Archive for category surfing

How Derek Rabelo Surfed The World’s Most Dangerous Wave…Blind!

No doubt this kid is an inspiration. Though blind, he surfed the most difficult and dangerous wave in the world! What I like best is that he uses “other means” to achieve his surfing goals. He says, “Each style of wave makes a different noise…a tubular one type, a fat wave another…when a wave is open, it makes a different noise…from when it is closed.” Maybe I could learn some “other means” to return a tennis ball. I better, because the most important requirement is to “watch the ball,” and I forget to do that at least 50% of the time!

Derek Rabelo lost his eyesight to glaucoma when he was just one year old, but that setback has not stopped the 19-year-old from becoming proficient in a wide range of outdoor sports, including swimming and skating. In his own words: “I don’t feel different from others. I feel normal, and I don’t feel limited at all.” He especially loves to surf, following in the footsteps of his father and uncles.

Rabelo began honing his surfing skills two and a half years ago in Rio de Janeiro, while attending a local surfing school there. He said that because of his inability to see, he uses other senses like touch and sound to gauge the size and shape of the waves he rides. His mother, Lia Nascimento, says of her son: “He has courage that I sometimes lack, to do things.”

In February, filmmakers from “Story Hunter” followed Rabelo with a few cameras to document his trip to Hawaii, where his dream became reality — he successfully surfed the Banzai Pipeline. This particular area is known for being perilous to surfers with its huge waves and shallow water. Rabelo navigated the waves with ease, providing inspiration to even professional surfers who would later see his videos.

Indo Surf Life tweeted, “Next time we complain about life being unfair, we should remember this kid.” Not sure we could ever forget Rabelo or his courage.

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Record-Breaking Surfing Waves Look Like Fun

He’s either crazy or stupid. That’s the only way to explain Garrett McNamara’s decision to tackle a freak 78-foot wave last November you can see in the video above. Original reports pegged the wave at 90 feet, but Guinness certified it this week at 78 feet, a mere 50 centimeters bigger than the previous record holder. The record-breaking ride occurred in Nazare, Portugal, and has to be seen to be believed. As he surfs the wave, McNamara looks like a small GI Joe figurine gliding through a wall of water. The tryst lasted all of 30 seconds, but the bragging rights will last forever.

Surfer Ken Bradshaw calls this huge ride, “Biggest Wednesday,” and it occurred in 1998 on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii. The only video above of the radical ride was taken from shore and is a bit grainy. Still, it’s impressive to see Bradshaw dart with ease through this 85-foot wave. I don’t understand why Guiness doesn’t consider this the biggest wave ever?

The fact that this wave occurred at a deepwater reef referred to as “Jaws” should indicate the level of the danger involved in this performance. Surfer Mike Parsons rode the 64-foot wave during a 2001 competition on the north shore of Maui, Hawaii. A helicopter hovered overhead, catching every second of the gnarly ride. I think this video is the best of the three posted here for showing you what a really big wave looks like.

You can see two more big surfing waves here .

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Mind-Boggling Sports Stunts In 3D

This is a thrilling collection of death-defying sports clips in an almost-3D mode that adds to the breath-takingness of the stunts. I can’t believe people have the courage to do some of these things. I can’t imagine how many takes it took to get these mind-boggling shots.

Enjoy the video.

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Why Susan Edlinger Started Surfing 10 Years Ago, At Age 50, Surfs Without A Leash And Urges You To Live Life With More Risk

Susan Edlinger wrote this article for Creative Living Magazine five years ago, when she was 55. There is a video on her blog of her surfing and describing her passion for her sport. She lives in Woodland Hills, California where she has her own business as an Executive & Life Coach, helping others tap into their own “inner surfer.”

Susan Edlinger

The scene: early morning on a beach in Santa Monica, California. I’m waiting for my instructor to arrive for my first surf lesson. I’ve got butterflies in my stomach and fear in my heart. What made me think I could do this? Why would I want to?

But within an hour, I am on my board and have just stood up on my first “white water.” (That’s surf lingo for catching the churning water just after the wave has broken.) And I am hooked. Surfing is like flying, or racing across a field bareback on a horse—a feeling of riding on a sheer force of nature, out of control and in control at the same time. The sense of freedom and power would change my life forever.

Fast-forward one grand first wave and hundreds of wipeouts later, and I’m spending a week at “Summer Fun Surf Camp” in San Clemente, California. I’m obviously the oldest “camper.” Everyone keeps telling me I am such an inspiration. I try to take this as a compliment.

I would not call this week “summer fun.” Surfing is difficult—in fact, the hardest sport I’ve ever attempted. By the end of the week, I was beyond exhausted. I had swallowed more water than I drink in a year. I had been tossed and held under by waves. I had cut my feet on rocks. I had cried daily with frustration.

Susan surfs with style


The surfing rule of thumb is that surfers spend 90 percent of their time paddling for, waiting for, and trying to catch waves, and 10 percent actually surfing. To really surf, you need great upper body strength, quick reflexes, and incredible balance. I realized quickly that if I didn’t build significant upper body strength, the only waves I’d ever experience would be waves of frustration. But I was determined to learn.

By now you’re probably wondering….why on earth would a sane, safe middle–aged woman even want to learn to surf? A year before I began, my oldest sister, and best friend, died of breast cancer. She was young; she fought the pain, fear, and sorrow heroically. When she died, I realized I was not only sad, but also afraid of dying, and worse, afraid of really living. But I vowed not to live in that prison. I would do one thing; take one small step, to say “yes” to the future. Surfing was my personal testimonial to embracing life.

Taking a break from the wake

Now five years later, surfing has carried me through. I’ve ventured to a women’s surf camp in Mexico, and on a surfing expedition to Peru. Sunday mornings routinely find me at “Mondo’s,” a family surf beach near Ventura, California. My sons have learned to surf, and as I sit with them waiting for waves, I can hear my youngest singing to himself as he scans the ocean for his next ride. And I know joy.

Susan also has some wise words on her blog about how to live an exciting life. She prefers to surf without a leash tied to her and the board. And she uses that metaphor to describe some of her attitudes about life.

To surf without a leash is, in fact, to take the risk of letting go of what we believe is our security. To actually untie ourselves from our security boards and still paddle out into the waves of life. What are some of these securities we are leashed to? For some people, it’s a familiar, though stagnant job, or a safe, but unfulfilling relationship. For others, it can even be smaller things, like majoring in a degree at college, because we think it will “make us money” vs. studying what we are really passionate about. It can be keeping quiet when someone has said or done something that bothers us vs. taking the risk of speaking the truth about how they affect us.

Surfing without a leash, is simply choosing to surf through our days, not necessarily without our security anchors, but rather not tied to them. It’s the courage to be willing to venture out into life, not knowing what will happen next. To leave that job, without another job in sight, to move away from an old relationship, without a new relationship on the line. To say what we really think and feel, not knowing what will happen.

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Senior Athletes Who Inspire All Ages

I learned about a book called The Wonder Years that celebrates senior amateur athletes “who never slow down.” Of course these are rare individuals who have their health, the will to persist, and the physical capability to still compete. Very inspirational. They are truly blessed. The USA Today article follows the pictures. The photographer Rick Rickman’s words apply to us all: “…no matter how old you are, you can be active and engaged in life and have a whole lot of fun and not be this fragile, decaying entity.”

The first portrait is of a Catholic nun who began exercising at 49 and has since finished 20 Ironman triathlons in Hawaii and over 300 more around the world. She is 79! There is a video about her accomplishments at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUp9v8A46dk Check out 66-year-old Clifford Cooper’s October 31st post below about his upcoming Ironman dedicated to his brother who died of Alzheimer’s.

Sister Madonna Buder has completed over 325 triathlons

Sister Madonna Buder has completed over 325 triathlons

Margaret Hinton has competed in numerous national games. “I can tell that some of these people came here to socialize. That is okay, but I’ve come here to take home the gold.” Eve Fletcher began surfing more than 50 years ago. “I don’t think you can be too old to be stoked.”

shotputter Margaret Hinton

shotputter Margaret Hinton


surfer Eve Fletcher

surfer Eve Fletcher

Jane Hesselgesser was a concert pianist and Bill Cunningham was a soccer player and a double for Frankie Avalon. Now in their 60’s and 70’s respectively, they compete as a pair in bodybuilding events around the world against couples 20 years younger.

bodybuilders Bill Cunningham and Jane Hesselgesser

bodybuilders Bill Cunningham and Jane Hesselgesser

Senior Athletes Still a ‘Wonder’ at Their Age

By Reid Cherner, USA TODAY
7/23/09

Growing old might be a contact sport, but it shouldn’t be a competition you need to lose.
That is the premise of The Wonder Years: Portraits of Athletes Who Never Slow Down, a book by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Rick Rickman.

The official photographer of the Senior Olympic Games, Rickman has profiled everyday athletes who many think were past their expiration date as competitors. From surfers to runners to swimmers to body builders.

“These are people who, for the most part, really have no misconceptions that they ever are going to be athletic superstars,” Rickman said. “They are people who love to stay fit and healthy and competitive. Most of them started training late in life, and it has been a wonderful thing for them.”

When a high school student asked the photographer if he had any remorse taking pictures of people doing activities “that might hurt them,” a book idea was born. “I was so taken back I didn’t know how to answer at first,” he said. “I realized that there is this strange perception about aging in this country. I think in the process of growing old and gathering days under your belt, you can decide for yourself whether to be active and engaged and vital all the way to the end.

“I hope (the reader) takes away the fact that, no matter how old you are, you can be active and engaged in life and have a whole lot of fun and not be this fragile, decaying entity.”

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