#6 : Maya Gabeira

#6 : Maya Gabeira
The Edge
#6 : Maya Gabeira
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Episode 6 July 29, 2021 00:46:03

Hosted By

TAG Heuer

Show Notes

This time on The Edge, a podcast by TAG Heuer, we talk frankly with Brazilian Big Wave surfer and two-time World Record holder Maya Gabeira about what lies beneath the surface when riding some of the world’s biggest waves. We discuss the importance of perseverance, the rewards of hope, and why sharing her story is as important as smashing any record. Your host is Teo van den Broeke, Style Director at GQ.  Watch out - this is The Edge.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:01 My career, like for so many years was me thinking that I was strong, that I was capable of surfing giant waves and that I was brave. And then all of a sudden it kind of got stripped away from me. And, you know, for years I, I lost a little bit of my identity. Um, I lacked like my purpose and it was different. Speaker 2 00:00:32 What gives us our edge and how do we go beyond it? How thin is the line between taking part and tipping into victory? What inspires those moments of rare advantage down to the millimeter, down to the microsecond that change the shape of a race? Is it faith, talent, focus, or sheer determination a winner's born or made? And what happens when things go wrong or when it all goes right. Welcome to the edge. We'll be talking to people operating at the very edge of possibility from athletes to actors and from artists to entrepreneurs. I'm your host TA van and BRCA, and we'll be giving you the fuel. You need to get in the zone and leave your limits in the dust. Watch out. This is the edge, a podcast by Tago, my Caberra record, breaking big wave surfer. I'm very excited to have you at the edge. Thank you so much for joining us. How are you today? Speaker 0 00:01:34 I'm very good. Thanks for having me. Speaker 2 00:01:37 Uh, that's a great pleasure. Where whereabouts in the world are you Speaker 0 00:01:39 Right now? I'm back at home in Nazare Portugal. Speaker 2 00:01:43 Oh, okay. So you're based in Nazare fantastic. And were you there for the whole of the kind of last lockdown periods or have you been moving around? Were you in Brazil or Hawaii? Speaker 0 00:01:52 No, I did. Most of, uh, well, I did the whole lockdown really in port to go and nare home. Um, I just finished my first kinda big trip since the pandemic started to Indonesia for like two months and I just got back home and it's, um, it's so different now to travel and to stay away for a while. Um, but it was, it was lovely, lovely to spend some time in the tropics. Speaker 2 00:02:18 How, how was the surfing in Indonesia? I must admit I'm not fully, fully versed on Indonesian surfing. Speaker 0 00:02:23 Very good. Very good. Indonesia is, uh, definitely one of my favorite places to go this time of the year. Uh, really perfect waves, really warm water, uh, reefs, um, a lot of different type of waves and, um, yeah, it's just so good for two tube riding and, and just turns and just performance. Speaker 2 00:02:44 Amazing. So, so you were based in Nazare for the whole of lockdown. I mean, were you able to get out and surface much as you were before? Or was, were there restrictions? How did you, how did you manage it? Speaker 0 00:02:54 No, there were some restrictions we had on and off restrictions. Um, even in wintertime, we ended up with, um, an unfortunate event happening in October, which was, um, it's funny to say unfortunate, but you, but we, we had a gigantic day happen in October and I think the town and the country didn't really realize the amount of people that were gonna come to watch. So, um, there was a lot of public and of course in the middle of a pandemic that didn't sit very well. So the government really decided to kind of put a, a lockdown into us surfers rather than try and control the streets and the crowd that, that they thought that that was harder. So after that day, um, which was a fantastic day for surfing and, you know, very, very crowded cliff. We, we had a lot of restrictions. Speaker 2 00:03:46 Oh, that's a shame. I mean, a good thing, I guess, but also a shame for you. Um, can you, can you see the sea from, from your house? Speaker 0 00:03:52 No, I don't see the sea. My house is, um, is on a cliff, so I do a little, two minute hike and I'm on top of the cliff and then I can see the sea. Um, I'm a little like I'm 10 minute, five minute down the road from, um, from Nazare, from like the surf spot. So I see it from the distance. Speaker 2 00:04:13 Is that quite a good thing mentally? So you kind of keep yourself just slightly apart from it. Cause I guess if it was in your face the whole time, it would be quite a, <laugh> quite intense thing. I don't Speaker 0 00:04:22 Know. I, I would like to have it in my face all the time. It's just that, you know, it's a, it's a huge reserve on that side. So to have a property over there is very hard. There's basically none. Um, right. So it was just easier to, to be here and then do the little drive and, and go surf there. But you know, I'm never opposed to having a wave right in front of my eyes all day long. <laugh> I like that. <laugh>, Speaker 2 00:04:46 We'll come back to, uh, Nazare a little bit later, um, obviously, but I guess to start off with, it would be good to talk a little bit about how you got into surfing in the first instance you started when you were 15. And I don't know that that seems relatively late from other surfers that I've spoken to. And then you went pro at 17. That seems like a kind of really fast transition. Is that right? Speaker 0 00:05:08 No, we have the numbers wrong there a little bit. You're not too far off. Um, I started, Speaker 2 00:05:13 I manipulate my researcher. I'm sorry. Speaker 0 00:05:14 No, no, no worries. Google is a, is a, is a funny thing. <laugh> um, I started surfing, I was 14, um, at, okay. Basically at like a surf school in my beach in E PMA and my beach and Ima and Rio de Janero. And I did start because a boyfriend at the time and all our friends were surfers and I just didn't see myself, um, hanging on the beach only. And I thought that that, that sport was way too much fun to miss out on it. So I quickly, um, went to a surf school and when I was 17, actually I left Brazil and I went to Hawaii for the first time. And that's when, kind of, I started living abroad for surfing, but I wasn't a professional. So I only really turned professional when I was 21. So from 17 to 21, I was very focused and I was living in Hawaii and going to Indonesia and doing those, uh, long travels. But I, I did work as a waitress and I supported myself, um, with that income just in order to be able to be in the right place and serve the best waves. Speaker 2 00:06:20 I mean, still having said that, I mean, deciding to move to Hawaii only two years after the three years after trying your handed it for the first time, that's a big, big shift to make. And I imagine there must have been quite a few sacrifices that you had to make, you know, 17 year olds. You're kind of like suddenly living your life with all your friends in your hometown. Like what, what did you feel like you made a lot of sacrifices? Speaker 0 00:06:43 Um, not at the time I, I was, uh, I was very keen to see the world I had left when I was 15 for the first time. And I went to Australia and I studied abroad for, for a year there and I served a lot and I was, I was very passionate about the sport. And so to go to Hawaii when I was 17 was like a dream come true. I really wanted to, to see Hawaii to surf the waves, to, to live abroad, to speak English. I don't know. I just, um, I, I really wanted that experience in my life. So of course there were a lot of sacrifices, but they only really waited much down the road <laugh> um, at that time it was all so fantastic and it was such a dream come true to be that young and to be, to have that much freedom and to be living abroad by myself and living my dream and surfing, you know, waves in Hawaii. It just, it didn't feel like a sacrifice. It just felt like a dream. Really. Speaker 2 00:07:49 Yeah. I can imagine. I mean, you say they were waiting down the road. What, what, what do you mean? Were there, were there specific sacrifices that you realized you'd made later on or Speaker 0 00:07:58 Yeah, later on, then it started waiting on me that, you know, I had made a life decision that at the time, you know, it felt natural, but you know, after seven, 10 years you realize that your parents are grown older and you might never have that daily, um, routine with them anymore. You know? And, and I made that decision. I was so young that, uh, it was only when I matured that I realized, you know, the, the huge change and, and the huge, um, sacrifice that I had made by not, um, following a traditional path and going to university and sticking to my hometown. And, um, that, you know, I was probably never gonna leave close by to my family again. And so that was, that was a, a hard realization down the road. And then that was too late, cuz I was too involved with my career and my surfing and, you know, life was life. As I know now, it's, it's basically more years out of Brazil than in Brazil, so I've fully adapted, but for sure, I left, um, a lot of things behind that, that, um, I miss and I have to make an effort to, to connect every, every, every time I can, Speaker 2 00:09:15 I guess in a, in a way what all of us have gone through with the pandemic, learning new ways to connect with each other when we are so far apart and not able to see each other, you kind of did when you were much younger. Right? And so you are kind of much more adept at it than everyone else's, you know, like these zoomed, all of this kind of stuff you, Speaker 0 00:09:32 Yeah, I did it. I did it when there was no zoom. There was no WhatsApp. There was no, you know, the only thing I had was a Hotmail and, you know, a phone that was extremely expensive and we communicated, uh, very little. So it was different times and the distance weighted heavily. Um, nowadays, you know, I find it much, much easier to be, uh, distant physically and still be extremely connected with my family and friends, you know, with, with all the technology we have nowadays, it, it feels very different. We're much more connected now worldwide. Speaker 2 00:10:10 Yeah. Yeah. It's a special thing. I mean, moving on a little bit, you know, you are this extraordinary record break breaker, you know, you've set all these world records. Um, you're the most influential female surfer, arguably that exists today. Um, what would you say to your 14 year old self? What kind of advice would you give her as she's starting out? Speaker 0 00:10:30 Wow. I don't know. I mean, I was lucky because I was brought up with no sense of, uh, limits <laugh>, which my mom used to tell my dad that it could have been a disaster. Um, but it turned out to be good, you know? Um, I never limited my dreams and I was always very, um, supported by my dad to dream, to follow my passion, to be extremely dedicated and to not fit in certain molds and like lead a life that I could see others doing to, to find my own thing. And, um, you know, sometimes it can be a little lonely. Sometimes it can be a little difficult to forge your own path in the world, but it's, it's very rewarding. So I would, um, I, I would probably just tell her that it's gonna be a tough road, but it's gonna be worth living. Speaker 2 00:11:27 Yeah. And do you feel proud of where you've achieved? Where? I mean, obviously you've still got lot to go, but do you feel proud of where you are now in terms of what you've achieved? Speaker 0 00:11:36 Yes. I feel content. Um, you know, I feel like it's been a wonderful, um, experience, you know, to have to have led this life and to have, um, had extreme ups and extreme downs and have been optimistic throughout the way. And, and, you know, I'm very happy, you know, that I didn't give up when I could and that I persisted throughout so many years. Um, and I believed in, in things that weren't really, um, favorable <laugh> and, and, you know, going back to sports and like recovering from injury, recovering from trauma. So, um, it, it, it feels very rewarding now to be able to look back and know that my passion was able to, to lead me through that whole experience, which was extremely good in a way, because I learned so, so much through those years. And, but, but you know, it didn't make me give up. So I was able to persistently work on, um, getting back and, and getting better and living the life that I had chosen for myself, which is a lifestyle, you know, it's surfing, it's been in the ocean, it's been active. It's, it's a wonderful life, Speaker 2 00:12:56 Of course. So we should stop talking about that thing that happened in the kind of abstract and kind of talk a little bit about, uh, what happened in 2013. Uh, you had a terrible accident in Nazare you attempted to serve an enormous monster wave, had a terrible wipe out, almost drowned. I mean, I guess what was your thought process before, during and after it happened and, and ultimately, how did you manage to get back in the water afterwards? Speaker 0 00:13:22 Yeah, the, the wave itself Nazare had just been, um, served big with the assistance of jet skis just two years earlier, um, by Garrett McNamara and his small team. So it was something very new in our sport. Um, for a couple years, I didn't really see myself doing it. Like it seemed so surreal, the images that I saw, the waves, the cliff, the cold water, and then, you know, in 2013, after two years, like adapting to that idea, it kind of clicked. And I, I became very curious about it. I wanted to come and see what was, you know, this Nazare myth. And so we came me, Kahu Scooby and Godo, um, four of us, uh, to make two teams and to see the wave surf, the wave, um, spend a month here. Um, I had an expectation of, you know, I thought it was from what I had studied the place. Speaker 0 00:14:21 I thought it was, um, the right place to try and break a record and establish a record for women. I thought that the wave had a lot of potential for height measurement. So I came with that goal, but of course, um, little did I know, you know, it was gonna be much harder than, than, um, what I anticipated. I thought, you know, maybe I go there and I get a 50 footer and, you know, that's like a, a good, um, starting point for a woman and to put it on the books and to start that category. But I guess life had something else planned. And when we arrived, I, I, you know, was very, um, uh, taken by the beauty of the, the town by the vibe of the town, by the, the, the setup of the wave itself. I thought that this place had enormous potential. Speaker 0 00:15:18 Uh, we started training right away and by the end of the month, October on the 28th, a huge swell started to line up and we were here. Um, can I say we were ready at today's standards? I can tell you absolutely. We were not ready, but at 2013 standards, and with the experience we had coming from jaws and Mavericks in different places, we thought we were ready. And so we went out and I ended up, you know, on my very first wave, um, going down, breaking my fibula. I stayed two waves on the water. My life jacket popped out, out through my head. Um, we didn't have, you know, the experience and the, uh, logistics to have a rescue ski and a rescue pilot. So we didn't have that at the time. Um, so Kalos, didn't really get to me for, for, to do a rescue. Speaker 0 00:16:18 So we kind of didn't see each other for around 10 minutes and I'm sure in his position, it was very complicated. He had just lost the radio. He had no communication with the cliff. He had no eyes, um, trying to help him to spot me. And, and really luckily at some point we, we reconnected in the inside and he did, um, what he could do to try and bring me to shore. At some point, when I'm close to shore, I lose consciousness and he has to swim me in. Um, so there, there was a lot of, um, some mistakes, some bad luck. And then in the end, eventually a lot of good luck, um, that, that, um, helped make me live through the experience. I would say. Speaker 2 00:17:06 I mean, it's interesting. You say that was the first wave. You, you trained beforehand, did you train in the waves at Nazare? It was just, this was the first wave of that swell that came in. Speaker 0 00:17:16 Yes. That was the first wave of that huge day. We, we did serve right. A lot of different days and we had one day that was kind of big. Um, but nothing similar to what we saw on the 28th. It's still one of the biggest days I've seen out here and I've been living here now for seven years. So, um, wow. It was a, it was, um, destiny <laugh> by faith. We were here and, uh, we tried to apply all our, um, knowledge and everything we knew from big web surfing, but of course we were dealing with a different type of monster. And, you know, with time, I, I, I was able to realize that we needed so much more to be able to be safe in a situation like that. And that's, and that was one of the reasons why I was able to come back and to improve so much here is because I saw that there were so many things I could still do to get better. Mm-hmm <affirmative> to get safer to surf better that, and that, that is kind of where my hope laid that I was gonna be able to, um, recover from my experience and, and continue pushing myself out here. There was a lot of room for improvement. Speaker 2 00:18:28 I mean, it, it'd be interesting to hear about the things that you did have to improve on and the kind of specifics of what you needed to do to get back to the point where you were able to come back out. But I'm also intrigued, we'll talk a little bit about your physical recovery, but in terms of that mental, getting in the zone and getting yourself psyched up to be able to actually face something like that, how <laugh> like, how do you do that? It's, it's extraordinary. Speaker 0 00:18:51 It took four years. So it's not, yeah, it doesn't click, you know, it's, um, day in, day out, you put yourself out there and you start breaking those barriers, those ghosts that you have to deal with, you know, things that, um, might feel like they're gonna happen again. But the truth is with time, you start loading up your, your brain with new experiences. And that one old experience starts to become a little bit less significant. And that's what I tried to work on. I tried to be so consistent out there. So dedicated that by the time, you know, years went by, I had so many new experiences on top of my traumatic experience that I was able to reestablish a, a, a relationship with the place let's say. Speaker 2 00:19:48 So it's not that kind of idea where like, you set yourself up for two minutes beforehand, and then you can do it. It's like, it's an actual kind of strategic, mental process that you have to go through over a long period of time to get Speaker 0 00:19:59 Yourself. Yeah, for me, it was, yeah, for me, it was, it was a very long process that, um, I, I am somebody that does achieve things by being strategic. Um, I, everything usually that I do takes a long time and I, um, put pieces together, you know, to get to the, to the main goal. Um, I've always worked that way. And I felt like for that, um, like you said, you know, how did you do it? I mean, yes, it was a very, very hard task I had in hand. And it would be unfair on me to expect it to happen from, you know, the day to the night, to the day, and to not allow myself to have time to process and to, to recover fully and heal fully from everything that had happened. Speaker 2 00:20:52 Mm. I mean, cuz there's a lot of been a lot of talk, obviously for good reason about the, the physical injuries that you impaired, you had to have several surgeries, um, on your back. And, but then in terms of that mental kind of, um, Sur not surgery, the mental health help, did you, did you have, did you speak to kind of psychologists, people that could help you deal with it? Did you have help in that space or did you kind of have to do it? Speaker 0 00:21:13 Yeah. What, what happened was that I always had, uh, psychologists throughout my career, uh, actually even little, um, I grew up with asthma and some, some, you know, things that always made me try and work on my emotional, um, the emotional part of things. But, um, the funny thing is that I was so injured that for three solid years, all I thought about was my body. My mind didn't exist. It was sleeping first because I didn't have, uh, the physical capacity to face huge waves again. So, you know, I could put it on a box, um, somewhere behind. And secondly, because, you know, doctors for me were, um, surgeons and physiotherapists and, you know, hospitals, I didn't, my, my, my mental was not a priority. And when I finally turned around and was able to physically recover, then that's when my mental state, um, became very evident that it was lacking a lot of attention. Speaker 0 00:22:21 And I was hospitalized a few times with, with anxiety disorder. And that's when I realized, you know, I had won one battle, but I had the second battle to win. And I had, I, I have a psychiatrist and I, I do treatment and, you know, I'm medicated. And I find, I, I changed a lot of things in my life to, to be able to control the stress levels, to make things a little bit easier for me. Um, rather than then believe that I could take everything. Like I cannot take everything on. I, I like to be kind to myself and understand that I have, um, limitations as far as the stress I can handle. Like I've pushed it too much. I think just, you know, knowing that you have some type of limitation and understanding it and being, being vocal about my mental health has been tremendously helpful, um, in, in being able to achieve the things I did after. Speaker 2 00:23:26 I think it's incredibly important and valuable that you are able to share that. And I think for so many young people listening to this, it's really key to hear that you don't have to deal with that kind of stuff on your own. Um, and particularly, you know, when you look at sports people, they exist as these pillars and they're so often just doing what they do in their own minds, in their own spaces. And they're expected to kind of just exist and get on with it and actually to acknowledge that sometimes you do need some help is really, is really important and really valuable. So after 2013, you did come back extraordinarily quickly, uh, to break a world record in Nazare in 2020. I mean, how did that feel? How, how did that kind of return kind of, um, yeah. Make you feel like, just can't imagine how it must have been Speaker 0 00:24:09 Well, first it didn't feel that quick <laugh> Speaker 0 00:24:15 Yeah, of course. Um, uh, and secondly, I did, I, you know, the 2020 award record was my second world record. So I, I, my comeback, I would say was in, in 2018 when I first established, um, the first women war record. And, um, it felt like it felt like such relief. You know, it was like this big weight on my shoulders was lifted. Um, it was almost hard to enjoy cuz it was so stressful really <laugh> cause it was so painful cuz it was so hard cuz it took so long, it took a lot away from like the fun and, and, and potty that you would expect with a word record. Um, also the stress of trying to create the category and having to petition against the WSL and, and you know, pressure, the Guness book. And that also took a lot of the fun away from it. Speaker 0 00:25:14 So I'm actually really lucky and fortunate that without really aiming for a second word record, I was able to get a second word record in 2010 20, because I think that one was like the fun, that one was like, God telling me, okay, now you enjoy your word record. I'm giving you a second one, you know, like it's it's um, you deserved it and, and that one felt like, yes, that one felt good. That one felt like a cherry on top of the cake, you know, because the first one was a little bit of a, a stress, uh, relief, um, just yeah, too emotional, I guess. Speaker 2 00:25:59 Mm. And, and you feel now that you've kind of come over the, the hump of it. So now from here on in, is it kind of just much more enjoyable or do you kind of find yourself setting yourself new challenges the whole time that you kind of need to need to work towards? Speaker 0 00:26:14 I think it's more, it's more settled now that like, I know I can do it, you know, I think that the doubt, you know, that, um, persistently was with me throughout those years of, um, recovering and um, just that, that doubt that, that low self-esteem, that, um, insecurity that was very tough for me because, you know, I grew up, well, my career, like for so many years was me thinking that I was strong, that I was, you know, um, capable of surfing giant waves and that I was brave. And then all of a sudden it kind of got stripped away from me and, you know, for years I, I lost a little bit of my identity. Um, I lacked like my purpose and I lacked the, yeah, just my identity. It was hard to go for four years without really peaking as an athlete, without really taking risks without really feeling like, you know, I was brave and I was putting things on the line, like it was, it was different. Speaker 2 00:27:25 Mm. Did you ever think that you would just stop Speaker 0 00:27:28 After the, off the accident? You know, there's there, you can only try so much. There is definitely, um, sometimes life has other plans for you. And I was aware that might happen at some point in my recovery road that life would have another plan for me and I would have to accept it, but you know, of course me as a person, I was not in a place where I could sit on the couch and be like, okay, you know, move on now. <laugh>, I'm done here. I was far from that, but you know, I, I don't control everything. Speaker 2 00:28:05 No, of course. Um, I mean, you've, you talked about the, the petition with the WSL and trying to get the record recognized you also, when you had the accident, there were a lot of comments from people within the surfing industry. So you didn't only have your own head to contend with, you had lots of people kind of criticizing you, criticizing your preparation. How did, how did that feel and did that make it harder? Um, did it make you more determined to kind of push forward? Speaker 0 00:28:33 No, it made it harder. Of course it made it harder. Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, um, always to be publicly criticized, um, over your job and, and what you do professionally is a very difficult thing. Um, it's hard not to take it personal. Um, and, and like you said, you know, I was down, so to be criticized and to be, um, taken apart when you are already <laugh> in the bottom, <laugh>, it's a, it's a hard thing, you know, because you're just like being kicked, um, while you're down. So it was, it definitely added to my insecurities and my doubts and, and everything that I was going through. Um, but, but still it was, it was doable in the end. <laugh> I could take it on <laugh> Speaker 2 00:29:21 I guess it had, it did spark a debate, um, kind of within the sporting arena about the lack of consideration, not only for women in surfing, but in sports in general. And if you look at what happened recently with no miss Sarka, I mean, do you think that there is a responsibility of sporting bodies, but also people who are within sport, whether that's men or women to kind of think about how this next generation of women are gonna be treated in the sports in which they participate? Speaker 0 00:29:47 Yes, absolutely. I mean, I, I think not just women, I think any human being, you know, we are at the point that, you know, if we don't look to another human being and we don't have compassion and we don't like understand, you know, the power of our words and, and how can we contribute criticizing, but like constructive constructively, um, it's unfair, you know, to throw, throw things at others and let them deal with the pain them deal with, with your words. Um, it was, it was difficult. It was difficult, but it also shaped me as a, as a person, you know, like it, it made me endure certain things and, and, um, uh, struggle through certain things that, that made me, I think, a better person. Um, and so I'm, I, I don't regret it, but I definitely pay a lot of attention to it as a, as a life experience. And I, I try to not represent that. I, I feel like, you know, we should, we should do better and we owe others, you know, um, compassion. Speaker 2 00:30:58 I mean, you, you are clearly very outspoken about this subject, not only here, but in your red bull documentary, is it important for you to kind of vocalize these experiences and to be outspoken about what you've gone through in order to kind of help others, but also, I guess it's about helping yourself as much as something else, Speaker 0 00:31:15 You know, I don't love doing it <laugh> because Speaker 2 00:31:19 When you're, you're very good at it. Speaker 0 00:31:20 <laugh> yeah, because, you know, when, when you go back into difficult experiences, you cannot avoid living it through a little bit, again, you know, and, and with any suffering, it would be ideal to, to suffer and then to move on and never have to think about it again. But you know, it is my responsibility and I think it's just fair to share what I went through. Um, I, I don't like to hold it to me, um, because I think there is lessons there. And I think, you know, if I can help one person, if I can help two people, that's, that's wonderful. And it wouldn't be right to just have my story just for myself and, and not, not speak about it and not position myself on issues that are, you know, close to my heart. Um, it certainly is not an easy thing to go back into difficult and painful life experiences and talk it through, um, in interviews. It, it, um, yeah, it's, it's difficult, but it's, it's needed Speaker 2 00:32:29 Moving on a little bit from that then. I mean, you are obviously a role model for, for many young women and girls and probably older women and girls as well, but, um, who was your role model growing up? Speaker 0 00:32:40 Mm, I never had like one role model. I, I looked up, you know, growing up, I looked up to my dad a lot. Um, uh, um, he was like, Speaker 2 00:32:50 Your, your dad's a politician. Yeah. Sorry, go on. Sorry. Speaker 0 00:32:53 Yeah, he's a, he's a journalist, but yeah, he was a politician for many years. So I looked up to my dad a lot and I looked up to different athletes, different people from different, uh, worlds, you know, I just, I, I try to draw inspiration from everyone around me, really. I think everyone has something to give to the world. So I'm, I try to be aware of, um, what people are and, and how they are and get inspired by, by everyone. Speaker 2 00:33:27 It's interesting. So your dad's a journalist who used to be a politician. Politicians are kind of characteristically open up to criticism. That's kind of the nature of the role. Right. Um, did that, did you learn lessons from that kind of being in the public eye? Did he help, did, was he able to guide you in that sense? Speaker 0 00:33:43 Yeah, certainly, certainly. I, I, I had an example at home of somebody that had been beat up publicly his whole life <laugh>. So, you know, if, um, if I was feeling sorry for myself, I could always look at my dad and be like, well, it's way worse for him. <laugh> so, uh, that's some, that's some incentive there to keep going and I would share with him and he would, you know, have good wise words to, to give me. And, um, it's, uh, it's funny that I have that at home. So maybe I'm a little bit more familiar with, um, how it is to be exposed and how it is to be a little bit controversial. Speaker 2 00:34:24 Yeah. I mean, you've talked a lot about different causes, gender equality, mental health, ocean pollution, which is obviously a very, um, must be close to your heart. Do you feel, I know we've talked about that sense of responsibility. Do you, do you feel responsibility and sometimes do you just wanna get on and surf <laugh> Speaker 0 00:34:40 I all the time just wanna go on and surf <laugh>, that's what I love most, but, um, more and more, you know, I think as I grow older, I need more to feel fulfilled and, you know, I, I try to find ways to, to do that through ocean conservation, through, um, different causes and, and different type of types of work. Um, because that keeps me motivated in my sport too, you know, if I can keep surfing and if I can keep sharing and having a voice on the matters that are important to me and to humanity. Um, that's the perfect combination. Speaker 2 00:35:21 Can we talk a little bit about your ocean conservation work? Cause I mean, you know, I, I spoke, I spoke to Lenny about this, um, a couple about a month ago and he was kind of talking to me about the microplastics in the sea and it just, it painted a very, very bleak picture. Do you, do you kind of have the same feelings on the subject and, and how are you trying to tackle it? Speaker 0 00:35:39 Yeah, yeah. Well, it's a, it's a very big subject and, and we are in a phase where, you know, we kind of still have hope, but there is big changes that have to be made. Um, in the next few years, I, you know, I'm in the board of director for Oceana. So I am constantly aware of our campaigns of the big issues and I get to vote and I get to discuss them and, and the board. And, and so I really love to, to know what, what, where we are working, what we are working, um, a lot of, um, overing, bycatch, microplastic, um, climate change. Those are the main subjects, um, things that I see in my daily life, you know, also because I work here in a fishing village, I live in a fishing village, so I see the changes for the fishermen. Um, and, and also I see the plastic, I surf with the plastic, I get plastic and, and fishing, um, ropes and, and fishing gear into my propel and the jet ski all the time. So it's in my daily life, but you know, I, for me, I believe, you know, the work we do in ocean is kind of what, what most makes sense is, is about changing laws. It's about rewriting the laws. It's about how the government is taking care of our oceans. I think, you know, as consumers, as people, we can do our part, but we definitely have to change a lot of the constitute, the, the, the legislation to protect our oceans and, and our, our Marine life and biodiversity. Speaker 2 00:37:30 Do you feel optimistic about it? Speaker 0 00:37:33 Um, yes. If I didn't feel optimistic, I wouldn't work on it. <laugh> it would be kind of a waste of time. <laugh> Speaker 2 00:37:39 Yeah, Speaker 0 00:37:39 That's true. I could be surfing instead. Um, that's true. Yeah. I feel, I feel optimistic because, um, there is ways there is ways to turn around the tide and, and, um, there is people that are working, um, extensively to do it, and I hope I can, I can help in my little way to push the agenda forward and to, you know, reestablish, um, what the ocean used to have, you know, by diversity, lots of fish, lots of life and, and last plastic. Speaker 2 00:38:18 Um, <laugh>, this is, it's probably a, a question you get asked a lot by a lot of surfing novices, but, um, on the subject of, uh, biodiversity, have you had many shark encounters? Speaker 0 00:38:29 I had a couple, um, I have swam also, uh, with sharks in Hawaii. I think they're lovely, lovely animals. I do. I would get scared if it's, um, in an area that I know that they attack, usually if it's in areas that I know that they're not, um, that they don't attack so often, like I don't get scared, but, you know, they are, they are an extremely necessary part of our ecosystem. So I am a big defender of sharks and, and, um, and a big, no, no. For the fin trading. Speaker 2 00:39:07 Yes, absolutely. Um, I mean, obviously now Dungeons is notoriously. Um, shark-infested right. But obviously there are all these amazing places around the world, surf there's pipeline, Mavericks, and obviously where you are Nazare, um, which are your favorites, which is your favorite and, and why, and what has the kind of most emotional pull, I guess the obvious answer is, is there to see. But if the, if there's a surprise on two, that'd be great. <laugh>, Speaker 0 00:39:30 What's my favorite wave. You mean? Speaker 2 00:39:33 Well, no, the place to surf, you know, like cuz they, they must all have such specific characteristics. All of these places Speaker 0 00:39:38 I love to surf in Nazare I mean it's home and I get to see it in all its moods. I feel like, you know, whenever you stay in a place and you dedicate yourself to like one particular wave, you get to see it in so many moods that, that makes it special. You, you start creating a very intimate relationship with that place and that wave. So for now, you know, I'm very, um, I'm very inspired by Nazare and the waves I get to serve here. Speaker 2 00:40:04 And where would be your second favorite to nare Speaker 0 00:40:07 <laugh> Indonesia. I love Indonesia surfing. Okay. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:40:11 Where specifically in Indonesia. Speaker 0 00:40:14 Menti. Speaker 2 00:40:14 Okay. And what kind of, what, what are the characteristics of the waves there compared to say in Nazare? Cause obviously Nazare just looks so intense. <laugh> right. Speaker 0 00:40:21 Okay. They're small. They're barreling. They're barely very shallow reef, blue crystal, clear water, very warm water. Um, and a lot of different type of waves. Um, yeah, there's too many waves to count. Speaker 2 00:40:38 Um, one thing that we touched on a little bit earlier that I'd like to come back to is the safety implementations that you put in place after what happened at Nazare? Um, like specifically what, what things did you change in order to make the whole process, uh, safer? Speaker 0 00:40:56 Yeah, well, um, up until that point, um, I was living in a world where, you know, my sport was, uh, a team sport of two. It was me and Carlos. So I would drive when he served and he would drive when I served and what we learned. And I think Garrett was already shaping that while he was pioneering here the first two years. And what I understand now, and a lot of people understand now is that over here, it's not a team of two, it's a team of many more you need, right? The guy that's experienced up on the cliff with a radio, you need the radio to be somewhere accessible on your body that you can hear well, because while we drive the skis, we're, um, we really depend on those eyes up there to do rescues. So when you're driving the ski at high speed on the inside, you need a radio to be efficient and you have to be able to, to hear what the person is saying. Speaker 0 00:41:53 And that is very hard. Um, after my accident, also, basically every person nowadays has an inflatable suit, which I didn't have at the time. It was early stages for that. So I had just the, the normal impact fast that blew over my head. And nowadays we all use inflatable vest that has, um, CO2 cartridges and you explode and it, it fills up with air and it, it gets you up on the surface a little bit faster. Um, we have a rescued ski for every team when it's big, which is, uh, experienced driver by himself that is shadowing the team. So instead of having just your driver responsible to do your rescue, you have somebody else too. So you have two pickup opportunities. Um, whoever comes in first, if that person misses the second one comes shadows it and does the, the rescue right after. So that was a big change too. Speaker 0 00:42:53 And we have a paramedic on the beach that has been training and helping the lifeguards here to be more prepared and the case that they have to jump in right on shore to grab a body and bring it in. And the paramedic comes in with all the equipment and works on the person. Um, that's been, uh, very important because Nazare, didn't, didn't use to have lifeguards on the winter. So all their lifeguard experience was summertime. So we had a beach and we were surfing those giant ways with no lifeguard. And so when we brought those people from the summer lifeguard into a winter European north beach, they needed some training. They needed to like understand how they could work that environment because it's so, so hard. So nowadays in town we have three or four guys that our body boilers, our surfers, our lifeguards, and have been training to be able to do that first, um, part of the rescue before we get to the paramedics. So a lot of changes. Speaker 2 00:43:53 Wow. I mean, there must be other people who have accidents like yours. I mean, have you been approached by anyone to kind of help them through, um, a similar experience? Speaker 0 00:44:03 No, I haven't. There has been accidents, um, after mine, but I feel like we all deal it very differently. Um, it's a very personal experience. Um, I haven't had anyone contact me, Speaker 2 00:44:18 No. Okay. I mean, so you've achieved an awful lot in the last couple of years. And as, as we've said, you've, you've got these multiple world records or dual world records. What's next for Marra Speaker 0 00:44:30 <laugh> I don't know what's next. Um, I'm looking forward to the winter, you know, I start training in August, so I have one month now to get everything organized and um, hopefully I get a, an exciting winter again after last year, which to me was a bit slow with all the limitations and COVID restrictions. I'm very excited to have a full season again. Speaker 2 00:44:54 Is there anywhere else that you'd like to go and surf where's next? Where, where in the world? Speaker 0 00:44:59 I don't know. I don't have my eyes on a next giant wave. I am, uh, I'm still pretty sold in Nazare. Speaker 2 00:45:07 Okay, fantastic. <inaudible> thank you so much for taking the time to be with us at the edge today. Uh, you've been a joy. Thank you so much. Speaker 0 00:45:15 Thank you. Speaker 2 00:45:20 Thank you for joining us at the edge. A podcast by tag Hoyer. Don't forget to subscribe on Spotify, iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. The edge is also an online magazine. Go to magazine dot tag, hoya.com for more articles, interviews, and photo series that bring together our love of watches and our desire to push ourselves to the edge of our limits. I'm your host, Teo van and BRCA until next time, keep an eye out. This is the edge.

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