Category Archives: surf

Blind surfer? Meet Derek Rabelo, Brazilian Christian

Derek Rabelo wanted to surf one of the most exciting and dangerous waves on the planet: Pipeline, on Oahu’s legendary North Shore. The only problem was he was blind.

“When you’ve been surfing for 30 years and you know what you’re doing and you can see, you can die” at Pipeline, according to Laird Hamilton, a pioneer of big wave surfing.

But Derek, who was born with congenital glaucoma that rendered him blind, wanted to surf, despite not being able to see. He believed his faith in God would carry him where others failed.

“Humble yourself and ask God for help in the challenges,” Derek told a church audience on a Grove Baptist Church video, explaining his undaunted determination to surf Pipeline.

Three surgeries failed to give Derek sight from his congenital glaucoma. Born to a surfer in Guarapari, Brazil, Derek had trouble enough making his way through school, where he was bullied, and getting around the city by himself. Life by itself was already a formidable challenge. Why try the impossible?

But Derek felt a strange magnetism in the ocean next to which his town was built. The feeling of the sand and water, the warmth of the sun, the pounding sound of the waves exerted a sort of mystical gravity.

“I lived near the beach, and I was obsessed with the sound of the waves. I could hear the waves from my bedroom window,” he said on a Jeunesse VIP Leader video. “I had the dream to surf. I wanted to surf more than anything.”

A local surf school coach agreed to help him learn, but his parents felt some serious misgivings.

“On a beautiful day, Derek came to me and told me he was going to surf,” his mother, Lia Nascimiento, says. “I said, ‘No, Derek, no. Are you crazy? How?”

“Don’t worry, mom,” Derek responded. “Be cool. Relax.”

Derek had already signed himself up for the surfing class.

Ernesto Rabelo, his father who named him after famous Hawaiian surf champion Derek Ho, shared his mother’s concern but kept quiet.

“I didn’t like the idea” of him surfing,” Ernesto says. “But I didn’t interfere.”

The local surf instructor, Fabio “Maru” Castor, was the only one on board. He devised a system by which Derek could pay attention to the sound of the water and feel the movement of the water to calculate when to start, when to drop and when to cut.

“I listen to the ocean and feel it,” Derek said. “And every single part of a wave makes different noises. So, I can decide which side of the wave I should surf towards. If you have a dream, you have to believe in yourself. Otherwise, you cannot do it. I believe all of us have strong senses given by God. Use them with passion and perseverance.”

Initially, Derek struggled with the bigger waves and grew discouraged, even to the point of wanting to quit. But he persevered and eventually gained a footing with 8-foot waves.

But could he dare to dream of the massive hollow tubes that break like thunder at the North Shore? He trained intensely for three years. Naysayers abounded. The infamous North Shore broke surfboards and surfer bodies of the best seeing-eyed surfers.

“Pipeline is one the most challenging spots in the world,” says three-time world champion Tom Curren.

“It’s hard enough to surf… Read the rest: Derek Rabelo Christian blind surfer

Christian surfers

Of course, Christian Surfers International calls Jesus the “Original Water Walker.”

Originally, they were just a support group of like-minded surfers who felt a little marginalized by the church, but as they grew, they realized they had a greater responsibility to win the entire surfing world to Christ.

They want to be even more salty while paddling ocean waves and reflect the light of Jesus on sun-drenched beaches.

Today, Christian Surfers International has affiliates in 35 countries with about 175 local missions, each of those acting like a tiny church plant to the surf community, says Casey Cruciano, operations manager of CSI.

They also do community development projects around the world through their organization Groundswell Aid. Some of the best surf breaks also have some of the poorest communities in the world. Hardcore surfers have always traveled to out-of-reach spots for the perfect wave. But CSI surfers don’t just ride the wave; they help alleviate poverty, restore the environment and provide disaster relief.

“We believe in the power of the global surfing community to make powerful, long-term changes to beach communities around the world,” a narrator on a Groundswell video explains. “Using surfing as a platform to connect, Groundswell exists to meet the needs of under-resourced communities and offer tangible hope.”

They even teach Third World youngsters to surf or learn water polo, offering scholarships to those who do well in school and encourage school dropouts to return.

On the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius, they help build housing and school facilities for the locals. Read the rest: Christian surfers Intl.

When you Sunday school teachers look like The Addams Family

Jeff fischerJeff Fischer thought the Sunday school teachers of his childhood mainline church resembled the spooky characters on The Addams Family TV series, so he had no desire to go to church or come to Jesus.

But when he suffered a collapsed lung and a painful air bubble between his heart and lung, he grappled with neurotic fear of death and finally relented to accompany a co-worker to a “weird” Jesus People movement church where they asked him, “Have you been washed by the blood?”

He thought it was a cult and dashed for the door.

But he started reading his Bible — and he pasted a “Jesus Lives” bumper sticker on his car. (He didn’t know what the One Way index finger pointed to Heaven sign was about, so he flipped off someone on the road who attempted to congratulate him for the bumper sticker.)

Just got saved--surfer interview 1981“I started with Matthew and read straight through the gospels,” Jeff says. “All I remember is seeing my sin in the pages and seeing Jesus so gracious and so accepting of sinners. My father left when I was 10 years old, so I had real issues with being accepted. I kept reading and kept seeing Jesus accepting all these people.”

Maybe he can accept me, he thought.

The next time Jeff attended a born-again function, it was a Bible study in Woodland Hills, California, taught by a bassist he had seen on The Tonight Show — a “cool guy who knows Jesus.”

What’s going on?” he thought.

“I was thinking seriously about my mortality and my fear of death. I had people talking about Jesus and how He could save me and set me free from fear and that I could know that if I die I could go to Heaven. I didn’t have to live the way I was living and I could be free,” Jeff says. “That was utterly compelling, but I was also scared to death to give up my life because I wanted to continue to sin, to do my life and not God’s.”

He was living his dream life in Manhattan Beach, California — abusing drugs and alcohol, playing in a rock band called “Tyme,” and surfing everyday — but he was miserable and hung over most of the time.

As The Tonight Show musician taught, Jeff’s fears subsided and the Spirit welled up in him. At the end of the Bible study, the leader asked for everyone to bow their heads and close their eyes. “If anyone wants to receive Jesus, raise your hand,” he said.

Don’t put your hand in the air, he told himself, but his hand leaped off his lap. Read the rest: surfer druggie saved in Jesus People Movement pastors in San Fernando Valley.