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O.C. big-wave surfer airlifted to hospital after wipeout

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

San Clemente surfer Greg Long took a beating down at Cortes Bank late Friday afternoon, a wipeout so bad that he needed to be airlifted by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter to UCSD Medical Center in San Diego, according to Billabong big-wave spokesman Bill Sharp.

Sharp posted an update on the Billabong XXL Facebook page, letting fans know that Long – one of the best big-wave surfers in the world – is doing OK and has been released from the hospital.

"He got pounded after taking off deep behind another surfer on a big one, and ultimately suffered a three-wave hold-down, blacking out near the end," the update reads.

Surfers DK Walsh and Frank Quirarte were on skis nearby and pulled Long out of the water.

"He was coughing out blood and foam for some time, but did not break any ribs or suffer an impact, just the massive hold-down," Sharp wrote, noting that Long is resting at home and recovering from the incident. "And he wanted you to know the waves were REALLY good."

Long is no stranger to the dangers of big-wave surfing, and is one of the most accomplished surfers in the world at taking on massive waves.

Long won one of the most prestigious big-wave contests, the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau, in 2009. He's racked up more wins than anyone else at the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards, and last year was named the SIMA Waterman of the Year. He's also no stranger to injury from big waves, suffering a busted eardrum in 2008 during a wipeout at Mavericks in Northern California.

He recently starred in the movie "Chasing Mavericks," where actor Gerard Butler suffered a three-wave hold down and had to be taken to the hospital.

Contact the writer: lconnelly@ocregister.com


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