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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Blind Surfer’s Passion Goes ‘Beyond Sight’
Walking On Water Films and S4J Hawaii Productions have brought blind surfer Derek Rabelo’s powerful story to the big screen

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
Photographs: DeMasiPhotography.com

CARLSBAD, CA (ANS) -- When the odds are stacked you can give up or face the challenges head on with determination to succeed. One young surfer is making waves in the surf community for doing just that. Walking on Water Films (Walkingonwater.com), a San Diego-based nonprofit organization and S4J Hawaii Productions has completed production of “Beyond Sight: The Derek Rabelo Story” which has since been packing out various movie theaters following its theatrical release on March 7th, 2014.

Beyond Sight Movie Poster Artwork

According to a news release, Derek Rabelo’s father prayed that his unborn son would become a professional surfer naming the boy after legendary surfer Derek Ho. However, the father’s aspirations for his son were shattered as Derek was born blind on May 25th, 1992. But this physical hindrance did not stop the Brazilian boy 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, Hawaii — 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.

Derek Rabelo, blind surfer, surfing the famous Pipeline wave in Hawaii

“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, an 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 feel 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.”

Bryan Jennings Co-Director with
11X World Surf Champ Kelly Slater

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 said that he 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 God’s strength toward 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.

Derek Rabelo Right with his Pipeline Surf Coach Magno Passos on left.

“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.”

Lakey Peterson said, “Look at Derek, he lives 100 percent by faith and zero by sight, and look what God’s doing in his life. 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.

Crane Shot - Beyond Sight Behind the Scenes

Many have already have been impacted by seeing the movie. They include Duane Sweeton and his family of ten who live in Murrieta, California.

According to a spokesperson for the film, the family “happened” to be in San Clemente, California, for an appointment, and then to “hit the beach” for some family time.

“When Dwayne realized that the ‘Beyond Sight’ film was showing in town, he knew they needed to go see it,” said the spokesperson. “It wasn’t in their plans that day, but after having received some difficult family news, Duane sensed the Lord telling him to stay in town for the film. He was already a fan of all of the Walking On Water films, having watched all of them, and even sharing them at the Fire Station where he works.

“‘Beyond Sight’ was exactly what the family needed! They were encouraged and inspired. But the best part was when they realized that God brought them there for even more: After the film, Bryan Jennings asked if anyone in the audience happened to be from the Murrieta/Temecula area, because they needed some help and support as they would be showing the film there the following week. Duane stepped forward, and said he would be happy to help.”

Duane says “It was a double-divine blessing. It is undeniable when you see God’s fingerprints all over a situation, and you just know that He had it all planned out from the beginning.”

The spokesperson said that Bryan took time to chat with the family, and prayed for them. He also encouraged them with Philippians 3:10, which spoke directly to them that night: ‘That they might know Him and the Power of his resurrection, and may share in His sufferings…’

“God used the Sweeton’s to bless the ‘Beyond Sight’ film and now many others in their community as they have already begun planning more Beyond Sight showings, helping to make connections, buy out theaters for showings, and much more! It is so much fun to see God at work, and even more fun to be a part of God’s work!”

The theatrical release of the “Beyond Sight” movie was launched on March 7, in San Clemente, California and the theater has been packed out almost every night since that date!

“We want to thank everyone who has attended the San Clemente, Newport Beach, Charleston, Idaho Falls, and Encinitas showings so far!” said the spokesperson. “Thanks to you, the ‘Beyond Sight’ movie has been #3 in the nation for ‘Per Screen Average’ beating out the top Hollywood films. More importantly many believers have been encouraged and many non-believers have received Christ at the theaters.

“Our special guests have included Derek Rabelo, Magno Passos his surf coach, Damien Hobgood, and many of the producers of the movie.

“If you would like to host a ‘Beyond Sight’ movie showing in your city all you need to do is find at least four churches, schools, organizations, or business leaders who are willing to promote and host one showing time and our team will do the rest!”

If you are interested in hosting a ‘Beyond Sight’ movie showing in your city, e-mail Kyle@walkingonwater.com or find the Screening Host Form at www.Beyondsightmovie.com/For-potential-hosts for a “Beyond Sight” World Tour

About Walking On Water:

Walking On Water Films and S4J Hawaii Production Crews joined forces
to create Beyond Sight

Walking On Water is a non-profit 501 C 3 Action Sports Ministry. They have been dedicated to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with this generation since 1995. Walking on Water Films is the premier production company for faith-based action sports feature films that tell powerful faith-based stories of athletes in surf, skateboard and snowboard sports. Their films include Bethany Hamilton’s documentary titled Heart of a Soul Surfer and Walking On Water distributed by Sony Pictures. Over 500,000 people in 30 countries have heard the message of Jesus Christ through a unique model of independent screenings in movie theaters, outdoor venues church’s and convention centers. For more information, visit www.walkingonwater.com.


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Dan Wooding, 73, is an award-winning journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 50 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS) and he hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on the KWVE Radio Network in Southern California and which is also carried throughout the United States and around the world. He is the author of some 45 books, the latest of which is a novel about the life of Jesus through the eyes of his mother called "Mary: My Story from Bethlehem to Calvary". (Click to order)

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