maya gabeira

Maya Gabeira, now 27, from Rio, was overwhelmed by an 80-foot wave last October at Nazaré, Portugal, that broke her leg and held her underwater so long she had to be dragged unconscious out of the water.

“It’s really tough. But it gets peaceful when you black out. When you’re gone, you’re gone,” said Maya. “An experience like that always makes you richer emotionally, too…. I thought about it a lot when it happened, deeply and intensively. I did so many interviews and so many people who were involved wanted to hear about it, so I dove into it time and time again. I couldn’t walk for two months so that didn’t allow me to forget. But when it was all over I was able to step forward and leave it behind.”

Photo: Ricardo Bravo