when Dean Vanderwalle was 8-years-old, he moved to Costa Rica. It was a good decision. As a kid from Belgium, Dean started on a very different path than one he normally would’ve been on. Since he picked up a surfboard, his life has revolved around waves.
He’s got an interesting story. He’s not just a kid who surfs really well–Dean is practically blind without his glasses. “I’m severely visually impaired—pretty much blind without my glasses,” he explained. “So, I was forced to improvise. I started surfing with prescription glasses when I was 10, after my Dad made me a custom pair with a leash system so I wouldn’t lose them. They work great. However, surfing with glasses can be quite difficult at times. Salt creates a film on the lenses. Consequently, I see sets later than most guys, which can affect me in competition. But once I’m on the wave, all is great. The only problem is when I’m in a barrel. Sometimes they get ripped off and I kind of have to feel my way out.”