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Maya Gabeira-1200-th

Fri, 5 October 2018

Brazilian Maya Gabeira has had a kiff week: she won the inaugural Women’s XXL Biggest Wave Award and set a Guinness World Record for the Largest Wave Surfed Unlimited (female).


Not sure what 'unlimited' means, but presumably it means you are not limited to how you catch the wave, ie, tow or paddle. The 31-year old from Rio de Janeiro, Brasil rode a wave measuring 68 feet (20.72 metres) from trough to crest at the infamous big-wave break known as Praia do Norte in Nazaré, Portugal on January 18, 2018.

Gabeira’s incredible feat did not come without its challenges. In 2013, Gabeira suffered a serious injury at Nazaré, but her unwavering determination brought her back to the monstrous and dangerous wave to not only surf again, but set the women’s world record.

The achievement was announced at a special ceremony on the grounds of the famous lighthouse that stands watch over the waves of Praia do Norte. An official Adjudicator of Guinness World Records presented Gabeira with a certificate.

Maya Gabeira_world_record_Bruno_Aleixo

SERIOUSLY LARGE: This is the wave that gave Maya Gabeira a nice week. Photo WSL / Alexio


Contenders for the women’s world record date back through surfing history, but the frontrunners featured two-time Big Wave Tour Champion Paige Alms, big wave standouts Justine Dupont, Keala Kennelly, Andrea Moller, and surfing icon Bethany Hamilton.

Normally, the WSL’s Big Wave Awards declare the biggest and best waves of the year during the annual Big Wave Awards show in April. Because this was a special determination of the largest wave ridden to date - spanning the history of the sport - it was awarded in a unique setting at the start of the winter big wave season, and will now set the bar in the category going forward.

The 2019 Big Wave Awards in April will award two new categories: Women’s XXL Biggest Wave Award (where jet skis maybe be used) and Women’s Biggest Paddle Award (wave caught with arm power).

Brazil also has the Largest wave surfed (unlimited) - male record holder. Rodrigo Koxa rode an 80-ft (24.38-m) wave, also at Nazaré, on 8 November 2017.

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