The super courageous Brazilian big wave surfer, Maya Gabeira, made an epic comeback this season at the skull breaker reefs of Teahupo’o, Tahiti. On her last trip in 2011, a near-death incident put her at the wrong place at the wrong time, as she wiped out and was sucked in by the approaching set wave and thrown onto the reef repeatedly, making her rescue near impossible by jet ski. Teahupo’o had Gabeira by the throat, taking multiple waves on the head and pinning her in the shallowest part of the reef, even knocking her unconscious.
Teahupo’o is strong and threatening. The name of the spot translates to “breaking skulls” for a reason, but her traumatic accident wasn’t enough to keep Gabeira from another try at conquering her. If anything, it made her more motivated to work hard and return. With Apnea training and many trips to Mexico, Gabeira was prepared to head back to the End of the Road.
Check out the footage below brought to you by Red Bull. Make sure to hit the “cc” for English subtitles while watching the video of Maya Gabeira recalling the incident that nearly took her life years ago. Watch as she makes a comeback at Teahupo’o and explains the struggles, work and courage it took to get back to surfing these vicious waves.
Click “cc” in the YouTube player for English subtitles.
“Big wave surfing leaves no room. You have to be there with all you have, body and soul, prepared for anything… to run any risk. Standing in the middle of the road… it is dangerous,” Maya said about big wave surfing.
Gabeira’s hunt for giant waves makes her a strong role model for female athletes willing to charge full speed ahead and push their limits. Photo: Brian Bielmann|Red Bull Content Pool
Being one of the few female big wave surfers on the planet, this Brazilian beauty is not backing down from the challenge of the Teahupo’o’s big waves. Watch Maya Gaberia’s feature on Storm Surfers: