This winter has been one for the record books. With a massive El Nino producing swells of enormous proportions, big wave surfers have well and truly been getting their fill of waves that most normal surfers want no part of. Greg Long, however, is not a normal surfer. And he’s just been crowned the 2015/2016 Big Wave Tour Champion.
“The 2015/2016 winter season has been one for the record books,” said Greg. “There’s been record-breaking waves, more big swells, bigger barrels basically every single level of performance in big-wave surfing has just been shattered this year. For me, it is always an honor to be a part of that. It is a tremendous feeling being crowned the 2015/2016 WSL Big Wave World Tour Champion.”
Greg has had a stellar year. With his most recent third place at the Peahi Challenge–where he packed one of the biggest barrels of all time–and a second place at the Todos Santos Challenge back in January, Long cemented his position at the top of the podium for the year.
This is the 33-year-old’s second Big Wave Tour trophy. The first was back in 2012, the same year he nearly died. After the three wave hold down at Cortes Bank that drowned him, Long stepped back and questioned his motives for surfing big waves, then came back stronger than ever.
“To see Greg Long win another Big Wave Tour title is amazing,” said Peter Mel. “I was there at Cortes Bank when he experienced his near drowning. He could have easily stepped away from big wave riding at that time. To see him dedicate himself and overcome any negativity from the accident is an inspiration.”
Long is no stranger to big wave wins. Somewhere around the early 2000s, he stepped away from surfing regular sized waves–but only after he won the 2001 NSSAs. By 2003, he’d won at Dungeons in South Africa. In 2008, he took home the trophy at the Maverick’s event, and the next year, in 2009, he won perhaps the most prestigious event in surfing, The Eddie. He’s proven time and time again that he is one of the best big wave surfers the world has ever seen, and he’s not taking any of it for granted.
“It is the experience on the whole journey to these competitions,” he said. “These free surfs and everything in between really fill me up and make me acknowledge how lucky and special this life is.”