Meet the professional Brazilian surfer who was born blind
A fearless man is fulfilling his surfing-mad father’s dreams to conquer the waves despite being born BLIND.
Derek Rabelo, named after the first Hawaiian world surfing champion Derek Ho, relies on his heightened sense of hearing to navigate the oceans.
The 23-year-old Brazilian was born blind due to glaucoma which meant his dad’s dream had to be put on hold.
Derek always wanted to surf and after learning about his dad’s hopes at the age of 17 he decided to turn them into a reality.
He said: “If you have a dream, you have to believe in yourself, otherwise you can’t do it.
“I believe all of us have strong senses given by God which should be used with passion and perseverance.
“I listen to the ocean and feel it. Every single part of a wave makes different noises so I can decide which side of the wave I should surf towards.”
The photos, taken at Lowers Beach in California, show the thrill seeker standing on the shore with his white cane facing the surf before tackling the crystal clear walls of water head on.
Derek revealed that his dad encouraged him to pursue the sport by going to the ocean with him most mornings and also sent him on a surf course.
“I have also practised a lot with my friends,” he said. “They always consider me just like one of them.”