Greg Long: extreme wipeout survivor

Greg Long has been airlifted to hospital after suffering a serious wipeout at Cortes Bank. He is recovering well.


Long, one of the best and most experienced big wave surfers in the world, was surfing massive walls at the infamous shallow seamount when an unexpected wipeout got him in trouble.

"I suffered from the impact of a sequence of four large waves, and a three wave hold down. I had taken off on the second wave of a four-wave set and was forced to straighten out", explains Greg Long.

"After enduring an extremely violent and long hold down, I barely broke the surface and was attempting to grab a breath of air, when I received the full impact of the lip from the third and largest wave of the set. All of my breath was knocked out of me".

Long nearly lost consciousness, attempted to swim to the surface as the energy of the wave began to release him, but only made a few strokes before the next wave passed overhead, pushing him back down.

As this beating started to subside, Greg Long began climbing his leash, hoping to break the surface before passing out. He made it to the tail of the surfboard while it was still submerged in the turbulent and aerated water, at which point he blacked out from CO2 saturation and lack of oxygen.

He stayed 24 hours at the UCSD Hospital in San Diego for precautionary observation as a result of the near drowning experience and blunt trauma injuries.

D.K. Walsh, Jon Walla and Frank Quiarte were on rescue skis and took Long out of the water. He was stabilized by lifeguards and paramedics who were part of the safety team, until a Coast Guard helicopter transported him back to San Diego.