Brazilian Surfer Maya Gabeira Breaks Guinness World Record Riding 73.5-Foot Wave

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Proving the best person to beat in a competition is yourself, Brazilian surfer Maya Gabeira broke her own Guinness World Records title for the largest wave surfed–unlimited (for a woman).

She beat her previous record when she rode a 73.5-foot wave on Feb. 11 in Praia do Norte, a beach located in Nazaré, Portugal. The 33-year-old made history in 2018 surfing a 68-foot-high wave in the same beach which is famous for surf-friendly waves.

“The wave was pretty special although it was terrifying as well!” she said to Guinness World Records.“To set the world record has been a dream of mine for many years,” she told them in 2018. “To get a second one is a little bit crazy – I’ve got to wrap my head around it.”

Measuring the size of waves is extremely difficult and for this record-making moment it required teams from the University of Southern California, WaveCo Science Team, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography to review the footage as independent witnesses.

A combination of video and photographic evidence are used along with scientific calculations based on real-world coordinates and reference points including the length of the board and the surfer’s height.

The World Surf League (WSL) announced Gabeira–who has been surfing professionally since she was 17–as the winner of the cbdMD XXL Biggest Wave Award and the Red Bull Big Wave Award. The win is extra special considering she was knocked unconscious in the middle of the water in 2013 and saved by fellow surfer Carlos Burle.

“I still love the sport so much even after so many hard times and serious injuries and trauma,” she told Guinness World Records.