Greg Long Speaks on Cortes Bank Wipeout

posted by / News / December 23, 2012

Thank you to the entire community of friends, family and well-wishers for your concern, your outpouring of love, support and prayers, following the serious wipeout I experienced while surfing at the Cortes Bank on Friday, December 21.

I am home, following a 24-hour stay in the UCSD Hospital in San Diego for precautionary observation as a result of the near drowning experience and blunt trauma injuries 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. 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. I nearly lost consciousness at this point and was again driven deep and was subjected to a furious beating. I attempted to swim to the surface as the energy of the wave began to release me, but only made a few strokes before the next wave passed overhead, pushing me back down. As this beating started to subside, I began climbing my leash, hoping to break the surface before passing out. I made it to the tail of my board while it was still submerged in the turbulent and aerated water, at which point I blacked out from CO2 saturation and lack of oxygen.

Three rescue skis operated by D.K. Walsh, Jon Walla and Frank Quiarte were tracking me following the initial wipeout. After a fourth and smaller white water had passed, I was quickly located, floating face down along side my surfboard by D.K. Walsh. D.K. abandoned his ski, jumping in the water in order to raise my head above the surface. Jon Walla arrived on his ski, and together they pulled me onto the rescue sled. I began regaining consciousness during the ride back to the support boat we were operating from. Several other rescuers assisted getting me on board at which point I began vomiting the small amount of water I had aspirated and a large amount of blood, which I later learned was from a combination of the blunt force trauma of impact and the rupturing of capillaries due to extreme breath holding. I was stabilized on board the boat by the lifeguards and paramedics who were part of our safety team, and a Coast Guard helicopter was summoned to transport me back to San Diego.

Having trained for extreme breath holding, at no point did I allow myself to panic or lose confidence that I was going to survive this incident. I do, however, fully acknowledge that I did exceed my limits of endurance, and that there will always be elements of risk and danger that are beyond my control while surfing waves of any size. Because of those elements of risk, I have always insisted on working with individuals that share my focus on training and preparation. Humbly, I express my deepest gratitude to the team of rescuers and fellow surfers who’s training and precise response contributed to saving my life.

—Greg Long

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  • Basilissa

    I’m really glad you’re ok.

  • rob

    garret and his wavejet. what a joke.

  • good one

    “forced to straighten out” aka burned by Mcnamara

  • Ben

    “A Coast Guard helicopter was summoned to transport me back to San Diego”

    That sounds very expensive. Who is paying for that I wonder?

  • North Shore Paddle

    When the boys are paddling the outer reefs, leave the jets at home. You have no business being out there hyping your stunts. You are a liability.

    I was at cortes that day. We don’t want you around.

  • vince

    this guy is the fucking man. he can hold his breath till his lungs bleed

  • twon

    on the wave greg caught it looks like he had to straightened out a bit because of garret mckook on his wavejet

  • Pauly Boy

    Never understood why it’s acceptable to drop in on another deeper positioned surfer at places like Mavericks, Waimea, now Cortes? At Pipe, you get whistled in and slapped around. Glad to hear Greg is safe…..he is a class act!

  • steveO

    sounds and looks like gmac was blowin it. with so many good surfers gettin dropped and burned by companies, it’s somewhat a mystery why body glove and whoever else pays this dude. wavejets are laaaame.

  • Sliding Sense

    Wave Jet + McNamara = A lethal combination.

  • Neight Dawg

    Greg Long is a gift to the surfing community! We are VERY thankful to know he is doing better, and hope to see him in the line up soon.
    What happened is done, blaming Garret is easy, I’m sure he’s not too excited about what happened either.
    Negative energy simply goes nowhere. We can only learn of this misfortune. Regarding tax dollars if you do your homework, Greg has contributed thousands of dollars to support small community’s.

  • Mke Anderson

    @ north shore paddle.. ara you kidding bra McNamara dropped in infront of him on one of these “jokejets” much less???

  • Mke Anderson

    someone has to have footage right?

  • Pell Thompson

    Good words from a classy guy. No agro chest pumping, just a dude charging hard with a crew that ensured he got out alive. I hope I’m as lucky. Hope he gets back in the water soon.

  • greasymeatloaf

    garrett mcnamara has been kooking it everywhere he goes for years. was there ever an xxl awards without him as a wipeout nomination? the guy needs to get lost — he is a barney, and thus a liability.

  • john

    what a surprise, another press release from greg long, letting everyone know just how awesome he is.

  • yeahguy

    ‘I want to be as cool as GMAC one day’ – said no one ever

    Best wishes to Greg

  • Ned Marr

    What a great team of guys on rescue ski’s at Cortes! Pin a surfer’s medal of honor on those men. Glad to hear Greg is alive and well, that’s what is most important! Incredibly scary to ponder even the most talented, best trained and deftly skilled like Greg Long can be humbled by the awesome power of Cortes Bank.
    Let me me share with you about the time I charged Cortes.Let’s be honest I’m kind of a fat and out of shape guy so before you know it I got seasick barfing all the way out there to fish and it was calm and flat. The middle schoolers I was accompanying and their fathers all out-fished me to boot but as luck had it I wasn’t completely denied, I later rallied and caught a few fish. After all I did most of the work chumming them!
    I’m happy this story had such a good out-come.
    Get well soon Greg,


    Ned Marr

  • Brian

    Sheez, this is humbling and goes to show how well-prepared and trained these guys are. Good support crews and quick response – wonder if this would have been more tragic 10 years back.
    Greg Long is a class act in and out of the water – hope he gets well soon and back out there.

  • bufu

    Get well soon Greg. You seem like a class act and your wave riding skills inspire many.

  • xman

    With regards to the WaveJet, the operator needs to be at fault as well as the engineering here.

    When I think of using jet assist, I think of using it in situational bursts, not a constant need to run it. Thrust to assist in catching the wave, no thrust after I caught it and until after I am down the face, bottom turned or set up in the pocket, set my line, then thrust again as needed to stay ahead of the whitewater.

    But, we see here in the photos, thrust was on the whole time, no control of the board, it tracked out if control, and still did not have enough speed to outrace the whitewash.

    This incident should be suicide for WaveJet in the surf market.

  • Beat It, Kook!

    wavejet=KOOK BOARD
    I’ll pay your bus fare, gmac, if you just go home.

  • Jake

    write wavejet, i just did. told them how ashamed they should be of their product and that they should have gmac issue an apology to greg. immediately after requesting that I realized there was no use because gmac doesn’t know how to read or write…

  • leonardo

    Compadre Greg,
    Just get well quick.

  • Dino

    Why all this talk?

    In Waimea and Jaws this happens all the time and no one say anything! Inclusively all the big wave surfers support the sharing of waves!'ahi%20Ramepop-up.jpg

    I think the real problem was the safety suit/vest of Greg that did not work as it should!

    Garrett was on the same wave, fell and nothing bad happens!

    Both were sharing the ocean as brothers and as they wanted to!

    In my point of view, no one as the blame of what happened!

    Hope that Greg recover 100% for i’m to do the thing that he most love to do, as soon as possible!

    Garrett i know that what happened to Greg hurts your heart, but stay strong! Both will continue sharing the ocean as until now, as brothers!!!

  • Toni Silva

    People who rides big waves knows that it’s usual to share waves. Two, three or four surfers on the same wave is usual.

    I’m pretty sure that there wasn’t intention on Garrett’s move.
    You can’t judge someone personality if you don’t know him at all.

    Garrett as well as Greg are really watermen and an inspiration to us all. I’m sure that as soon as Greg returns to surf he will ride again with Garrett, conquering waves all over the World.

  • Buffalo

    With all the incentive for these guys to charge big waves…there will be consequences and the more money in it the more tragedies will occur

  • B Trouts

    There outta be a law against Kook Jetters polluting the ocean

  • ernie

    Glad your are here to tell your story

  • underground cave dweller

    garret is an asshole period. he’s been stuffing guys for years and it would be really sad to see the surf industry keep supporting this clown. he’s one of the worst people ever to surf with at sunset beach and now his lame actions of burning guys has caught up to him. i say everytime he is seen in the line-up, he gets dropped in on, everytime, so that he can feel what it’s like on the other side of it all. who really cares about his world record if he is a total ego maniac asshole with no regards for anyone but himself. and to set the record straight, his brother is an asshole too. the surf industry should not give this idiot any more airplay, and its pretty sad that they back somebody that has no reguard for other people. always hated garret, after seeing his antics in person at sunset beach. asshole. enough said.

  • Clevit Surfaluppagus

    Wavejets and inflation vests? Coasties are risking their lives for this?

  • North shore community

    Although I’m not a big fan of the wave jet out in huge surf, I just don’t get how people can be so judge mental about someone they probably don’t even know!!! Everyone that has surfed guaranteed has dropped in on someone at some point whether on accident or on purpose, judging someone’s character for a mistake here or there is just plain immature and pathetic!! Calling him a kook makes you sound like a kook!!! Greg himself said he does not blame Garrett so WTF is your problem, love to talk crap because you have nothing better to do. All those guys train hard and they look out for each other, the guys talking so much ,more than likely haven’t surfed big waves and therefore are ignorant to the facts. Progression happens and there will be trail and error but give the guy a break, everyone needs to make a living and yes this is his. Those of you who speak negative of him or even bringing his brother into it is ridiculous, do you realize what they do for the community? Shame on you!!!

  • DG

    Couldn’t agree more more with Underground cave dweller. I was raised on Oahu and the Garrett and Liam are the biggest pricks on the plannet. If they are in the water they are buring people. Of course Greg is going to be classy about it and not blame Garrett but people who have spent any significant time around that Gmaac prick will tell you the same thing. Total disreagrd for everyone but himself. Go get on your silly wavejet hunk of crap and motor far away from the rest of us who surf for the love of it and don’t want to be burned by you or anyone else in you family.