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The Inertia

After recovering from a near fatal accident at massive Nazaré last year, Maya Gabeira is on the mend. On the mend means both getting back in the water and doing lingerie shoots with GQ Brazil. And while there is most definitely no surfing involved in this video, it presents an interesting, unprecedented paradigm: the warrior and the princess. In her case, the big-wave charging, warrior princess.

Maya has made headlines for her incredible rides and wipeouts. She’s been the center of much debate, with some claiming she shouldn’t be in big wave line ups. She says she’s there for the love of it. Others say it might be more complicated. She’s also taken a lot of heat for capitalizing on her looks.

Some view scantily clad photo shoots like the one above as repulsive, exploitative, and sexist exercises that reduce a talented woman into an object of desire. Others think it’s empowering. She’s savvy enough to realize what’s happening here. She understands that, much like big-wave surfing, sex appeal speaks to a large audience. She has that. And she chose to participate. Consequences be damned.

Steph Gilmore’s Roxy Pro Biarritz trailer copped some flack. The world still loves her. Miley Cyrus twerked the nation into a protesting frenzy. She’s more popular than ever.

Do shoots like this set women’s professional surfing back twenty years? Or do they broaden its appeal by creating desireable celebrities?

We’re not here to judge, but you are. We’d love to hear your thoughts.


  • Leigh Mitchell

    I think she can do whatever she wants.

  • VoiceofReason14

    Totally seperate. Thanks for the pictures. But, headlines like this set back amateur blogging 20 years.

  • patricia

    At least she’s presenting a woman figure who isn’t malnourished with fake boobs. She’s a strong woman who’s being celebrated for positive reasons. She’s not just some model famous for dating someone famous. It turns sex appeal away form feeble women to strong, established, dominant women. Whether or not it objectifies her along the way and sh*ts on all her hard work by putting her in the same realm with said nameless models…probably. Similar shoots sexual male athletes though. You gotta pay to play.

    • Nicole Grodesky

      P-Did! Love the first line. I agree with your first four sentences. Your last line reminds me of a line from Full Metal Jacket, “two dolla make you holla.”

      • patricia

        Haha! Yay sexual marketing! From hoes to athletes, works like a charm.

        On another note, come logging! Yeewww!

  • tikitoko

    Who cares

  • Pat Ryan

    a lot less revealing than any heat on tour when the girls are in bikinis and doing frontside bottom turns. come on, these chicks are selling sex while they’re in heats. it’s part of the deal these days. you have to be hot to get backing.

  • LostintheFog

    I surfed mavs with Maya in 2007; she was paddling for a wave from (way over on) the shoulder that I was paddling for from deep and someone (carlos burle) pushed her from behind to give her the momentum necessary to catch the wave… I watched in horror as she dropped into this solid 15′ set wave hunched over at the waist setting a hopeless line out into the flats, we collided, wiped out, copped a beating, and when we came up she was white as a ghost; I had to take initiative and pull off MY leash to untangle us and then paddle to the channel, leaving her behind to get PICKED UP by a ski that zoomed right past me. NO apologies were ever made. I’m a regular out at mavs and was born and raised in the area… I appreciate what she is TRYING to accomplish but she is a bit of a sorry excuse for a female board sport ambassador. There are FAR more accomplished and better female big wave surfers that DESERVE the limelight waaayyyyy more than she does. Savannah Shaughnessy is out at Mavs charging every swell, before her, Sarah Gerhardt was nabbing bombs out there. Over in Hawaii there’s a plethora of female chargers, Paige Alms, Keala Kennely, Wrenna Delgado, Mercedes Maidena, there are many more I can’t recall off the top of my head but the point is this, there are OTHER female big wave surfers out there that are surfing FAR better than Maya and getting ZERO credit for it. Women have every right to surf big wave venues, and are proving their worth with every session; Maya, in my mind, represents everything WRONG about the surf industry: reward beauty over ability

  • Karen Anderson

    As a female and a surfer, I don’t think it sets women’s surfing back at all. I’m all for harnessing your sexuality and flaunting the figure you work hard to keep. I think as far as lingerie shots go, she looks ridiculous and out of her element. She is one thousand times sexier in a bikini showing her power and skill (no matter how much people criticize her, I think everyone can agree that she does have a bit of both) in the water. This video was a bit embarrassing to watch.

  • Christopher Justin Richmond

    Why does it have to be a win or a loss? why cant it just be Maya in lingerie?

  • Howard Swanwick

    What tikitoko said.

  • Surfer_Girl1979

    For me as a photographer she looks very insecure (except the laughing pics behind the curtain… these once look for me sweet, some kind of innocent and really attractive, cause I have the feeling she feels comfortibale withe the situation). I really hate the other once. Most the one with this black satin blouse. She is standing with her back to the wall, didn`t what do do with her hands, her breasts seems super small… and the other once, don`t get me wrong I like this kind of lingerie, but not on her. She is 20something? This kind of lingerie makes her 10years older, it steels her sweetnes and her charm. I don`t know if it is good or bad for surfing, or surfergirls… but the pics don`t come up to her. What could have done better? It would be nice if they showed her in her element, somewhere she feels comfortibale with, a hut on the beach, with a jalousi painting stripes on her body, much more eye-contact withe the camera, some pics in the water, maybe a water fall, or somekind of bond adaption from the Halle Berry scene, just something that fits more to her and to her age. Not a good job from GQ.

  • Guilherme Pallerosi

    Not a problem be sexy, get money and be famous. Really not . But athletes like Maya and Steph, have a strong image. Too much womanlike violence and sexism. What do they think about women?
    I think they can get much more than money…

  • Nick Chagnon

    This one shoot doesn’t set women back or bring them forward. It’s just one event; on it’s own it’s somewhat insignificant. However, what’s troubling is that this is indicative of a larger trend. Selling sex has become a bigger part of women’s surfing than the surfing itself. For the most part, female surfers have a pretty depressing choice. They can choose to be sexually commodified, or they can choose to not be pro surfers. Clearly there are exceptions to this (e.g. Carissa Moore), but they are few.

    • Women&Waves

      yes exactly. this is wrong and the sad part is women don’t want to fight back, they would rather contribute to this crap, than rock the boat.

  • Women&Waves

    ive said it before and I will say it again, I think it does set surfers back when they sell sex. I think in Maya’s case, she is not American, she is from Brazil and they are very free with their bodies and have a different mindset. I don’t think she understands how damning it might be to exploit herself like this, I think she just does things spontaneously and unfortunately doesn’t care that she is making the industry worse by promoting the never ending sex game, that me and others are trying so hard to stop, but don’t know how.

  • loves2surf

    It’s the dichotomy of it all that makes her super sexy.

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