Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 1 November, 2007 : – - Given her background, you’d expect Maya Gabeira to be a politician. An activist, perhaps. Or even an academic. But that’s hardly the case. The daughter of Fernando Gabeira, a famous political dissident and founder of the Brazilian Green Party, Maya has avoided the country’s turbulent politics to negotiate another equally treacherous environment: the ocean.
And it’s not your average beachbreak we’re talking about here. Maya, you’ll be intrigued to learn, is all about big waves. How big? Really freaking big. “I get this incredible adrenaline rush every time I see a rising swell,” says Maya. “There’s no way I’m gonna stay on the beach if the waves are pumping – it makes me really excited and I just gotta get out there.”
It’s this kind of attitude that led Maya to win the Women’s Best Overall Performance in the 2007 Billabong Global Big Wave Awards, bagging 5,000 bucks and a truckload of kudos in the process. For those in the know, the award is hardly a surprise, as the twenty-year-old Rio de Janeiro local has gained notoriety for riding some of the world’s hairiest waves.
Her recent roster includes all the heavy-hitters: Mavericks, Waimea, Todos Santos, as well as the horrendously sketchy and shark-infested Dungeons, in South Africa. Where does she find the courage? “Surfing big waves is reflective of your attitude towards life. I think it’s something you learn at home. My dad has a really strong character, is incredibly bright and I’ve learned a lot from him.”