Blind Derek Rabelo surfs Nazare

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

The movie Beyond Sight follows Derek Rabelo's life mission to get barelled while surfing. Derek is blind which makes it a classic story of overcoming adversity. Of course it's a feel good movie, you cheer for Derek's pluck and courage rather than question his choices.

Kelly Slater does though. "If he's blind, how does he know he's geting barrelled?" asks the king.

Fair question, if a bit of a downer. Anyway, blind Derek achieved his goal riding pillion with Mike Stewart at Pipeline. 

Derek's latest mission is to tow into big waves. A task that arguably relies less on sight than barrel riding, and it's also something that can be sensed. Think of the wind speeding by, the visceral rush you feel in your gut, the chatter of fibreglass over chop, none of that requires sight to enjoy it. I don't think...

Anyway, Derek is finding out if I'm talking bollocks or not. He flew into Nazare last week and his early sessions were filled with gentle shoulders. However, two days back he whipped into something a bit more significant.

Sequence by Tim Bonython.



davetherave's picture
davetherave's picture
davetherave commented Friday, 27 Oct 2017 at 12:43pm

Stoked. Hard to fathom really. When I'm blind I can barely stand, let alone surf nazare!!!!!! Tongue in cheek Derek, go for it son.


Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 27 Oct 2017 at 1:18pm

How do you know when to draw breath in preparation for being steamrolled by the next set after you've been flogged if you can't see it coming ?

I bet he's swallowed some chop in his time.

He's doing alright for himself though , no doubt.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Friday, 27 Oct 2017 at 5:59pm

I’ve been trying for ages to think of a way to say something along the lines of,

“why does Derek need to tow into big waves, wouldn’t a small wave have the same feeling for him?”

Without sounding like a real rude prick...
But I haven’t been able to think of a way to say it nicely. Soooo ahhh yeah, why does he?

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Friday, 27 Oct 2017 at 6:00pm

Amazing achievement by the way..

mrkook's picture
mrkook's picture
mrkook commented Friday, 27 Oct 2017 at 7:18pm

I reckon he's after that heart in mouth feeling you get as the wave hits the ledge and you feel like your freefalling, wind rushing against your face, time standing still as you feel like your about to shoot to the moon from the pure stoke of the drop.

Could be wrong though.


goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Friday, 27 Oct 2017 at 7:28pm

Summed it up nicely

scrotina's picture
scrotina's picture
scrotina commented Friday, 27 Oct 2017 at 8:13pm

holy shit. just made me feel like a complete skirt for each time i pulled back on a solid one. blowin is right - even with heightened senses like hearing to make allowance for lack of sight, must be incredibly difficult knowing when to take a breath ...

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