Image courtesy Yasuo Maeda.

Image courtesy Yasuo Maeda.

Last November, Mahina Maeda–then 16–became the second woman in history to surf the legendary waves of Nazare, Portugal. Now, video of her incredible feat–surfing waves topping around 30 feet–is one of the entries for Billabong’s 2015 Ride of the Year in the XXL Big Wave Awards.

Mahina reached Nazarre fresh off her win of the junior world title in Ericeira, looking to keep up her momentum. Aided by her “Uncle Garrett”–legendary surfer Garrett McNamara–she strapped on two life vests and rode out into Nazarre’s dangerous surf. Only a year prior, the same surf had caused Brazilian surfer Maya Gabeira to lose consciousness and nearly drown while attempting to set a world record for biggest wave surfed by a woman.

Mahina wasn’t intimidated. She took three deep breaths to “reset” herself, stating, “My mind just went blank…I could hear just my heart pumping. That’s it.”

Then she cascaded down not one, but two big waves! The second wave crashed around her, and she resurfaced with a toothy grin. Check it out in the video below:

Mahina is traveling the world as part of the World Qualifying Series. She hopes to become one of the top six women who will qualify to join the World Surf League’s Women’s Championship Tour. She’s currently tied for No. 4, and is surfing in Fiji with two-time world champion Carissa Moore and Australian ripper Dimity Stoyle. She’ll then head to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Best of luck, Mahina! And for more on incredible surfer girls around the world, visit our exhibit, Surfer Girl.

-Tiffany Rhoades
Program Developer
Girl Museum Inc.

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