Carlos Burle

Big wave surfer who believes fear is an extremely important tool. Fear lets you know the limit.

Carlos Burle returned with Maya Gabeira to the beach where he saved Maya's life back in 2013. Here seen in action in the sea.
© Hugo Silva/Red Bull Content Pool

Hi, my name is Carlos Burle. My discipline is surfing big wave. My friends call me Burle. I was born on 9 November 1967 in Recife, Brazil. My special talent is surfing big waves – enormous waves. My philosophy of life is go beyond expectations and always break barriers. The most important person in my life is my mother. My favourite food is organic and natural food. My favourite music is whatever fits the moment.


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.”

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Career Highlights

  1. 2013
    1. Rode arguably the biggest wave ever ridden

      Nazaré, Portugal

  2. 2012
    1. 1st Place: BWWT Stage One

      Pico Alto, Peru

  3. 2011
    1. 1st Place: Mormaii Tow In

      Laje da Jagua, Santa Catarina, Brazil

  4. 2010
    1. 3rd Place: BWWT Billabong Pico Alto Invitational

      Punta Hermosa, Peru

  5. 2009
    1. 2nd Place: Place: Billabong Pico Alto Invitational

      Punta Hermosa, Peru

    2. 5th Place: Quiksilver Ceremonial Punta de Lobos

      Punta de Lobos, Chile

  6. 2002
    1. 1st Place: Nissan Xterra XXL

      Biggest wave surfed during the season, 68 feet (22 metres)

  7. 1998
    1. World Big Wave Champion

      Todos os Santos, Mexico