Maya Gabeira ... naked

Francesco Carrozzini

Beauty in its natural element.

Maybe it's just me, but I find pretty much any female who rides any kind of board to be good looking. A girl could have five teeth and an eye patch, but if she's out in the water, there's something undeniably attractive about her.

Maya Gabeira is easy on the eyes.

But Maya is a true siren, as in guys who don't even surf think she's a Brazilian bombshell. It makes sense that she got tapped for ESPN Magazine's 2012 Body Issue. And like Steph Gilmore did last year, and Kelly Slater in 2010, it meant going "au naturel" --which meant she had to get all nekkid.

"I've been getting some good feedback. My family liked it -- my Dad, that was a big relief," Gabeira told me today, "I liked it myself. I felt more artistic than exposed. But the picture came out alright."

Of course, Gabeira, five-time Billabong XXL winner, 2009 ESPY "Female Action Sports Athlete of the Year," generally considered the best big wave woman on the planet, handled it with pure grace.

She was selected among a cross section of uber-athletes from soccer players to runners, bowlers and the token "tight end." While athletic nude bodies sounds pretty racy, it's far more art than smut. Hard as you may look, you won't find any accidental slippage. Gabiera has two classy photos, a black and white of her paddling over a wave and an absolute gem of her duck diving. Both were taken by Francesco Carrozini. They took a PWC out to a reef outside V-Land to avoid oglers. Fortunately, Obama was not in Hawaii at the time of the shoot and the secret service wasn't an issue.

"It's pretty weird to surf naked," she said in this video interview, "I had to focus on surfing and I was more just self conscious to control something that was uncontrollable."

Gabeira is taking it all in stride. She returned from a month in the Mentawai Islands in time for this issue to come out. And now it's back to watching swell models to chase the biggest waves around the world. As for the photos, she considered it a great honor to represent not only surfing, but Brazil. You can pick up the issue at your local newsstand now if the digital version doesn't do these shots justice.

Related Content