When the odds aren’t in your favor, you can either give up, or face the challenges head on with determination to succeed. One young surfer is making waves in the surf community for doing the latter. San Diego-based non-profit organization, Walking on Water Films, and S4J Hawaii Productions have completed production of their new film called, Beyond Sight: The Derek Rabelo Story for release in theaters March 7th, 2014.
Rabelo’s father prayed that his unborn son would become a professional surfer and even named him after legendary surfer Derek Ho. These aspirations seemed to be shattered when Derek was born blind on May 25th, 1992. However, this physical hindrance did not stop the Brazilian from pushing past his disability to make his dreams come true. At 17 years old, Rabelo embarked on a three-year journey of rigorous training that stretched him mentally, physically and spiritually.
Proving that nothing is impossible, the 20-year-old surfed Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawai’i — a challenging surf destination for even the most skilled surfers.
“Being born blind did not stop Derek from his dream to surf Pipeline. His story has encouraged me and it will inspire this generation!” said Bethany Hamilton, Pro Surfer.
“Pipeline is basically the ultimate wave in a lot of ways — just a short, intense, dangerous wave that’s close to the beach,” said Kelly Slater, 11-time World Champion surfer. “Many surfers with sight do not venture out even after they see that others can do it. With no eye sight, you’re literally in the moment of what the feeling is right at that second, and that is all Derek had as he surfed Pipeline.”
Professional surfer Laird Hamilton added: “Pipeline is one of the most dangerous waves in the world. And when you know what you’re doing and have perfectly good eyes, you can die. When Derek went out to Pipeline and surfed, the angels were busy that day.”
While more than 500,000 people already have gotten a glimpse of Rabelo’s surfing prowess from YouTube clips, Walking on Water founder, Bryan Jennings, was determined to complete production on the feature film with S4J Hawaii Productions. This marks the 12th documentary from the organization in 15 years.
“I hope that people walk out of the movie theater reminded that a true champion lives by faith, and not by sight,” producer-director Jennings said. “I hope people are inspired through Derek’s story to stop giving themselves excuses and persevere with strength towards their dreams.”
From Rabelo recounting his humble upbringings in Guarapari, Brazil, to his new-found friendships with surfing legends, this captivating story will demonstrate how faith can lift us over even the most insurmountable hurdles in our lives. “It’s just a feat to catch a wave, then to actually stand up and angle in a certain direction, those are big accomplishments. So for Derek to actually surf one of the heaviest waves in the world [Pipeline] is unbelievable, he has definitely inspired me,” said Kelly Slater.
Rabelo is an inspiration to all whom he encounters including some of the best surfers in the world like Bethany Hamilton, Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, Tom Curren, Damien Hobgood, Derek Ho, Lakey Peterson and Coco Ho — who star in Beyond Sight.
“Look at Derek, he lives 100 percent by faith and zero by sight, and look what God’s doing in his life,” Peterson said. “He has inspired me to really live by faith and not by sight.”
Through the end of 2014, Walking on Water Films will be screening the Beyond Sight movie in theaters throughout the U.S., Australia, U.K., and other locations.
To find a theater near you, view the trailer, and get more information about Beyond Sight visit: www.beyondsightmovie.com.