Derek Rabelo isn’t your average surfer. In a sport that requires agility, strength and a keen observation, Derek inspired some of the greatest surfers in the world when he conquered 'Pipeline' one of the most dangerous surfing circuits in Brazil. Derek was born with congenital glaucoma, which left him legally blind. But that didn’t stop the 20-year-old Brazilian from learning to surf when he was just three years old.
“I swim, surf, ride skateboards and bikes,” says Rabelo. “With God, everything is possible.” Religion plays a big role in his life. In fact, the church helped take him to Hawaii in 2012, where the surf community took Rabelo under its wing. After a video was released with Makua Rothman taking the Brazilian surfing at a small day in Pipeline, his fame spread across the globe. It shows him duckdiving incoming whitewash with perfect timing, as well as paddling into waves by himself. “I can see the same things as others, except in different ways,” he explains.
Rabelo is currently working on his upcoming documentary, 'Beyond Sight—A True Champion Lives By Faith, Not By Sight.' Relying on four out of five senses, Derek’s example doesn’t put trivial complaints like high tides or sideshore winds into perspective.