“It Humbled Me a Lot”: Big Wave Surfing Legend Opened Up on Her Coping Mechanism Following a Brutal Wipeout in 2013

Published 02/18/2023, 9:15 AM EST

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Portugal’s Praia de Norte is infamous for the dangers that its giant wave barrels pose to their pursuers. While some lose their lives by drowning in its infinity, some come back even stronger to ride those deadly swells again. The Brazilian surfer, Maya Gabeira is no exception. In spite of having almost drowned in Nazare’s wave canyon in 2013, Gabeira’s love for surfing brought her back to Nazare in 2020. The next thing we know is the Brazilian surfer paddled the most vicious wave of Praia de Norte and inscribed her name in the Guinness book of world records.

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In 2013, while Gabeira was competing in the Billabong XXL big wave in Nazare, a ferocious wave wipeout hindered her path. Amidst the chaos induced by the sea, the surfer broke her ankle and was knocked unconscious in the billowing water current. Fortunately, a fellow surfer rescued her from the sea and carried her to the safety of the shore. However, the surfer underwent three spine surgeries and five-year-long rehabilitation before riding the record-breaking waves in 2020. 

Maya Gabeira’s incredible coping mechanism for surfing

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As per the report of CNN, following her injury in 2013, the surfer moved to Nazare to live in proximity to the ocean. The vicinity of Praia de Norte “humbled me a lot”, said Gabeira. The Brazilian further added, “It showed me how much I didn’t have everything under control and organized”.

Nevertheless, the nearness of the ocean detached the surfer “from achievements”. However, she found her detachment funny because, after completing her rehabilitation, the surfer won two world records at Nazare.

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Expressing her unfeigned perspective on her accolades, Gabeira stated, “that was never the priority”. Living in the close expanse of the sea gave the Brazilian a positive outlook on her beloved sport of surfing. Interestingly, she chased the same wave that trounced her initially and made a splash by creating a world record.

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What inspired the surfer to make a new world record

Growing up, the Brazilian found her solace in the deep blue waves. While her interest got piqued by surfing, she wanted to do something extraordinary with the giant oceanic ripples. The surfer conceded, “I admired the guys and the boys that would be out there on big days, I admired their bravery and I thought that was something I wanted to see portrayed in women more”. Therefore, by scribbling her name in the book of world records, Gabeira did the unthinkable. By creating a world record, she caused a stir in the surfing fraternity and became an epitome for women surfers.

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Though the surfer got brutally attacked by the ruthless wipeout, she fought back with her fortitude and came back even stronger. She truly is an outstanding surfer and a staunch champion, don’t you think?

WATCH THIS STORY: A huge shock for surfing fans before vans pipeline from Kelly Slater and John John Florence 

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Written by:

Purva Jain

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Purva Jain is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Mody University of Science and Technology. Purva is an avid reader and author of 3 books that are published in national and international marketplaces.
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Edited by:

Pritam Priyedarshi

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