Respected big wave surfer Greg Long from San Clemente, California was hospitalized Friday evening after a treacherous wipeout and consequential three-wave hold down at Cortes Bank, the infamous deep sea break 100 miles off of the California coast. It is exposed to any swell passing through the Pacific, and with the 40 ft+ surf forecasted this week, Billabong, Xcel and Quiksilver teams – among others – were given the green light for a Cortes expedition. The open ocean swell makes this one of the wildest breaks in the world, also super dangerous. Long is one of the most experienced and well-prepared big wave surfers in the world, so the news has spread quickly as positive vibes go out to the Long family for a speedy recovery.
Greg Long (USA) is on the road to recovery after a 3-wave hold-down forced rescue teams to airlift Long to the UCSD Medical Center. Photo: Sine Qua Non
The following breaking news was published on the Billabong XXL Facebook page:
“To make a very long story short, Greg is OK, we just got a full rundown from him as he is being released from UCSD Medical Center after being airlifted by a US Coast Guard helicopter from Cortes Bank last night following a late afternoon wipeout. He got pounded after taking off deep behind another surfer on a big one, and ultimately suffered a three-wave hold-down, blacking out near the end, but being pulled out by DK Walsh and Frank Quirarte on skis. He was coughing out blood/foam for some time, but DID NOT break any ribs or suffer an impact, just the massive hold-down. He will be telling the tale to all key surf media tomorrow but is just trying to settle down and be thankful for surviving one of the hairiest big wave incidents of all time. And he wanted you to know the waves were REALLY good.”
A map shows Cortes Bank about 100 miles offshore, catching every deep sea swell in its path. Photo: Mechanics of Cortes Bank video
Since Billabong XXL‘s update, Long has since been cleared from the hospital, and although thoroughly shaken, is reported to be in good spirits and will be home to spend Christmas with his family. Surfer Magazine quoted Long saying, “it was a close of a call as you can have.”
A documentary film about Greg Long called, “Sine Qua Non,” was released this year presented by The Inertia. Go behind-the-scenes with the producer of the film to go deeper into the psychology of big wave surfing:
Want to know how Cortes Bank works? It’s complicated, due to all the different open ocean swells passing through the area. Check out the mechanics of Cortes Bank in this video: