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PREPARE FOR THE UNEXPECTED. We find common ground between surfing and Formula E.

What do big wave surfing and Formula E racing have in common? To find out, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E team caught up with Maya Gabeira, two-times world record holder, in Nazaré - Portugal’s big wave surfing mecca. And we learnt that the two sports have a lot more in common than you’d think.

Maya’s status among the world’s best big wave surfers was cemented on 11 February 2020, she made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for the second time - beating her own world record - for the highest wave (73.5 feet) ever surfed by a woman.

But before she reached the top, she had to start at the bottom. Spending hours in the water, day after day, constantly pushing herself to the limit. Despite her multiple successes, Maya has no thoughts of retiring; for her, there is always room for improvement.

“There have been many moments in my life that demanded me to be driven and to believe in myself,” she says. One can see the passion in her eyes while she speaks about what she loves most. Continually, her gaze wanders in the direction of the giant waves breaking upon the dramatic coastline.

What inspires the hard work, dedication, focus, passion and preparation? She explains, “My inner drive probably comes from the ability to believe in myself, the will to challenge myself and to improve and once I have put so much dedication and time into achieving something the drive is there…”.

Maya’s words resonate powerfully with us. This same commitment and hunger has driven TAG Heuer Porsche from the very beginning - not only to win, but to improve constantly. And both sports share the thrill of speed and power; the element of risk; the courage and skill to make split-second decisions in a constantly shifting, fast-moving environment.

Inspired by her confidence and competitive attitude, we asked her to tell us more about what it takes to become one of the world’s best big wave surfers.

What does leaving the comfort zone mean to you?

Leaving the comfort zone for me means everything. I always believed in it and I´ve been practicing it since I was very young, actually as a teenager, always leaving my comfort zone in order to improve myself and to understand myself better and to create new limits. It´s very important that we go to places that are scary, and that we do things that are scary, and sometimes it´s just scary because it´s the unknown and we don´t really know what to expect and, therefore the lack of knowledge brings us a discomfort. But it´s very important that we go to these places because they become normal, they become something that we know and then we can go onto the next phase. And that´s how, for big wave surfing, it has been fundamental in my improving as an athlete.

What is your greatest achievement in surfing?

The greatest achievement for me in surfing has been my second world record and establishing that a woman surfed the tallest wave of the year against men and women. I think that was pretty amazing.

What does your preparation look like?

My routine always changes; it really depends on the ocean. I have to be very flexible. If there are good waves, surfing is always first priority. And then I have gym work, I do some mountain biking and I swim in the pool. So, I try to fit in all these different training activities but surfing takes priority.

Do you follow the same preparation routine every time or do you adjust it to certain situations?

I have my preparation routine for big days. Pretty much always the same. I like to have consistency and I like to create a routine that feels like home, feels like normal and takes the stress out of the scenario.

Have there been moments where you wished you would have prepared better?

Yeah, there have been times in my life when I thought I should’ve been prepared better…and those lessons came with hard consequences and I learned things.

How do you feel about situations you can’t prepare for?

I like to be flexible. I understand that there are a lot of variables in the sport of surfing and trying to control nature is impossible, so understanding how to work with last minute changes and constant variables is very important. I am just open to that.

What motivates you to keep pushing?

What motivates me to keep pushing is knowing that I haven’t reached my peak yet. I know that I can still surf better and there is still a lot to learn so I just want to be out there.

Chatting with Maya Gabeira, it is clear that big wave surfing has many of the ingredients that make Formula E so exciting. To see more inspiring stories about the importance of combining attitude with preparation follow our Instagram channel @tagheuerporschefe


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