TIFF 2022 – Maya and the Waves

In Maya and the Wave, we follow Maya Gabeira on a quest to break a world surfing record in the Portuguese town of Nazaré, known for its amazing waves.

The film delivers a breathtaking visual experience of majestic waves, beautiful countries and the art of surfing. A two thumbs up to the videographer.

Filmmaker Stephanie Johnes followed Maya over several years as she goes through setbacks, injuries, and a near-death experience to pursue her goal. Maya Gabeira grew up in Brazil with a dream to surf on a world scale. Like any surfer, she had to overcome the hazards of the ocean through training and discipline. 

Maya and her family has rarely achieved recognition in the circle of elite athletes. We see her draw strength from her mother, the fashion designer Yamê Reis, and her father, Fernando Gabeira, whose life in radical politics was depicted in the Oscar-nominated film Four Days in September.

We see Maya encounter chauvinism in the male-dominated sport and every critic around the world. She survives the sports business side, judging and the struggles that arise over sponsorship, press coverage, and she endures constant  criticism. Maya fights to gain recognition with the Guinness Book Of World Records and with her persistence, she finally gets her much deserved acknowledgment with her world record surf.