Maya Gabeira

Maya Reis Gabeira (born April 10, 1987) is a Brazilian big wave surfer. She is best known for having surfed a 22.4 m (73 ft) high wave in Nazaré, Portugal in February 2020, recorded by Guinness World Records as the biggest wave ever surfed by a woman.[1][2] She also held the previous record for biggest wave ever surfed by a woman, of 20.8 m (68 ft) established in January 2018.[3][4]

Maya Gabeira
Maya Gabeira (14065821984) (cropped).jpg
Gabeira in Washington D.C in 2014
Personal information
BornMaya Reis Gabeira
(1987-04-10) April 10, 1987 (age 36)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Height1.68 m (5.5 ft)
Weight56 kg (123 lb)
Surfing career
Major achievementsBillabong XXL Global Big Wave Award (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012)
ESPY Award (Best Female Action Sports Athlete (2009)
Teen Choice Awards 2010

Gabeira has received numerous accolades including the ESPY award for Best Female Action Sports Athlete and is the best female surfers in the world as well as one of the most influential female surfers of all time.[5][6][7]


Gabeira started surfing at age 13 in Rio de Janeiro and started competing at 15 years old. In 2004 she decided to become a professional at 17 while living in Australia and moved to Hawaii that same year to surf world class waves.

She quickly emerged as the world's top female big-wave surfer, winning global championships surfing challenging spots like Mavericks, Waimea, Todos Santos, and South Africa's shark-infested "Dungeons".

She has won the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards for four consecutive times (2007 to 2010) in the Best Female Performance category.

In 2008, she became the first woman to surf big waves in Alaska.[8] Gabeira also became the first woman to surf California's Ghost Trees and Tahiti's Teahupoo.[9]

In 2009, Gabeira won the ESPY award for Best Female Action Sports Athlete. Later that year, Gabeira surfed the biggest wave ever by a woman when she successfully rode a 14 m (46 ft) wave at Dungeons, a big-wave surf spot in South Africa.

In 2010, she got the 2010 Teen Choice Award for Best Female Action Sports Star.[10][11]

In 2012, she was awarded the XXL Big Wave Awards for Girls Best Overall Performance for the 5th time. She also appeared in the ESPN The Body Issue that same year.[12]

On October 28, 2013, Gabeira lost consciousness and nearly drowned while surfing a massive wave at Praia do Norte, Nazaré, Portugal; she was saved by her fellow Brazilian big-wave surfer Carlos Burle. She had to be revived on the beach and later ended up in the hospital.[13][14]

In 2016 the documentary Return to Nazaré by Red Bull TV shows how Maya Gabeira returned to Nazaré after having suffered the accident surfing on the same beach in 2013. It is the portrait of a struggle to overcome obstacles, both physical and mental.[15]

In January 2018 Gabeira surfed a 20.8 m (68 ft) wave in Nazare, PT, recorded by Guinness World Records as the biggest wave surfed by a woman.[3][4]

Gabeira has been nominated twice for the Laureus World Sports Award for Action Sportsperson of the Year, in 2014 and in 2019.

She is one of the highest paid big wave surfers on the planet.[9] Gabeira is sponsored by Billabong and Red bull and currently lives in North Shore (Oahu) in Hawaii in the United States.[9]

In February 11, 2020, Gabeira set a new Guinness World Record for the Largest wave surfed (unlimited) - female.[16][17] It was held in WSL Nazaré Tow Surfin contest and the wave measured 22.4 m (73.5 ft).[1][2] The wave was also the biggest wave surfed by anyone that year.[18]

She is the subject of the 2022 documentary film Maya and the Wave.[19]

Personal lifeEdit

Gabeira is the daughter of Fernando Gabeira, one of the founding members of the Green Party of Brazil. Her father is the son of Lebanese immigrants.[20][21] Her mother, Yamê Reis, is a Brazilian fashion designer.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "Brazilian surfer Maya Gabeira breaks own world record for largest wave surfed by a woman". 2020-09-10.
  2. ^ a b "Brazilian surfer Maya Gabeira breaks largest wave surfed record". 2020-09-10.
  3. ^ a b "Female surfer sets new world record". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  4. ^ a b "68-ft wave surfed by Maya Gabeira confirmed as largest ridden by a woman as she receives two awards". Guinness World Records. 2018-10-01. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  5. ^ Holmes, Layne (2020). "The 10 Best Female Surfers in the World". Howtheyplay.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Lazzeretti, Craig (2020). "Best Women Surfers in the World".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ "The most influential female surfers of all time". Surfertoday.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ "Maya Gabeira é a primeira surfista a encarar Mar do Alasca". Revista Ragga
  9. ^ a b c "Maya Gabeira: 35 little-known facts about the Brazilian big wave surfer".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ "".
  11. ^ Transworld Surf Maya Gabeira Rides The Biggest Wave Ever By A Woman
  12. ^ "Maya Gabeira ... naked". 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ Paul Hamilos, "Surfers in Portugal ride towering waves whipped up by storm", The Guardian, October 29, 2013.
  14. ^ "Maya Gabeira gives thumbs up after near-drowning experience", Surfer Today, October 28, 2013.
  15. ^ Lewis, Andrew (2016). "A new Red Bull TV documentary follows the Brazilian's two-year fight to return to Praia do Norte". Red Bull.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ "Guinness World Records". Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  17. ^ "World Surf League". Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  18. ^ "Biggest wave surfed in 2020? USC's Adam Fincham helps settle debate". USC News. December 3, 2020.
  19. ^ Dan Lybarger, "Maya and the Wave". Film Threat, September 12, 2022.
  20. ^ Revista IstoÉ (8 December 2017). "". 2017-02-08. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  21. ^ Maalouf, Ramez Philippe (2007). "Review of Atlas du Liban: territoires et société, edited by Éric Verdeil, Ghaleb Faour and Sébastien Velut, french-lebanese edition by IFPO (Institut Français du Proche-Orient) and CNRS Liban (Conseil National de la Recherche Scientifique – Liban) Beirut, 2007". Confins. Revue Franco-Brésilienne de Géographie / Revista Franco-Brasilera de Geografia (4). Retrieved 2019-02-24.

External linksEdit