After nearly drowning while surfing Cortes Bank—a big-wave spot 100 miles west of San Diego—San Clemente, California-based surfer Greg Long was understandably ready to throw in the towel. During the incident, Long wiped out on a 25-foot wave, and the inflatable bladder in his wetsuit failed to deploy, allowing him to sink under a mountain of water. He managed to climb up his leash and was near the surface when a big-wave surfer’s worst nightmare became reality and he was held under by three more waves and blacked out. “As I was dangling from the basket of the Coast Guard helicopter, being lifted from the middle of the ocean in huge seas after basically drowning, I said to myself, 'There's no way. I'm done. Thank you for this second chance at life. I don't need big-wave surfing anymore,'" he told Nationalgeographic.com.
Yet less than a year later, Long found himself atop the podium as the winner of the 2012/2013 Big Wave World Tour—a series of contests held in 20-foot-plus surf at various locations around the globe. That comeback is one of the reasons Long has been nominated as one of National Geographic's "Adventurers of the Year."
And while some may question why he would continue his pursuit of riding the largest waves the world can throw at him, he certainly doesn't have a death wish. "I'm at a place where I just respect the process," he told National Geographic. "I'll find my way to where I'm meant to be in the big-wave surfing world.”
It is my humble opinion that Greg Long deserves to grace the pages of National Geographic for his heroic comeback, and the surfing community can make that happen by voting Greg as the "People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year." His life and quest to be the best bleeds adventure! It's easy to do, and you can vote every day until January 31.
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