Brazilian big wave surfer Maya Gabeira is considered one of the top female surfers in the world. PHOTO COURTESY OF TAG HEUER
For a moment, as surfer Maya Gabeira tips into a wave the size of Godzilla, time slides away and there is simply “the moment.” “What I like about riding those big waves is that my mind is focused,” she says. “I am immersed in the moment and very present. Sometimes we lose our calmness, but we have to try our best to remain calm, connected and present, which is for me the most important and the best part of surfing.”
Redesigned for 2021, the TAG Heuer Aquaracer is a pure extreme-performance mechanical watch. PHOTO COURTESY OF TAG HEUER
A native Brazilian, Gabeira now calls Nazaré, Portugal, home. There, she lives in the shadow of giants, fearsome waves that can stretch up to 100 feet tall, making them some of the largest on earth. If you’ve never jumped down the big-wave rabbit hole, drop everything and check Gabeira’s greatest hits on YouTube. In one 2020 video, Gabeira conquers a Guinness record-setting Nazaré 73.5-footer. Your palms will go sweaty with just one look at the giant wave.
Gabreira is best known for having surfed a 73.5-foot wave in Nazaré, Portugal, in 2020, the biggest wave ever ridden by a woman. PHOTO COURTESY OF TAG HEUER
Gabeira became a professional surfer in 2004. Shortly after, the lure of bigger, badder waves drew her in; she emerged as the world’s premier female big-wave surfer, setting and breaking world records in the sport with regularity.
PHOTO COURTESY OF TAG HEUER
As such, Gabeira is one of the rare brand ambassadors who gives her watch a genuine beating, trading blows with the ocean on a daily basis. She sports a TAG Heuer Aquaracer to monitor her time in the water, navigate the hectic schedule of a professional athlete and track the all-important movement of the tides. With the recent release of a new Aquaracer—revamped for better legibility and a sleeker appearance—TAG Heuer found the perfect wrist to torture test its flagship dive watch.
The cyclops date window PHOTO COURTESY OF TAG HEUER
“I love the new Aquaracer,” Gabeira says. “I have been using an older model for quite a while now. But as I am a big fan of bigger watches, and the new bigger model is slimmer and lighter, I am currently enjoying testing it in all conditions.”
Gabeira’s relationship with TAG Heuer has, in part, allowed her to dedicate to big-wave surfing fully, she says. Having a prominent sponsor like TAG raises the profile of the sport at large and brings Gabeira extra confidence on a personal level, confirmation that her life’s great gamble—pursuing excellence in this dangerous, male-dominated sport—is a worthwhile one.
“So that is like a stamp of approval for what you are doing, proof that you are doing the right thing,” she says.
The Aquaracer’s superior versatility performs beautifully on sea and land. PHOTO COURTESY OF TAG HEUER
Gabeira cites no particular key to unlock success. Rather, she simply enjoys the journey. Learning and commitment simply lead to success, she says.
Not only did Gabeira surf the biggest wave by a woman, but it was also the biggest wave surfed by anyone during the 2019-2020 season—a first for women in professional surfing. PHOTO COURTESY OF TAG HEUER
“Loving something, being fully dedicated, always hungry to improve, never really being comfortable where you are. These are the things I live by,” she says. “But it is never a guarantee. So I try not to be so attached to what we as a society see as success, because sometimes the end goal might not happen, but it was still a very worthwhile path to be lived.”
Water-resistant to at least 200 meters, TAG Heuer’s Aquaracer Professional 300 is an ideal high-performance tool watch. PHOTO COURTESY OF TAG HEUER
That distinction between society’s version of success and forging an authentic path is an important one. In 2013, Gabeira crashed out in a big way while riding a monster at Nazaré. Her ankle snapped in the wipeout and successive waves nearly drowned her. She was revived on the beach and recovered in the hospital. Following rehabilitation, Gabeira returned to that same beach in 2016 to ride again.
At launch, the new Aquaracer Professional 300 comes in seven references in two sizes. PHOTO COURTESY OF TAG HEUER
It’s that brand of perseverance, of fighting to stay on your authentic path, that Gabeira hopes will set an example for young girls looking to follow in her footsteps.
Gabeira wearing her Aquaracer. PHOTO COURTESY OF TAG HEUER
“I hope that they can think more and more outside of the box, that they can break some of society’s rules by really looking inside and finding out who they really are. Because sometimes we follow what we are supposed to do even though this might not be it. So, it is important that we give incentives, for girls and boys at a young age, to discover and to try to dig inside in order to find their own unique path.”