di Erika Scafuro
Most of us will never know what it’s like to ride a huge wave as high as a six floors building, but we can hear Maya Gabeira tell us that the sound of the wave breaking behind her was as loud as a powerful explosion.
Maya Gabeira has been the first woman to ride the largest wave on last 11 February during Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge. It was 22,4 meters high.
The official news about the victory of Gabeira of cbdMD XXL Biggest Wave award and for setting the record arrived in September, after WSL used a measurement system to make the size of the wave even more precise. So a group of engineers and technicians studied it to certificy the primacy.
And yes, Maya Gabeira rode the biggest wave beating the rival Justine Dupont.
Probably Maya, who is now 33 years old, is used to achieve excellent results. 2020 is a kind of magical year for her career: she holds the Guinness World Record for the biggest wave ever surfed by a woman, record she had already set in January 2018 with a wave 20 meters high. But she has been also the first woman to compete in Nazare Tow Challenge Men Division.
Maya has been awarned five times champion of Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards (from 2007 to 2009, 2010 and 2012). In 2009 she won the ESPY Awards as the Best Female Action Sports Athlete.
The big wave Brazilian surfer comes from Rio de Janeiro and she is the daughter of a politician and a fashion designer. She loves to travel around the world, meet new people and new cultures.
In 2015 Maya took the decision to move to Nazaré, where she undergoes constant work out that allows her to face so powerful waves. This happened just two years after the terrible accident that took place in Praia do Norte on October 28, 2013 and that made her risk losing her life. Maya was surfing a big wave when she had a wipe out that took her life jacket off and held her underwater for several minutes. During interviews Maya describes that it as the saddest moment of her life, when she realized she was going to die. After losing consciousness and being brought ashore by rescue, she has been revived. It took back surgery and rehabilitation, which compromised her surfing career, but in the end Maya is back even stronger and more determined.
Despite having thought about changing life and work, Mays has moved on to achieve her big wave surfing goals. She did not choose a easy path, but she is proud, as a woman, to showed how motivation can lead to a great triumph.