in off large ramps, riding rails and even performing handstand tricks, Ouchi has impressed the local skateboarding community and earned him a sizeable following on social media. He is well aware of the dangers but says it comes with the territory.

Ouchi started skateboarding at 15 when his eyesight began to degenerate faster. He realized he wanted to learn before it was too late.