Jack Viorel’s teaching career began 25 years ago in a class of medically-fragile, at-risk children and those with special needs. He found the teaching methods being used were not very successful. As a result, in 2006 he moved to North Carolina and opened his own class called IndoJax Surf Charities which is based at Wrightsville Beach.

Jack believes that “to succeed in teaching … there are three fundamentals: inclusion, self-esteem, and a vehicle to open a child’s mind.” Based on this he decided that the best way to teach the children was to use surfing techniques. Through the use of surfing the child is able to develop mobility, self-confidence, communication and many other important life skills.

WARNING: Surfing May Cause You To Change Your Life

IndoJax Surf Charities / Wrightsville Beach / Photography by Richard Perry

There are various surfing facilities at Wrightsville Beach and there are numerous programmes that are taught throughout the year. The charity helps hundreds of people each year and states that they “are never going to tell anyone we cannot help them.

Thousands of students and many success stories later, the methods used have gained an excellent reputation. Following these successes, services were expanded to include wounded soldiers to help with their physical and mental adjustment to life. Mary Baggett, co-owner of Blockade Runner Beach Resort, is a supporter of the charitable surf camps at Wrightsville Beach, she has said that they “are pleased to support these inventive programs which bring joy, self-esteem, and confidence to children and wounded soldiers.”

I love making a difference in a child’s life. I love helping a child to be successful, and I really love helping the underdog,” – Jack Viorel

There is no charge to participants so in order to remain viable IndoJax Surf Charities receives grants and financial support from many organisations and individuals. For example, the Helen Keller Foundation supports the charity and in 2014 announced a three-year grant for vision and hearing-impaired children.

Wrightsville Beach has a long history of reaching out to special needs children and adults. Life Rolls On for people with spinal injuries; Surfers Healing for children with autism; Wounded Warriors surf camps; Juvenile Diabetes and Cystic Fibrosis camps; all these programmes are designed to help people with different disabilities.

The charity relies heavily on the work of volunteers.

Below is a profile of Derek Rabelo who is one of many volunteers who help out at the beach.

WARNING: Surfing may cause you to change your life

Derek Rabelo


Derek Rabelo is a professional Brazilian surfer who was completely blind at birth. He will be assisting teachers and students at the 2015 Visually Impaired Surf Camp at Wrightsville Beach. He notes that “I love making a difference in a child’s life. I love helping a child to be  successful, and I really love helping the underdog.”

Beyond Sight is a presentation that Derek Rabelo often gives to tell the story of his efforts to succeed in his attempt to overcome the shackles of blindness.

To find out more about the wonderful work that this charity does please visit http://indojaxsurfschool.com.

Click here to watch Jack’s TEDx Talk

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About Author

Having studied law for four years at university I am now completing the professional training course to become a barrister. My career aim is to become a barrister specialising primarily in Employment law. Throughout my studies I have maintained an interest in and commitment to the voluntary sector. In my spare time I enjoy swimming and have competed in various swimming competitions.