To celebrate World Oceans Day on June 8, Oceana, the largest international ocean conservation organization, released a new public service announcement (PSA) starring Brazilian champion big wave surfer and ocean advocate Maya Gabeira.

Video: Surfer Maya Gabeira: Let's Help the Oceans Catch a Break

“I started surfing when I was 14,” Maya said when filming the PSA. “I’ve spent a lot of time in the ocean since then. I get to share that environment with all the animals – turtles, sharks, fish, everything that lives there. It’s crazy not to protect it. Let’s help the oceans catch a break.”

With support from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Vibrant Oceans Initiative, Oceana is opening a new office in Maya’s home country of Brazil this summer. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Maya gained recognition in 2009 after riding the largest wave ever surfed by a female. Since then she has garnered many surfing awards including the Teen Choice Award, Hall of Game Awards, ESPN Award “Best Female Action Sport Athlete”, and XXL Billabong Big Wave Award.

In 2013, Gabeira received international attention after suffering a near-fatal accident while surfing some of the world’s largest waves in Nazaré, Portugal. Tackled by monstrous 80 foot swells, Gabeira broke her leg and was held underwater long enough to lose consciousness but was heroically rescued by her surf partner, Carlos Burle, a fellow Brazilian who then went on to ride potentially the largest wave ever surfed. The story of Maya’s bravery and incredible rescue was covered around the world.

When not chasing down the world’s largest waves, Gabeira finds time to give back to the oceans. Last year Maya partnered with Yana Surf to create a limited edition balsa wood longboard. Only 100 were manufactured, and a portion of all sales of the Maya Gabeira Single Fin Malibu surfboard will be donated to Oceana.

Maya and Yana Surf also donated one of the boards for The Nautica Oceana Beach House Party in Santa Monica, CA on May 16th. The board was autographed by numerous celebrities at the party and is now being auctioned on charitybuzz in a lot that includes merchandise from Nautica and Lagunitas Brewing Company. The complete package will be on auction until June 11, 2014.

To learn more about Maya’s campaign to protect the ocean, visit www.oceana.org/catchabreak.

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