As two surfers approached the beach at Lowers, they were subject to a series of double takes and glances, and for good reason. There was the 11-time World Champion with his hand on the back of a young Brazilian, who carried a board under his left arm and tapped a walking stick over the train tracks with his right.
Derek Rabelo was born without sight, but that does little to deter him from paddling out, especially if it’s in the company of Kelly Slater. Derek was so excited when they made it to the sand fronting the peak that he wouldn’t put his board down. They talked about equipment, what it was like to surf Pipe, and how stoked Derek was to be at the Lower Trestles. Kelly asked about his heightened senses in the water, how he manages to surf on feel alone, how he lets the waves come to him. Derek was in awe of Slater and the opportunity, but the admiration was mutual.