Big-wave surfer Greg Long nearly loses his life near San Clemente

All big-wave surfers know it can happen, but that’s no comfort when it does. Greg Long nearly lost his life riding 40-foot waves Friday. The location, Cortes Bank, a submerged island 100 miles off San Clemente, California, draws big-wave daredevils who know the spot can produce 100-foot waves when conditions are right. Long was among such a group riding the huge swell Friday when he was knocked down. He was pulled to safety and air lifted to a hospital with possible broken ribs and a punctured lung. But he will get to spend Christmas with his family at home after his near miss. It was “as close of a call as you can have,” Long told Surfer magazine. Take a look at some of the scary photos from that day below.

Garrett McNamara and Greg Long at Cortes Bank. Long was released from the hospital after taking a nasty spill on a similarly monstrous wave. Image by Greg Huglin

One wrong move on waves this size can quickly turn deadly. Image by Greg Huglin

Garrett McNamara, the current world record holder for largest wave surfed, riding the waves at Cortes Bank. Image by Greg Huglin

Shawn Dollar was also out at Cortes Bank on Friday. The waves were up to 40 feet on this day. Image by Greg Huglin

Danilo Couto rides this wave on a particularly dangerous day. Image by Greg Huglin

Ben Wilkinson out runs a wall of water. The heavy waves nearly claimed fellow surfer Greg Long that day. Image by Greg Huglin

Chapman Murphy looks tiny perched atop a giant wave. Image by Greg Huglin

Shawn Alladio of K38 Rescue was among those who helped to tow the surfers into these waves, and pulled one to safety when the need arose. Image by Greg Huglin