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All in a day’s work: Surfer rides record-breaking wave, saves drowning friend

Chalk up one for the Good Day column.

Brazilian surfer Carlos Burle not only caught and rode what surf watchers are calling the biggest wave ever – he also saved the life of one of his fellow athletes.

Deadspin reported Mr. Burle didn't shy from jumping aboard a storm surge off Nazare, Portugal, during Monday's surfing competition – even after his main competitor, and 78-foot wave surfing record holder Garrett McNamara decided not to ride.

"It was too big for me," said Mr. McNamara, in Deadspin. "I didn't feel safe."

But Mr. Burle rode it – and estimates are the wave hit heights of 100 feet. If that's true, his successful surf would put him in the record books. Still, Mr. Burle spoke humbly.

"I don't know [if it was 100 feet]. It's not impossible," he said, to the media outlet.

"There was a lot of space on that wave. I don't know how big it was. It was bigger than Garrett's wave ... that we can see clearly. Whatever the case or the size, I am just very lucky. I'm happy to have been in the spot at the time. We have Garrett to thank. He introduced the big wave world to Nazare. He's happy to share his knowledge as well, which is great. Garrett's the man."

His low-key comments came after his other accomplishment for the day: Saving the life of his fellow surfer, Maya Gabeira.

She wiped out in the water, broke her ankle and was adrift, unconscious.

Mr. Burle rode a jet ski and tried several times to load her onto the attached sled and tow her to safety. But the surf kept dragging Ms. Gabeira under, and she nearly drowned, Deadspin reported.

Ultimately, Mr. Burle jumped from his jet ski and dragged her onto dry land.

A smiling Ms. Gabeira later posted a photo on Facebook from the hospital while flashing a thumbs-up: "My dear friends, a broken ankle. Nothing more... Some salt water."

 She also posed for a picture with Mr. Burle. 

 

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