Starting her professional surfing career in 2004 at the mere age of 17, years later Maya Gabeira continues to make waves in the surfing world! Gabeira initially set the world record back in 2018 riding a 68 foot wave. This time around the Brazilian surfer beat her previous record by five and a half feet, with a confirmed measurement of 73.5 feet.
Although measuring the size of waves is difficult, experts confirmed that for a second time in a row, in the same waters of Praia do Norte, Portugal Gabeira set new records. Gabeira described the waves as “pretty special although it was terrifying as well.”
To set the world record was a long time dream of Gabeira for many years. To make this happen in 2018 for the first time then again in 2020 is a huge accomplishment for the surfing veteran who won in ESPY back in 2009 for Best Female Action Sports Athlete. Gabeira was also recognized as the winner of the cbdMD XXL Biggest Wave Award and the wave was later validated by the Red Bull Big Wave Award.
After nearly drowning in a surfing accident back in 2013 Gabeira is grateful to set the record a second time. “To get a second one is a little bit crazy, I’ve got to wrap my head around it.” said Gabeira who reminisced about the hardship, serious injuries and trauma it took to get to this point.
The recovery from this almost career ending injury took four years and three back surgeries. She lost all of her sponsors, dealt with an anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and was scolded publicly and warned privately by legends of her sport. Despite the setbacks Gabeira exemplified what it means to be a GladiatHER. Showing courage, commitment and perseverance we are proud to celebrate Maya Gabeira as she makes waves for women in sports.
Check out the video of the Maya Gabeira breaking her own Guinness World Records title for the largest wave surfed by a woman.