“One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my life is to try to stay focused on the present. You have ideas of what you’d like to be doing, but to think too much about it is kind of pointless.” – Greg Long
After Greg Long suffered a wipeout at Cortes Bank that nearly killed him in 2012, things changed. Long’s big-wave surfing career transformed from a fiery exclamation mark to a something of a question mark. When you puke blood from a wipeout that requires an emergency helicopter transport from Cortes Bank to San Diego, you begin to look at life differently, I imagine. At one point, he considered opening up a health food restaurant in San Clemente. Turns out he’s a really good cook. And like a few other icons of our sport, he keeps a close eye on his diet.
Just a few days ago, Greg Long was crowned the 2015/2016 Big Wave World Champion for the second time. Those who know Greg didn’t find it too surprising. Those who don’t know him probably weren’t surprised either. On live webcast in December, he paddled into a wave at Peahi that some are calling the biggest wave ever paddled, got destroyed, and bubbled up with a smile on his face. He would never call that wave the biggest wave ever paddled, though. We asked. That’s not his style.
“I had the incredible fortune of nearly losing my life three years ago, and for me that was the greatest blessing I ever could have been given,” says Greg.
And that’s the attitude that carries him through. That sets him apart. That makes him a hell of an interesting interview. Sometimes, to really appreciate life and the things you love, you’ve got to come a hair away from losing them all.