Woman Rides Biggest Wave Of The Season For First Time In Surfing History
The enormous wave ridden by Brazilian surfer Maya Gabeira has claimed another record.
The 73.5 foot (22.4 metres) wave broke her own record for the largest wave surfed by a woman, and now it has been confirmed as the biggest wave surfed during the 2019/2020 winter season - the first time a woman has ever claimed this accolade.
You can watch her ride the behemoth here:
The wave broke the 33-year-old's previous record by five and a half feet, and is not far short of the men's record, which was set by fellow Brazilian Rodrigo Koxa, who rode an 80 foot (24.38 metres) wave in 2018.
Maya rode the wave on 11 February 2020 at the inaugural World Surf League Nazare Tow Surfing Challenge event in Praia do Norte, Nazaré, Portugal.
Reflecting on the historic wave, Maya told The New York Times: "I was in the zone. More brave than I am usually. I got really close to disaster.
"I had never been so close to such a powerful explosion. I had never felt that energy and that noise. It felt really terrifying."
She continued: "I'm just happy that a woman surfed the biggest wave of the year. It's possible. Other women can do it.
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"I like to make something that seems so impossible to be possible. Because then it's so much easier for the next one."
Maya's record-breaking feats once looked as though they would never become a reality, following an accident in 2013 which knocked her unconscious in the water, only to be saved by fellow surfer Carlos Burle. The fall left her with a herniated disc, snapped fibula and an anxiety disorder. But after three surgeries and four years of recovery, she is back on top.
"I still love the sport so much, even after so many hard times and serious injuries and trauma," she said.
Speaking after the wave was validated, Editor-in-Chief of Guinness World Records Craig Glenday said: "I always look forward to hearing updates on this record from the World Surf League, as the surfers never fail to wow us with their fearless conquering of these incredible skyscraper-sized waves.
"This year's footage is more heart-stopping than ever, so congratulations to Maya on the epic result."
Maya also set her previous record of 68 foot (20.7 metres) in Nazaré. You can watch her set that record here:
Nazaré, which is approximately 120 kilometres north of capital Lisbon, is also where the men's record was set.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Maya Gabeira