Brazilian Surfer Breaks World Record For Largest Wave Ever Surfed By A Woman

by : Emily Brown on : 17 Sep 2020 11:38
Brazilian Surfer Breaks World Record For Largest Wave Ever Surfed By A WomanBrazilian Surfer Breaks World Record For Largest Wave Ever Surfed By A Womanmaya/Instagram

A Brazilian surfer smashed her previous world record for the largest wave ever surfed by a woman, while also conquering the largest wave surfed by anyone this year. 

Big-wave surfer Maya Gabeira was out on the ocean in Nazaré, Portugal, on February 11 when she came face-to-face with the 73.5ft wave, which she successfully rode all the way.


Though she achieved the accomplishment months ago, it wasn’t until last week that the World Surf League announced she’d set a new world record.

Check out a video of the wave below:

Gabeira is no stranger to success, as she set the first women’s big-wave world record in 2018 when she rode a 68ft wave. This achievement, however, was twice as impressive, as the 73.5 foot wave was the biggest accomplished by any surfer in 2020.


Her success earned Gabeira the women’s XXL Biggest Wave Award at the 2020 Red Bull Big Wave Awards, with the men’s XXL Biggest Wave Award going to Kai Lenny, who rode a 70ft wave.

Despite setting the previous world record, Gabeira admitted the win came as a surprise.

Writing about her accomplishment on Instagram, she said:


What an unforgettable day. Beat my record, and still have the biggest wave of the year between men and women! I think it would have been unthinkable years ago. But deep down, I had already dreamed of it!

Thanks to my team … this is our achievement and you deserve it so much!!!! I never thought this could happen, still feels surreal. To have a woman in this position in a male dominated sport is a dream come true!

I am so proud of the women this year, phenomenal effort!

The news of Gabeira’s win came after a long delay to the awards, which usually take place in a live event in May. As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, the awards were given out weekly throughout the summer via social media.

When it came time to announce the winners for biggest wave, the World Surf League said the women’s race needed further judging because the two finalists, Gabeira and Justine Dupont, were ‘really, really close’.


Jessi Miley-Dyer, the league’s vice president of tours and competition, told The Atlantic that with such a small margin between the waves it was ‘too close to call’ without further assessment.

During an interview with the World Surf League after the win, Gabeira said she ‘didn’t expect to go any bigger’, but that she ‘just kept riding and enjoying [her] time’, adding that the monster wave was both ‘quite special’ and ‘terrifying’.

Gaberia, who is now 33, began surfing professionally in Hawaii at 17.


If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: News, Maya Gabeira, Now, Red Bull Big Wave Awards, Surfing, World Surf League


The Atlantic and 2 others
  1. The Atlantic

    This Woman Surfed the Biggest Wave of the Year

  2. Maya Gabeira/Instagram


  3. World Surf League/Twitter