- BBC News World
Brazilian surfing legend Márcio Freire has died while surfing the huge waves of Nazaré, on the coast of Portugal.
The 47-year-old athlete he fell Thursday while training.
Freire was one of three pioneering Brazilian surfers featured in the documentary Mad Dogs (2016), in which he reviews his attempt to conquer the giant wave “Jaws” in Hawaii.
He had moved to that US state to surf the biggest and most dangerous waves in the world.
Freire was reportedly practicing surfing with trailerwhich is an artificial assistance that surfers use, such as a jet ski, to catch waves that are moving faster than they would be able to if they were paddling by hand.
It was at that moment that he fell.
When the incident occurred, he was taken back to the beach and there rescuers found him in cardiorespiratory arrest but were unable to revive him and he was pronounced dead, the Portuguese National Maritime Authority said in a statement.
Freire was seen as a pioneer, who traveled the world to ride giant waves.
“We did not have any security. It was pure courage guided by the desire to go down a huge wave,” he said in Mad Dogs.
“The risks were many without adequate security. If an accident happened, it would be the end of the trip.
“Nothing forced us to do what we did. It was all for us, for our personal satisfaction,” he added.
They celebrate their life
Several personalities in social networks have paid tribute to Freire, starting with the also professional giant wave surfer nic von ruppwho wrote a message on an Instagram story.
“Today we lost one of our own. I always had a lot of respect for Márcio as one of the pioneers. Today I watched him surf all day in Nazaré with a big smile,” he said.
“That smile is how I will remember him.”
The also Brazilian surfer Thiago Jacaré he paid tribute to his friend on Instagram, calling him “more than an idol” and “a true hero.”
The area where Freire died has some of the biggest and most terrifying waves in the world, caused by the Nazaré canyon on the seabed off the coast of Portugal.
It was in Nazaré where the German surfer Sebastian Steudner set the world record for the largest wave ever surfed in October 2020.
Several accidents have occurred there, but as of Thursday, none had been fatal.
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