Bobbing in the South Atlantic, her partner, Carlos Burle, 42, still half unconscious after losing a battle with one of the first waves of the day, Maya Gabeira considered turning back. From the seat of her Jet Ski, the 22-year-old Brazilian watched as South Africa’s Dungeons break swelled to 50 feet. Holding on behind her, Burle was badly shaken: “I almost died,” he said over and over.
Then the sun came out, and Gabeira spoke up: “Can you drive?”
Gabeira, the only sponsored female big-wave surfer in the world, began her career in earnest at the age of 17, when she left Brazil and set out alone for Hawaii. Read the story and watch the video >>
Three weeks ago we announced the 2009 Adventurers of the Year, selected for their extraordinary achievements in exploration, conservation, action sports, and humanitarian work. Now, for the first time ever, you can vote for the Readers' Choice Adventurer of the Year. To help you get to know them, we are going to highlight a different adventurer daily. You can only vote once, so make sure to check out each adventurers' profile, video, and photo gallery, before firing up our voting machine.