Can Big-Wave Surfing Be Safe?

The New Yorker dives in

Greg Long, from last year's Mavericks Invitational, will surely be a contender in 2014. Photo: Ellis

Big-wave stalwart and spokesman Greg Long, safety not guaranteed. Photo: Ellis

If even those of us who are longtime surfers, but not big-wave hellions (me, certainly) are fascinated by how the heavywater crew can survive the beatings they take, imagine how amazed the general, non-surfing public must be. The New Yorker, of all publications,  are as befuddled as anybody, so they’ve waded into the developments surrounding big-wave surfing’s safety measures with a piece that looks at what the Dorians and Longs of this world are doing to make their charging a bit less death-defying. Turns out, some of the most respected big-wave surfers on earth have no patience for those who think flotation vests and jet ski rescue teams aren’t “core” enough.

From the piece:

“No one's doing anything in giant surf without flotation devices unless they're trying to act macho or something," said the machoest of them all, Laird Hamilton.

“I pushed it as hard as I could for fifteen years," Greg Long said. "But, eventually, there was that one wave that led to me nearly drowning, and had it not been for all the safety measures that were taken, I wouldn't be here today."

Read the article in its entirety at

See our take on safety in big-wave surfing here: In Harm’s Way, by Brad Melekian.