Derek Rabelo, 24, is one of the surfers to conquer Hawaii’s famous Pipeline big wave break but one of the most amazing characteristic parts of this young surfer is that he’s completely blind.
He was named after a professional surfer, Derek Ho, the first Hawaiian surfing world champion. His father, dreamed that his son would go on to his honor his namesake and inherit the talent of his uncle who is a professional surfer.
Unfortunately, Derek was born completely blind because he suffered from congenital glaucoma but this didn’t stop his family from believing that he can still continue anything he wanted.
He attempted to ride the wave when he was 17, his father bought him a surfboard and taught him the basics and encouraged him to continue practicing. With his father’s constant support as he could see that Derek is really interested in surfing, his father let Derek joined Praia de Morro surf school and was coached by Fabio Maru.
Though the challenge of riding the waves with his disability and people told him that it is dangerous to do it, Derek never gave up. Now, he has been surfing the legendary Pipeline every winter since. According to Oddity Central, his senses took over and touching waves help him feel their dynamics, listening to the water also let him know what to expect and the drag of the waves tells him when to duck dive.
His video of tackling the Pipeline in 2012 went viral among extreme sports enthusiast; furthermore, Bryan Jennings, a film maker shoot a documentary about him and called it “Beyond Sight”.