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San Clemente-local and Waterman of the Year, Greg Long, is often referred to as “the best young big wave surfer on the planet.” Like the waves he surfs, his resume of accolades is equally as impressive: winner of the 2003 Red Bull Big Wave Africa, the second longest running big wave paddle event in the world; 2008 champion of the Mavericks Surf Contest; in 2008 he earned an official invitation to the most prestigious big wave event of all time, the Quiksilver Eddie Aikau, held at Waimea Bay Hawaii, and won the event in 2009. Long has become one of only two surfers in the world to be invited to all three major big wave paddle events. Long is also the winingest surfer at the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave awards, and has been featured in magazine publications such as Sports Illustrated, Outside, Men’s Fitness and numerous others, as well as newspapers and surf films across the globe. When he’s not tackling the world’s biggest waves, Long gives back to the community by giving motivational presentations to schools and community groups, as well as through his involvement in environmental organizations including Surfrider, Save the Waves, Wildcoast and The San Onofre Foundation.
“As arguably the leading figure in big-wave surfing today, it is an honor to recognize Greg Long as Waterman of the Year,” said Doug Palladini, SIMA President. “What Greg is doing to advance the sport of surfing is truly awe-inspiring, and he embodies the term ‘waterman’ to the fullest extent. We look forward to celebrating his accomplishments and contributions to our sport at the Waterman’s Ball.”
This award comes as part of SIMA's 2011 Waterman's Ball and annual Waterman's Weekend environmental fundraiser, which was held on Aug. 11th & 12th at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Beach. The event raises money for 20 ocean conservation organizations, and last year raised over $400,000. Among a host of notable characters, past honorees include Kelly Slater, Tom Curren, Rob Machado, Eddie Vedder, and Al Merrick.