Surf fans have grown accustomed to seeing Red Bull ambassador, Maya Gabeira -- the 5'6", 125 pound big wave hell woman from Brazil -- getting spit out of gargantuan barrels. Currently, though, Gabiera, is the subject of a pair of must see photos in the current edition of ESPN The Magazine's "Body Issue," which hit newsstands last Friday.
Every year ESPN the Magazine celebrates the athletic form by presenting its readers with photos of two dozen or so of the world's finest athletes stripped down to nothing. Gabiera appears on the table of contents and later, in a full color spread, duck diving beneath a wave.
"Most women are afraid of being too strong. When you surf, your muscles get bigger, especially your shoulders," Gabiera told ESPN. "When I'm trapped underwater and might black out, knowing I want to see my family again gives me the strength not to pass out or lose focus. There isn't room for being scared and nervous. I can hold my breath for four minutes in the pool. I'd love to get to five or six . . . ."
Gabiera's photo shoot for the issue was held in late February at Backyards on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. ESPN provides some video footage of Maya surfing nude in head-high waves (above).
"It was pretty weird to surf naked," the five-tme Billabong XXL winner, and 2009 ESPY recipient of Female Action Sports Athlete of the Year, tells ESPN. "It was hard to focus. I was feeling self-conscious and trying to control something that was uncontrollable."