Brazilian surfer Maya Gabeira has been credited with setting a world record for the largest-ever wave surfed by a female earlier this year. The 31-year-old Gabeira caught the 68-foot wave on January 18 off the coast of Nazare, Portugal. The record was confirmed this week, and Gabeira was recognized for her achievement at a ceremony in Portugal. On Monday, she won two awards for riding a 68-foot wall of water, the largest wave officially surfed by a woman.
It is the first time a woman was recognized for the biggest wave award in a separate category, something Gabeira herself had lobbied for since 2013. That year she was knocked off her board and nearly drowned attempting to catch a giant wave in Nazare. A monstrous wave knocked Maya Gabeira off her surfboard and broke her ankle. A friend who came to her rescue found her floating in the water, face down.
Some of the largest surfable waves in the world routinely form off the coast of Nazare each year. Scientists say a combination of weather conditions and underwater geological formations contribute to the phenomenon.