March 8, 2021
Maya Gabeira is changing the ambitions and expectations for women in the demanding and often dangerous world of big wave surfing. Having started her surfing career aged 15 on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, she is now one of a small number of elite women athletes in this traditionally macho field — and has been pivotal in breaking down barriers in a sport that only started offering equal prize money to women in 2019.
Today, Gabeira is still one of only three female big wave surfers with enough corporate sponsorship to be able to surf professionally full-time. Last year, she not only set the world record for the biggest wave — a monstrous 22.4m — ever surfed by a woman, but the biggest wave surfed that year by any surfer, male or a female, at Nazaré beach in Portugal. And her tenacity is even more impressive in light of the fact that she nearly drowned eight years ago during a ride on the same beach. In this episode of everywoman Changemakers, she talks about ambition, the power of perspective and how her career is making waves for the next generation of big wave female surfers.
0:46 - What does your world record mean to you?
2:40 - Is there any reason a woman couldn’t surf a wave as big as a man could?
4:30 - What does it feel like to be on a wave that big?
5:54 - It didn’t get as much attention as you would expect, did it?
8:28 - What effect do you think a narrowing of the gender pay gap would make?
11:00 - How did you and how does anyone get into big wave surfing?
14:05 - Did you have a female role-model when you were starting out?
15:01 - What is the difference in mentality between regular and big-wave surfing?
18:00 - How did you recover from your serious accident in 2013?
23:47 - Do you aim to hold the record for the largest wave ever surfed regardless of gender?
26:30 - What has the ocean taught you?
28:25 - What would you like your legacy to be?
Discover more about Maya and read the full transcript of the podcast here