maya gabeira

Brazilian big-wave surfer Maya Gabeira invites Graham Bensinger to her home in Nazaré, Portugal – a surfing destination famous for creating some of the largest waves in the world. It’s the site of Gabeira’s highest highs and lowest lows, as it’s where she had to be revived after a 2013 wipeout and where successful surfs years later earned her multiple Guinness World Records. Gabeira shares her remarkable comeback story, plus intimate details of battling gender discrimination and severe anxiety. Later, she takes Bensinger out on the water during a calm, spring afternoon for mock rescues and foil boarding.

maya gabeira


Maya Gabeira: I was a fragile child and a terrible surfer

Brazilian big-wave surfer Maya Gabeira looks back on some of her earliest years, including her struggles with asthma and the restrictions of her affliction. Gabeira also talks of her first surf lessons, saying she was the worst in her class and couldn’t stand up on a board for the first month… but the difficulty of the sport only further fueled her interest.

Maya Gabeira: Why my dad kidnapped American ambassador

Brazilian big-wave surfer Maya Gabeira talks of her exceptional parents, including her revolutionary father, a journalist who founded the Brazilian Green Party and was eventually exiled to Europe after kidnapping an American ambassador (for a multitude of reasons). Gabeira also describes her relationship with her mother – a fashion designer whom she calls her best friend today, despite a rough patch during Maya’s teenage years.

Maya Gabeira: Ditching school to surf all day

Brazilian big-wave surfer Maya Gabeira shares stories of negotiations with her parents – primarily her father – during her teenage years. The two-time Guinness World Record holder remembers using her wits to strategically convince them to let her move to Australia at 15, drop out of school, then move to Hawaii and to help support her financially.

Maya Gabeira: Discouraged from pursuing my dream

Brazilian big-wave surfer Maya Gabeira reveals that she’s never had an easy relationship with surfing brands and looks back on the severe lack of opportunities for women when she first entered into the sport. Her surfing partner Sebastian Steudtner also joins the conversation, pointing out that while Gabeira eventually earned respect within the surfing community, she frequently had to brush off doubters.

Maya Gabeira: Not talking to Laird Hamilton, Kelly Slater after criticism

Brazilian big-wave surfer Maya Gabeira reflects on impactful criticism from surfing icons Laird Hamilton and Kelly Slater. Gabeira remembers the unfortunate timing of Hamilton’s remarks – as she was in the midst of recovering from a nearly deadly surfing accident – and her immediate reaction after receiving a direct message on Twitter from her childhood idol, Kelly Slater. Plus, Gabeira’s surfing partner Sebastian Steudtner offers his thoughts, saying that in both instances the criticism was fueled by Hamilton’s and Slater’s large egos taking a hit, as Gabeira was earning more attention in the sport.

Maya Gabeira: Pressuring WSL to recognize women surfers

Brazilian big-wave surfer Maya Gabeira looks back on her first world record-qualifying surf in 2018 that was initially snubbed by the World Surf League, until Gabeira took it upon herself to rally public support. After a petition to acknowledge her world record feat was signed by more than 20,000 people, she was eventually granted the Guinness World Record for the largest wave surfed by a female (68 feet high). Gabeira also talks of her second Guinness World Record, landing global recognition in 2020 for the largest wave surfed by anyone that year – 73 feet. She also explains her push for the industry to adopt a scientific method for judging Biggest Wave submissions.

Surfer Maya Gabeira on her fear of waves

Brazilian big-wave surfer Maya Gabeira gets introspective about the mentality of her extreme sport, including an increase in her level of fear, an adrenaline rush when looking at weather reports and the stark contrast in emotions the day after she conquers a monster swell. Plus, Gabeira’s surfing partner Sebastian Steudtner offers his thoughts on her mental fortitude and the elevated athleticism among surfing’s top competitors.

Maya Gabeira on the wipeout that nearly killed her

Brazilian big-wave surfer Maya Gabeira recalls reaching the brink of death during a 2013 wipeout in Nazare, Portugal, and the numerous mistakes made by her and her surfing partner, Carlos Burle. Gabeira – now a two-time Guinness World Record holder in the sport – explains how the traumatic accident and numerous surgeries required during a four-year recovery have shaped her life. Plus, both Gabeira and her current surfing partner Sebastian Steudtner discuss why they do not look fondly on Burle, the man who both contributed to the 2013 wipeout and eventually saved Gabeira’s life.

Maya Gabeira: Enduring years with undiagnosed anxiety

Brazilian big-wave surfer Maya Gabeira describes her symptoms and experiences with anxiety disorder, both before and after her 2017 diagnosis. She recalls years of unexplained vomiting, large yawns, extreme nightmares and eventually receiving a prescription to combat her chemical imbalance.

Maya Gabeira: Sticking with my ex-boyfriend

Brazilian big-wave surfer Maya Gabeira discusses her evolving relationship with her former boyfriend and still surf partner, Sebastian Steudtner. She addresses questions on loneliness and says that dating options are scarce where she lives, in Nazaré, Portugal.

Maya Gabeira and big-wave partner Sebastian Steudtner splitting up

Big-wave surfing partners Maya Gabeira and Sebastian Steudtner discuss their contrasting goals and ambitions for next season. Gabeira’s ambitions for a follow-up to her record-breaking 2020 remain unclear while Steudtner has his sights set on creating a plan to surf the biggest wave ever. The two extreme surfers say they plan to continue surfing together and to remain involved in each other’s adventures, despite the contrast.

Big-wave surfer Maya Gabeira shows off her Portugal home

Brazilian big-wave surfer Maya Gabeira offers a tour of her home and property in Nazaré, Portugal. She shows Graham her sauna, home gym and her dogs. Later, Maya and Graham take a bike ride to the iconic Nazaré cliff, where thousands of tourists flock in the winter to watch Maya and other surfers take on some of the largest swells in the world, with waves topping out at roughly the height of 10-story apartment buildings.

Laird Hamilton or Kelly Slater? Rapid fire with Maya Gabeira

Brazilian big-wave surfer Maya Gabeira faces a succession of rapid-fire questions, including being forced to pick between outspoken surfing icons Laird Hamilton and Kelly Slater.