Surfing instructor joins the fight against ISIS

Dean Parker, a surfing instructor in Costa Rica, decided to join the fight against ISIS. 
Photo from Parker’s Facebook page
Despite no military training, Dean Parker traded his surfboard for an AK-47, joining the Kurds to do battle against the jihadists after hearing ‘God’s call’

Dean Parker, a native of West Palm Beach, Florida, was enjoying a peaceful life as a surfing instructor in Costa Rica when he decided to trade his surfboard for an AK-47 and join the fight against ISIS.

Parker, 49, was teaching surfing in Zancudo, Costa Rica, when he saw a report about the plight of the Yazidi people trapped on Mount Sinjar by Islamic State fighters, according to MailOnline.
Parker told MailOnline that he “heard God’s call” to take up arms against the jihadists, despite having no military experience.

“When ISIS was attacking the Yazidis and they had fled to the mountain, an Iraqi helicopter with a western journalist went to drop water,” Parker told MailOnline. “Women and children rushed in and started piling into the chopper.

“The cameraman filmed this one mother holding her 10 or 11-year-old son. He was dressed for school it seemed. She was crying, holding him. He was looking at the camera and that look of sheer terror in his eyes overwhelmed me with emotions I have never felt before.

“I actually became physically ill and was crying uncontrollably. This has never happened to me before, and that was it. I knew I had to come, and never in the month before coming here did I have any doubt.”
Dean Parker

Dean Parker traded his surfboard for an AK-47 and joined the fight against ISIS.
 Photo is from Parker’s Facebook page

Parker traveled to the Kurdistan region of Iraq via Istanbul on October 28 and joined the Lions of Rojava, a squad of foreign fighters within the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG), and began training with Kurdish fighters.

It wasn’t until November 2 that he informed those close to him about what he was doing, making a statement on Facebook. He told MailOnline he first wanted to make sure he had made the right decision.

Dean Parker vows to surf the Black Sea once the fight against ISIS is over. 
Photo from Parker’s Facebook page

“Hey Everyone,” Parker wrote on Facebook. “I am in Rojava Kurdistan (Syria). The YPG is training me, until I am ready, then join the fight against Daesh (isis). The only way to try to explain this is that I heard Gods call. The Kurds are the most amazing people. I am so very blessed. Im not much for words except I love you all my friends. I am in very good hands…I will not be messaging for a while or until this is over. I must focus on the task at hand. God Bless You All. Long live Kurdistan. May peace be with you my friends.”

Parker has since posted several Kurdish-related items on Facebook, including five on Tuesday. In one, he wrote, “So many ask me ‘how can I help?’ Well here it is. These guys are the real deal! Let’s all rally around these guys! Please share with all your friends.”

The post links to a post entitled “Operation Limitless Compassion,” which is helping to fund Castle International, a world-wide air ambulance company operated by former special operations veterans from the U.S. and U.K.

Dean Parker was a surfing instructor in Costa Rica before his decision to join the fight against ISIS. Photo is from Parker’s Facebook page

Parker said he is learning the Kurdish language, though many Kurds speak English. He also pointed out that the YPG was being careful to train him on the quieter parts of the frontline rather than insert him into the fiercest fighting.

Parker told MailOnline that he intends to remain until ISIS is removed from Kurdish land, an objective he believes will take another two years.

Maybe then he will be able to return to his first love—surfing. He admitted he missed surfing and vowed to surf the Black Sea once ISIS is defeated.

Family and friends, though presumably stunned by Parker’s decision to join the fight against ISIS, have offered support via Facebook.

“You are our HERO,” posted one friend, according to MailOnline. “Stay strong. Stay healthy. Stay humble. Duck when necessary.”


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