14-year-old Kai was featured on AllOnGeorgia last year after he traveled to Florida for a charitable cause for the visually impaired. His story drew attention because of his desire to raise awareness about Retinitis Pigmentosa, or RP, an eye disease that has claimed his own vision.

But the Bulloch County teen continues to not only spread joy to the visually impaired community through ‘Kai’s Comforts’, but he’s doing things big things and landed the title of the world’s only (known) visually-impaired skimboarder, a sport he’s been doing since 2005.

The company Exile skimboards became interested in sponsoring Kai after a recommendation from World Champion Skimboarder Austin Keen brought Kai to their attention. The California-based company has an enormous team and, as a whole, has been incredibly supportive of his participation in the sport. They say Kai is the only legally blind skimboarder with a sponsorship in the world.

“He loves sharing the sport, being an ambassador for Exile Skimboards and encouraging others to live a “#noexcuses” lifestyle.” 

And just like with Kai’s Comforts, Kai shares his story and his joy with others. The skimboarder recently attended a surfing camp in North Carolina – one that draws children from all over the world with a focus for the visually impaired (VI).  There, he was able to meet several of his Instagram followers, ranging from 12-years-old to 47. His travels along the East Coast have also allowed him to network with other skimboarders and those with low vision.

The camp, in its 10th year, is free to attendees, but has a strong need for donations. [If you are interested in donating to the program, please visit: https://www.crowdrise.com/indojaxsurfcharities]. Families pay for lodging and food while attending the week long camp.

Kai said of the camp:

“My favorite part of the camp was the feeling of getting up on the big waves for the first time. Some of the waves were more than 3 feet high!  The most challenging part was paddling out thru the waves when there was a big set rolling in after my last ride to shore. It was hard because it was scary trying to paddle into a big wave and having it throw me back 40 feet back through the rough water. Then I’d have to start paddling again. I would encourage other VI kids to try the camp because its a safe environment for getting used to the ocean and having fun.” 

 

Kai is proof that the word “impaired” is not a lifestyle.

You can learn more about Retinitis Pigmentosa here and follow Kai on Instagram: @kai.owens

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