June 9, 2014
Champion Surfer Maya Gabeira Wants to Help the Oceans Catch a Break
BY: Brianna Elliott
Oceana fights for the oceans all year long, but in honor of this year’s World Oceans Day, Oceana is releasing a new public service announcement (PSA) starring Brazilian champion big-wave surfer and ocean advocate Maya Gabeira. She wants to “help the oceans catch a break” and raise awareness for the need to save this precious resource. This summer, Oceana will be opening a new office in Gabeira’s home country, Brazil, with support from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Vibrant Oceans Initiative.
“I started surfing when I was 14,” said Gabeira. “I’ve spent a lot of time in the ocean since then. I get to share that environment with all the animals—turtles, sharks, fish, everything that lives there. It’s crazy not to protect it. Let’s help the oceans catch a break.”
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Maya gained recognition in 2009 after riding the largest wave ever surfed by a female. She has garnered many surfing awards since then, including the Teen Choice Award, Hall of Game Awards, ESPN Award “Best Female Action Sport Athlete,” and XXL Billabong Big Wave Award.
In 2013, Gabeira received international attention after suffering a near-fatal accident while surfing some of the world’s largest waves in Nazaré, Portugal. Tackled by monstrous 80 foot swells, Gabeira broke her leg and was held underwater long enough to lose consciousness. Her surf partner and fellow Brazilian, Carlos Burle, heroically rescued her and went on to ride the potentially largest wave ever surfed. The story of Maya’s bravery and incredible rescue was covered around the world.
When not chasing down the world’s largest waves, Gabeira finds time to give back to the oceans. Last year, she partnered with Yana Surf to create a limited edition balsa wood longboard, and portions of the proceeds will be donated to Oceana. Gabeira and Yana Surf also donated one of the boards from the Nautica Oceana Beach House Party in Santa Monica, Calif. this past May. Numerous celebrities autographed the board, and it’s now being auctioned on charitybuzz until June 11, 2014.
To learn more about Maya’s campaign to protect the ocean, visit www.oceana.org/catchabreak, and take a look below to see why Gabeira wants to protect our oceans.