In 2013, Greg Long decided to try surfing Cortes Bank, one of the most dangerous surf spots in the entire world. 100 miles west of southern California, the waters here are often shallow, shark infested, and the weather can turn on you at any moment. But that didn't stop Greg from taking on the risk of open-water surfing this treacherous spot.
Unfortunately, luck was not on his side that day. The water that was suppose to be calm was thrashing every which way, and at one point another surfer fell into Greg's path, throwing him from his board. He tried to reach the top but was pushed down again and again by the waves each time. "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," Greg said of the terrifying experience.
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Luckily, an experienced rescue team that Greg had hand-picked specifically for the expedition was waiting nearby. They were able to get him to the rescue boat in time. Even though Greg's experience was pretty catastrophic, a lot of good actually came out of it. He realized that he wanted to use his influence as a pro-surfer to make a difference in the world, so he started working with a non-profit called Sustainable Surf.
A lot of surfing equipment like surfboards and wetsuits are made from toxic chemicals that contain polyurethane and polyester resin, which is hazardous to the environment. Sustainable Surf helped create the first algae based surfboard that uses algae oil instead of toxins. Greg wanted to work with them to show that sustainability and going green can be a part of surf culture. His accident helped him realize he can have a powerful influence over the future of surfing and the environmental impact it leaves on the world.
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Read more about Greg Long and Cortes Bank:
CBS News: Surfing industry takes sustainability for a ride
ESPN: Greg Long Survives Cortes