Fac­ing yourFears

Adventure - - Adventure//Facing Your Fears >> - ― Sylvester Stal­lone, Rocky Bal­boa

“let me tell you some­thing you al­ready know. The world ain't all sun­shine and rain­bows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there per­ma­nently if you let it. You, me, or no­body is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep mov­ing for­ward. How much you can take and keep mov­ing for­ward. That's how win­ning is done!”

Some­one who knows what it feels like to be hit pretty hard and face her fears and then move for­ward, is big wave surfer, Maya Gabeira. On Oc­to­ber 28, 2013, Maya suf­fered a heavy wipe­out in nazaré, por­tu­gal, fall­ing dur­ing a big wave ride that left her fight­ing for her life. in her own words this is how she al­most drowned: ‘Car­los towed me into a re­ally nice big left and on the third bump I reckon I broke my an­kle. When I fell that wipe­out was ok. It was a lit­tle bit of a hold-down. The sec­ond one was pretty strong and the third one I think I was al­most on the shore­break and that was when the prob­lems started be­cause it was re­ally strong. It hit me on my chest and it blew out my life jacket and it re­ally hurt me. I went down, down, down un­der­wa­ter with no air and see­ing black. I was ba­si­cally go­ing to black-out and some­how I made it up but when I hit the sur­face ev­ery­thing went white so I didn’t have any vision. But from what I saw on the footage, Car­los came twice to grab me but I had no move­ment or re­ac­tion. Fi­nally he yelled at me to grab the rope and I grabbed the rope and I think that was my last lit­tle bit of en­ergy to get me maybe five or 10 feet away from the cur­rent that was tak­ing me into the rocks. But be­cause I was be­ing dragged my face was un­der­wa­ter. I was pretty much blacked-out by then and then my hand let go of the rope. From what I saw of the footage I was un­con­scious. A cou­ple of waves went over me and Car­los found me again and I was closer to the shore so he jumped off the ski and dragged me to the shore and CPR’d me and…uh… thank God he brought me back to life.” now af­ter months of phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal prepa­ra­tion – in­clud­ing two her­nia surg­eries on her back – the 28-yearold Brazil­ian has fully re­cov­ered. In fact, she’s gone back to Praia do Norte to face her fears – and surf the in­fa­mous 10-foot swell again. “I needed to get back in Nazaré, be­cause that’s where my surf­ing life stopped two years ago,” she said. “I needed to restart from here. Now, I feel my life is back on track. I’ve been in Nazaré since the be­gin­ning of Oc­to­ber and I’m the only per­son to know what I’ve been through. Sev­eral times the only exit was to cry. Cry be­cause of the pain

feel, cry be­cause of the fear, cry be­cause of the stress… but it was good. I wouldn’t change a thing be­cause ev­ery­thing I’ve faced helped me be­ing here. And ev­ery­thing was

worth it, re­ally worth it!” “Ev­ery day she passed here all the surfers got more im­pressed with her evo­lu­tion. The way she has been surf­ing, the way she drove the jet ski in crit­i­cal sit­u­a­tions… I heard that from Gar­rett (McNa­mara), who knows this place and these waves the best. “She was so tense when we first got here that I didn’t know how to help her. We talked a lit­tle bit, she said she felt pres­sured. But now, this feels like her back­yard. It’s pretty good to see her laugh­ing and hav­ing fun in the wa­ter again.” Af­ter two months in Por­tu­gal, Gabeira is now fo­cus­ing on her next ob­jec­tive: Hawaii. For the first time since 2013, Maya will have a proper win­ter sea­son in the Pa­cific Is­lands. “I’m go­ing to Hawaii cer­tain that I’m good,”

she says. “I’m happy again. I’m happy when I surf, when I’m in the wa­ter and I can’t wait to face the win­ter sea­son.”

Im­age and text courtesy of Red­bull

L-R: In hospital fol­low­ing her near drown­ing ac­ci­dent - be­ing res­cued at the beach near Nazare, Por­tu­gal, an al­most un­con­scious Maya

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