- The first time I saw a really big wave was at Waimea, at the Eddie Aikau invitational.
- I was 17 and had just moved to Hawaii from Brazil. I wanted to live on my own.
- I wanted to figure out who I was and what I really wanted in life. I knew that day that I wanted to surf those waves.
- After a year of sitting in the lineup with the boys, I caught my first big onemaybe 15 feetand everything just felt right. I was so focused and in the moment. I loved it.
- Soon enough I was surfing big waves all over the world.
- I ended up at Teahupoo, in Tahiti. I was really nervous.
- I took two big wipeouts, either of which could have ended my career. But it didn't feel right to sit on my board and look stupid, to give up.
- So my partner, Carlos Burle, towed me out again, and I caught one. People criticized me for taking those risks, for getting in over my head.
- And yes, in the beginning I did take a lot of risks, but in the beginning you have to take those risks. How else do you make it? How else do you realize your dreams?
- Start over
Vote for America's Best Town! →
Open a World of Adventure
Our Dispatch email delivers the stories you can’t afford to miss.