Big Wave Pro Surfer Greg Long Goes Green to Protect the Oceans

The world champion is leading a new wave of professional surfers embracing sustainability in their sport and in their lifestyles.
Apr 20, 2015·
Todd Woody is TakePart's editorial director, environment.

Pro surfer Greg Long has spent the past 16 years chasing big waves around the world, most famously riding an 80-foot monster off the Southern California coast and winning the biggest of the big wave competitions.

The San Clemente, California, native nearly drowned in a wipeout in late 2012. After taking a break from surfing, he returned to the waves and also began working with nonprofit Sustainable Surf in a campaign to persuade the industry to make more environmentally friendly surfboards. Long also wants surfers to adopt a “deep blue lifestyle” to cut their carbon footprints and protect the oceans.

“When you look at the basics of what it is boards have been made of in the past and how toxic the construction of each one really is, there are greener sustainable alternatives, and why aren’t we going to use them?” Long, 31, told TakePart recently, shortly after returning from a surf trip to Chile.

With championships and their livelihoods on the line, pro surfers have been particularly hesitant to embrace Ecoboards—surfboards made from recycled foam or wood and other nontoxic materials certified as sustainable.

But that is changing, and Long now rides Ecoboards.

“What’s amazing about the surf culture is just how people are embracing it,” he said. “More and more professional surfers are waking up, being educated, and jumping on board and realizing it's time change this lifestyle.”

Read more about the fight to save the world's oceans in our "Blue Planet" series.