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The Inertia

Big wave surfing brings you back to your primary instincts. You’re dealing with death and you’re dealing with being very much alive and being very present.

Nazaré is no joke. As one of the newest and most dangerous discoveries in the big wave world, the Portuguese spot is home to some massive walls of water bordering on cartoonish proportions. With swells rolling through depths over 1,000 feet deep, then hitting a ledge and jacking up into the triple digits, the wave at Nazaré is more like the ocean’s version of a double black diamond skiing run, rather than a surf spot. And that makes it susceptible to disaster.

Two years ago, during one of the biggest swells ever surfed at Nazaré, Brazilian charger Maya Gabeira went down on a bomb. She was saved by her tow partner and fellow Brazzo big waver Carlos Burle. After being resuscitated on the sand and suffering a broken shin, Maya was rushed to the hospital were she went on to make a full recovery. But physical restoration aside, she was definitely still rattled.

Determined to overcome the mental hesitation towards the spot where she nearly died, Maya returned to Nazaré to conquer it once again. The new edit from Red Bull breaks down her triumphant trip back and what it took for her to let go (literally) and drop in on another wave. Hats off to Maya Gabeira – she’s proof that the women are just as driven and capable as the men when it comes to charging in gnarly conditions.

“I had to dig really deep,” she said. “And I had to do the hardest thing for me, which was to come back and surf Nazaré.”

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