When Maya Gabeira nearly died surfing on that massive day at Nazare last year, it seemed as though everyone had some kind of opinion about it. “She shouldn’t have been surfing,” said some. “She’s not good enough to be out there.” Laird Hamilton was especially outspoken about his thoughts on it, which lead to others being even more outspoken about Laird.
I spoke at length with Maya, Carlos, and Laird about the entire situation. It was interesting to hear all sides of the story. But what was especially interesting to me was Maya’s wholly accepting attitude about the fact that she could very easily die doing what she does. During the course of my interviews with Maya, Carlos, and Laird (read the articles here and here), something that stood out to me was their devotion to each other – both of them, it seemed, would have each other’s back no matter what happened. No matter what anyone said, it was as though they both shared an armor that was dependent on the act of sharing it.
In the video above, Maya talks about the day she nearly died. She talks about the backlash from some of the surfing community, and how she dealt (and is still dealing) with it. “It’s more acceptable for a guy to die doing a crazy sport and pushing the limits,” she says. “That’s just how it is.”