Professional big wave surfer Laird Hamilton (HAW) was recently interviewed by CNN on his perspective of the dangers of big wave surfing and near-death experiences. The interview followed the “Big Monday” swell at Nazaré, Portugal in which Carlos Burle (BRA) claimed to have surfed possibly the biggest wave ever ridden. The same day, he saved the life of his tow partner, Maya Gabeira (BRA), 26, who wiped out and nearly drowned on the heaviest wave she had ever attempted. Both Burle and Gabeira received Billabong XXL “Ride of the Year” nominations during the big wave swell.
“There’s a lot of different reasons why people will do dangerous things,” Hamilton told CNN, “but the one I know to be the safe way is you do it because you are called to do it, because you’re drawn to this challenge in your heart and this is something that you’re here to do.”
Knowing the risks involved in big wave surfing, Hamilton emphasized the importance of training mentally and physically, in addition to gaining a real keen knowledge and understanding of the power of a wave.
“As far as what happened to Carlos’ partner Maya… she doesn’t have the skill to be in this position. She should not be in this kind of surf and I feel it’s Carlos’ responsibility to take care of her and he’s lucky that she didn’t drown.”
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