Greg Long: fear is part of the thrill | Photo: Van Gysen/Red Bull

Fear is a liberating drug, but if you're a big wave surfer, it can kill you. Greg Long was invited to share is near-death experience in Cortes Bank, at the National Geographic Live series.

"I do feel fear," Greg Long confirms. The problem is that fear almost ruled his life, with real consequences. When the Californian fell in love with the Cortes Bank, located 100 miles off the coast of San Diego, he didn't know what was about to happen.

Cortes Bank, with its 360 degrees horizon line, swell lines traveling at 50 miles an hour, and speedy currents, called Long. Come ride the biggest wave of your life. Greg dove into the abyss and almost drowned.

The big wave surfer was rescued and airlifted to the hospital in San Diego. Long promised himself his big wave surfing career was over. However, three weeks later, he was chasing giants at Mavericks. With the traumatizing memories of the near-death wipeout at Cortes Bank.

Greg rapidly understood that he needed to paddle out, once again, at the offshore break, to unlock his trauma. And that was precisely what he did.

Today, Long believes that "one of the greatest allures of big wave surfing is embracing fear in a positive light." Will he keep chasing fear and massive walls of white water in the world's most dangerous big wave breaks?

Discover the 10 commandments of the big wave surfer, and learn how to survive a huge wipeout.