Blind Surfer Takes on Pipeline - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Blind Surfer Takes on Pipeline

Makua Rothman Makua Rothman
Makua Rothman gives Derek Rabelo a board Makua Rothman gives Derek Rabelo a board
Derek Rabelo Derek Rabelo
Rabelo catches a wave Rabelo catches a wave
Eli Olson Eli Olson

PUPUKEA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Imagine closing your eyes and then surfing at a spot known for having some of the most dangerous waves in the world. It sounds impossible, daring, and a recipe for disaster. Just recently, a blind boy from Brazil showed everyone you can do it.

It all started with an unannounced visit at pro-surfer Makua Rothman's house on Oahu's north shore.

"I never really know his story," explained Rothman. "He just showed up with these two other guys."

Derek Rabelo from Brazil quickly proved he wasn't just a fan.

"He said he surfs but he can't see," said Rothman.

It was something Makua wanted to see to believe so, he gave Derek one of his brand new short boards and the two of them paddled out to a spot usually reserved for the more experienced surfers; the Banzai Pipeline.

"He really wanted to get barreled so we pushed him up on a couple," said Rothman.

At first, the waves pummeled him but soon, he looked just like any other surfer out there and left other pro-surfers stunned.

"It was steep. He was paddling, he was going and just grabbed his rail. I think he got barreled on one," said Eli Olson.

Rothman exclaimed, "I was tripping out because I never told him where the white wash was coming and he ducked and had perfect timing. I was like are you kidding me? I guess without out one sense, all the rest of the senses are really, really keen."

Even more amazing? Derek's only been surfing for over 2 years and easily taking on some of the toughest waves in the world!

"Oh, he's an inspiration! How many blind people you know that surf and pulls in Pipe?" said Koa Rothman.

The way Derek likes to explain it is simple. He says surfing is a gift he's been blessed with from God and that he'd come to Hawaii looking for a miracle. Surfing Pipeline just may be the miracle he will be taking back home with him to Brazil.


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