Ever heard of Pernambuco State, in Brazil? It's the country's best big wave zone. So, it should be no surprise that Carlos Burle, one of Brazil's best big wave surfers, comes from there.
Carlos was Brazil's first ever big wave freesurfer. Rewind to 2001, and some of the biggest news to hit the surfing world that year was Carlos bouncing down the face of the biggest wave ridden to date at the time, a Mavericks, California bomb that clocked 68 feet [20.7m].
But before that, way back in 1990, Carlos was Brazil's first big-wave champ. Two years later, he surfed what was then called the 'wave of the century' at Off the Wall, in Hawaii. Later, in '98, Carlos won the Big Wave World Championships, using his arms (no ski!) to scratch into avalanches at Bahía de Todos Santos, Mexico.
Based in Rio de Janeiro, Carlos' day-to-day life, when he's not glued to weather forecasts, consists of stretching, swimming, bodybuilding, as well as balance and cardiovascular exercises. On the flip-side, he digs yoga, reiki, meditation, and acupuncture.
In October 2013, Carlos stole headlines when he rode arguably the biggest wave ever at Praia do Norte in Nazaré, Portugal. The monstrous wave was reportedly over 100 feet [30.5m] in height. Speaking after the event, Carlos simply said: “I don’t want to be the one who calls it. It’s hard to tell. Someone else can tell me how big it was.”
The Brazilian also saved fellow big wave surfer Maya Gabeira's life after she was swallowed by the gigantic wave earlier the same day. “I’m good. Maya is good too. That’s the most important thing,” says Carlos. “It was a crazy day. I nearly lost my friend.”
Even after a career spanning the best part of three decades surfing terrifying waves (with no signs of slowing), Carlos still respects his strongest emotion when he's staring down the barrel of a two-wave hold down: “Fear is an extremely important tool for me,” he says. “Fear lets you know the limit.”Read more