Setting the world record for perhaps the largest wave ever surfed usually takes a backseat to absolutely nothing. But Carlos Burle, a Brazilian surfer, also happened to save his friend and fellow thrill-seeker Maya Gabeira's life on Monday.
Surfing Nazare in Portugal, Gabeira wiped out and was knocked unconscious. She was floating face down in the water when Burle, aboard a jet ski, swooped in and attempted to save her.
From Burle's perspective via Stab magazine:
“I towed her into this wave and it was so big man. … She hit the third bump but didn't manage to jump it and just slammed into it. She broke her ankle then and there. Then she got caught inside by a giant wave and disappeared. … She was gone for about five minutes. I couldn't find her anywhere. Then I saw her and raced towards her. There were these huge waves just breaking on us and over us, and she missed the sled. She was weak and she couldn't grab on and we were getting pounded."
Finally, Burle hopped off the jet ski, dragged her in with an armlock, and she was eventually resuscitated and taken to the hospital. She later posted a few photos to her facebook account showing her in good spirits.
Here's video of her crash and amazing rescue.
One would think that would be enough for Burle. It wasn't.
His only wave of the day was a monster. "There was so much room to move on the wave. So much space above me and below me."
It may have been as high as 100 feet -- "it's not impossible," he said -- potentially shattering Garrett McNamara's previous 78-foot world record set on the same beach.
“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,” he said.