Statement From Greg Long

Words from Greg Long about his wipeout while surfing the Apocalypse Swell at Cortes Bank

| posted on 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 21st.

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 onboard 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 onboard 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 whose training and precise response contributed to saving my life.

–Greg Long

  • Smithers

    Heavy. There’s only a small number of people on this planet who could survive an experience like that, a rare breed indeed. I respect Greg’s proffesionialism both in and out of the water.

  • Pavlo

    Wow. Super heavy. Without his training and the training of the people around he’d be gone. Great to hear he survived.

  • obvious form pix

    WTF is GMAC shoulder hopping a wave of consequence on a jet board for??Thankfully the most well spoken and representable “MAN” of the big wave cadre is still here to ride again. I call total foul on what I see and have yet to hear any consensus or jury verdict (unbiased as of yet). If said turd was not there, seems quite plausible that Greg cold use some of his right rail and make the wave. However, self inflated myopic white trash is obviously in way and most likely on wrong equipment for the job at hand. Somebody needs to head butt Garrett again!!

  • Mike Frew

    So heavy, glad you’re alright Greg.

  • Beachbum

    Geez bru, happy that you’re ok. Let it be known once again that we’re temporary passengers on this beautiful planet and waves. Peace and love for a happy Christmas.

  • JayShredray

    Chaos can happen and there are some things you just cannot prepare enough for… Mainly when you deal with that much turbulent white water & It can make you feel real small. You are lucky to be alive Greg!

  • Manntw

    Glad you made it out alive, hope you enjoy the upcoming holidays a little more with friends/family.

  • Ciaran

    Thank God you made it.

  • twon

    i wonder if garret mckook and his wavejet affected the potential line greg was going to take….

  • Daniel Brennan

    Really glad to hear Greg is well and recovering, surfing has already lost too many brothers this year. I have nothing but admiration and respect for the whole crew doing things the right way, being prepared, thinking ahead and pushing the limits of surfing. Can’t wait to see what the new year brings from surfers like Greg and others, Merry Christmas bru!

  • Carlos Muñoz

    I think Shane Dorian’s Big Wave Wetsuit should be used in big surf by everyone!

  • http://none Mike Balzer

    For anyone trying to “arm chair quarter back” after the fact on this please stay out of this. If you were not out there just observe and listen to people that were there. Someone extremely critical to the recovery of Greg Long was with the Rescue crew of Shawn Alladio. He is a certified EMT and his expertise in that area was central to helping Greg Long on site. In the moments of chaos when Greg needed Medical help certain people stepped up to the plate. Everyone that was there knows who those people are. How they should be acknowledged or thanked is up to the powers and egos that be. From what was written on Surfline it seems like some people think they had it dialed. When the shit hit the pan they did not. That is a fact. I will say that Mr. Hoover should be acknowledged and thanked for his help. Even though he was on a different boat and crew he freely stepped up and used every bit of his knowledge to assist in stabilizing Greg before he was airlifted by the Coast Guard. Be prepared for the worst that can happen in those waves. That is what the crew with Shawn Alladio did. Hopefully they will be acknowledged for their contribution in a time of need.

  • surfb4work

    Mike: Good comments about people not weighing in unless they know what they are talking about. That having been said, my sense is you are generally on it so maybe it was a typo, but FYI Shawn Alladio is a woman, not a “he.” She is in fact an amazing woman at that, and handles a ski and a rescue sled as well as anyone I’ve ever seen in action. You’d for sure want her around when it hits the fan. I was not there so my only knowledge is the video footage. I could be wrong (specifically because I was not there, and video can be deceiving), but the video appears to indicate that G Mac screwed up big time and owes G Long a HUGE apology. G Long is way too much of a gentleman to express that sentiment out loud, but I’d love to know the read by those who were there (Pete?, Rob?, Healy?, Shano?, Frank?…). Glad you’re OK Greg and Love & Aloha & Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  • Billy

    Garrett McNamara wins Kook of the year!!! What a tool! He should get 5 years in the big wave penalty box for causing this outrageous situation.

  • http://none Mike Balzer

    Please go back and read what I wrote “surfb4work”. The key words, “with the Rescue crew of Shawn Alladio”. I also mention him later, Mr. Hoover. I was on the same boat as Shawn Alladio and Mr. Hoover that were part of a stellar rescue team.

  • surfb4work

    Hi Mike: Got it and you are 100% spot on with what you said. That’s what I get for speed reading on Christmas Eve. My bad. Glad you were there and super glad for the likes of Shawn and her crew esp. Mr. Hoover — big kudos! Hope you had an awesome Christmas…Aloha!

  • http://yahoo Bob

    Glad you’re ok Greg

  • john

    A press release on yourself ?? What a kook.

  • No freaking way

    Yeah! WTF Gmac? You better keep that electric piece of shit off of my beach. You come showing up and will wax your windows, flat your tires and steal your battery charger for that squirt gun of a board you call a “wave jet”

    Wave jet my ass, more like piece of shit.

  • DQ

    So the biggest meathead decides he’s going to take off on his motorized board? Was he the only one? Does that ahole always drop in on guys paddling so deep in the wave? The eligibility for biggest wave for any big wave contest should DQ anybody who breaks the etiquette out in the water on any given day.

    Hey Garrett…next time go deep or go home. And take your boy toy with you.

  • info pls

    havnt heard re the Dorian Billabong air vest deploy or not and if not why – wear an air can

  • Sodak

    Don’t forget to thank the Tax Payers!

    Coast Guard doesn’t fund itself on donations.

  • charlie lee

    I hope Greg can still surf the Eddie Aikua. Pray for a speedy recovery!

  • jay adams

    thank GOD Greg was ready for what happened and all the other people that helped in the rescue.These guys are pushing what can be done and im sure GARRETT wasnt trying to burn Greg when they both ended up on the same wave.Its good both of these guys are taking it to another level GREG paddling and GARRETT on the new jet board.Would anyone be complaining if GARRETT would have paddled into the wave in front of GREG?people share waves all the time especially when its bigger and i bet these guys probably didn’t even think about the other guy until they both ended up on the same wave.Hard to say what really happened because i wasnt there and ive only seen the pic but i do know GARRETT and hes always one of the coolest guys ever.hes amped to surf big more than anyone i know.Im just stoked to see both of these guys riding waves nobody ever thought would be possible.Enough s-talking Greg handled it and is probably happier than anyone

  • Richard

    The wave jet = red-neck bone head riding machine! I cannot believe Cory Lopez would agree to ride it!

    G- Mac is not even a tenth of a ball hair from Greg Longs nut.

  • http://SurferMag. Rickey Lopez

    For all the comments I’ve heard, all I hear is Garret this and Garret that. I guess all you big wave masters that were not there know it all. If you read it right it was Garret that paid for all the EMT’s and extra help he could. With everything that’s going on out there he might not have seen him going on the same wave. It happens all the time, at MAV’s, Jaws, ect. ect. As for the jet board, look at the shot. It had nothing to do with the fall. I’m not anti or pro Garret but he did not do anything to hurt anyone out there. And for the guy that want’s to slash tires and break windows, your the last guy that belongs in a lineup. When you ride Bombs as big as Garret you might have a leg to stand on.

  • cleanSooke

    A truly humble guy, and someone to look up to.

  • komingbali

    legend. jus curious, can i ask how long before the hemoptysis stopped? what treatments did the docs give you for your lungs treatment/recuperation?

  • Linda Rae Mays

    Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so glad you’re O.K. Watching you all at Mavericks today! 🙂