Derek Rabelo is not the only surfer to conquer Hawaii’s famous Pipeline big wave break, but whereas others use their sight to do it, this young professional surfer must rely only on his other senses. That’s because he is completely blind.
When Derek was born, over 24 years ago, his father Ernesto had already decided to name him after Derek Ho, the first Hawaiian surfing world champion. A surfing enthusiast himself, Ernesto dreamed that his son would go on to honour his namesake and inherit the talent of his uncle, a professional surfer. Unfortunately, Derek was born completely blind from congenital glaucoma, but this didn’t stop his family from believing that he could do anything he wanted, even if that meant becoming a surfer.