On Friday, December 21, big-wave surfer Greg Long suffered a wipeout on a giant wave at Cortes Bank. In the aftermath, he fought through a three-wave hold down before losing consciousness in the water. A detailed report from ESPN described the full incident on December 24. Here is part of their account:
Long—a repeat Billabong XXL winner who's also taken the Maverick's
contest—was forced off his board when fellow surfer Garrett McNamara
unknowingly dropped in on him, blocking Long's line and causing both
men to tumble into the deep. The massive wave the pair paddled into
(about 25 feet, according to on-location photographer Frank Quirarte)
pinned Long down through a rapid series of bombs and knocked the wind
out of him, preventing him from catching his breath whenever he managed
to break through the wash.
Here's a short video that might influence how you spend some of your time: 70-year-old Spaniard Juan Giriber recounting his first drop into a tube. The clip is a teaser for The Old, The Young, and The Sea, a documentary about a filmmaking team's 16-week journey along the European coast in two VW buses looking for characters who ride waves and protect the ocean.
It's unlikely that Robert Frost could have imagined such a choice when he wrote "The Road Not Taken," but in 2012 slackliner Andy Lewis was at a crossroads. You may remember Lewis from Madonna's Super Bowl halftime show. He was dressed in a white toga adorned with a gold leaf sash, a gold necklace, a gold bracelet, and gold boots. He wore his hair in a sandy blonde afro that barely bounced as he flipped, jumped, and twisted on a slackline, a sport called tricklining. After the performance, articles rolled out proclaiming that Lewis had stolen the show. Soon after, Madonna offered him a spot on her tour, Lewis said.
Andy Lewis' Colorado and Utah friends evaluate his Super Bowl performance.
Planting bulrush in Bayou Sauvage. Photo: Joe Spring
It's been seven years since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, killing more than 1,800 people and leaving molding shambles in its wake. New Orleans is still recovering, in some places more than others. This past May, more
than a dozen employees from the New York City Parks Department used a week of
their vacation time to help the city rebuild. —Friday, May 11, 2012, Lower Ninth Ward
“THIS IS WHERE YOU are,” Tom Pepper said to a roomful of
roughly 20 volunteers.
Pepper is the director of Common Ground Relief, a non-profit
perched near the levee’s edge of the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans. He held up a book titled The Great Deluge,
and pointed at a two-story white house on the cover. The yards around it were flooded with water. A deep olive sea reflected second-story
windows and the crowns of trees. A burgundy barge floated amidst the ruins. A
few hundred feet away, where the wall of the Industrial Canalshould have been, whitewater rushed into
The volunteers stood around Pepper in the living room of
the house, which is now purple. Common Ground Relief gutted, rebuilt, and painted
the house after the storm. The color helped it fit in, at least a little, with
the surrounding 70-plusfunky, pastel, acutely-angled homes built by Brad Pitt’s Make It Right foundation.
Pepper continued. On August 29, Hurricane Katrina’s
eye hovered 25 to 30 miles east of here and sent a 25-foot high tidal surge up
the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, whose fixed banks funneled the water toward
the city and into the Industrial Canal. Tulane University geographer Richard
Campanella described the incident. The water in the canal rose 14 feet above normal levels.
Pressure built, and shortly after 7 a.m., two giant sections of the wall
collapsed. All that saltwater, and then that barge, poured into a neighborhood
that is four feet below sea level in some places.
Cameras focused on the barge, but the water knocked down
walls, splintered homes, and drowned people. Some people climbed onto roofs. The water sat, turning into a toxic soup, held still in the bowl of a city. More than a week later, over 60 percent of the city was still
flooded. Many of the people who climbed onto roofs were saved, albeit with memories
of their neighbors dying.
Still, people wanted to come back. Even though the Lower
Ninth Ward had
a high crime rate, was below sea level, and was surrounded on three sides
by water, it also had a
much higher rate of home ownership than the city as a whole. An estimated 20,000 people lived in
the neighborhood before the storm. The area has been slow to recover. Pepper said the deluge destroyed more than
4,000 homes. A New York Times Magazine story published this past spring described
sections of the neighborhood as a jungle, returning to nature. Roughly 5,500
people live here now.
Common Ground Relief is trying to create a welcoming environment
for the people who want to return. Pepper said they have gutted more than 3,000
homes in the city and rebuilt more than 130 in the Lower Ninth Ward. The
organization also teaches families to build raised gardens so they can grow
vegetables in toxin-free soil, runs a legal clinic that offers free advice to
lower income residents, and replants marsh grasses to help build a natural
buffer around the city. They've done all this by relying on a rag tag army of roughly
40,000 volunteers. Today’s volunteers include 14 people from the New York City
Parks Department, who plan to wade through waist-deep water in a bayou filled
with bugs, snakes, and, they’ve heard, alligators—all to plant a few blades
This week on Adventure Lab, we've featured dispatches on shark attacks, shark science, and shark conservation. Attitudes toward the marine predators have come a long way since 1934, when filmmakers recorded a shark being caught by a Goodyear Tires blimp near Fisher Island, Florida. The animal was dragged over the surface of the water at high speeds before being lifted high into the air and then hung up on land next to a man in a suit and tie who presumably "reeled" it in. Smithsonian grabbed the clip from the archives at Critical Past, and this week announced it was the most popular video on their site in 2012.