Famed big wave surfer Greg Long spoke on his life story, the events that lead him to where he is now, arguably one of the most decorated big wave surfers ever, and took us on a tour through his world. Including not just the actual riding of the waves but the preparation and psychology that goes into it and the day to day routine that makes him one of the best big wave surfers of all time.
Talking on how to live a Deep Blue Life, protecting and conserving the ocean playground that gives us all such joy and is of the highest importance and what we can do to safeguard it for future generations.
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About the speaker
Born and raised in San Clemente, California, Greg grew up on the beach. His father, Steve, was the Lifeguard Chief for San Clemente State Beaches and, consequently, Greg was introduced to the water and surfing at a very young age. He began surfing competitively at the age of twelve and continued to surf at the top of his class during the years following. Along the way, Greg established a profound sense of connection and comfort in the ocean and he soon found himself tackling some of the larger waves in the world. When asked why at the time, he simply stated:
I want to push myself and explore my greatest capabilities both in and out of the water.
Greg ended his amateur career in the summer of 2001 with a National Championship Title. But unlike predecessors who had captured the same title, names like Kelly Slater and Andy Irons, Greg chose to forgo the life of competitive performance surfing and instead blazed his own career path. Following an ‘endless winter’ Greg set off, tracking the world’s largest storms around the globe in pursuit of finding and riding the world’s biggest waves.
Thirteen years later he is referred to by many as “the best big wave surfer on the planet”, having won every major big wave surfing competition and multiple XXL Global Big Wave awards, including “Performer of the Year”, “Biggest Paddle Wave”, “”Biggest Tow-In Wave” and the most coveted, “Ride of the Year”. His big wave exploits have been featured in films, magazines and news publications around the globe.
Within his community of surfing peers, Greg is respected as the most prepared big wave surfer, dedicating immense amounts of time to physical and mental training as well as ensuring his equipment and safety preparations are of the highest standard. In December 2012 this dedication and attention to detail saved his life. While attempting to paddle into the largest waves ever attempted at the infamous “Cortes Bank”, an underwater sea mount 100 miles off the coast of southern California, he sustained a wipeout that held him underwater for four consecutive waves, rendering him unconscious. Greg’s body was located and recovered by his water safety team and, following resuscitation and stabilization, he was life-flighted by Coast Guard helicopter back to the mainland.
Only days after his near fatal experience, Greg returned to the ocean, competing in giant surf at the world renowned Maverick’s surf contest in Northern California, eventually going on to be crowned the Big Wave World Champion for 2013. Six months later he rode a massive barrel in Puerto Escondido, Mexico that would later be selected as the “Ride of the Year” at the 2013 XXL Global Big Wave Awards.
When asked what drives him on his continuing quest to ride these massive waves of consequence, Greg aptly states:
“At a young age I fell in love with big wave surfing because it is the most physically and mentally challenging facet of surfing. That holds true for me today. Being immersed in the ocean during its wildest states, learning to control my mind and overcome the feelings of fear, harnessing my personal energy and bringing it in sync with the rhythm of the swells, brings about a level of excitement and gratification that is unrivaled. I find myself living totally in the moment, acting solely on instinct, trusting entirely in my cumulative knowledge and ability. For me, life is one continual learning process, and the challenge and blessing is to grow physically, mentally and spiritually, while exploring my greatest potential as a human being. Big wave riding has been my arena to do exactly that”.