Big Wave Surfer Greg Long Pens a Poignant Ode to Late, Great Free Climber and Wingsuit Legend Dean Potter.
by Owen James Burke
Above: A harness-free Dean Potter slacklines over Yosemite. Photo via @gerglong.
Big wave surfer Greg Long and free climber Dean Potter may not have had much in common professionally, but if there’s one sentiment they both knew and shared, it was fear. With the passing of the 43-year-old maverick climber in Yosemite National Park over the weekend, Long composed a heartfelt tribute to the man who may have inspired him to continue his big wave pursuits after a close call left him questioning his lot in life:
Saddened to hear of the passing of extraordinary human and friend Dean Potter. I had the privilege of spending a few moments in time with Dean over the years through both mutual friends and sponsors. A few years back we shared a very profound conversation on the topics of fear, life, death, risk etc. I had recently nearly lost my life in a big wave surfing accident and expressed to him that I was contemplating walking away from riding big waves forever. He was actually one of the very first people I ever admitted this to. His response to my confession has stay ed with me forever, and was actually one of the significant turning points for me in deciding to continue my journey back into the ocean to riding big waves. He said, “We all have our callings in life, not that they can’t change, but I believe there are those that are simply ingrained into your being. You can try to turn your back and walk away on them, but In doing so, I think you would likely be presented with the biggest fear of all…The fear that you weren’t living out your greatest dreams”. I don’t climb, I don’t slackline, and I don’t fly, yet I still acknowledge Dean as being one of my heroes and greatest inspirations simply based on the way that he lived his life. Humble, respectful, and always seeking to explore and push the outer limits of human potential. Your actions in life know no boundaries and have the ability to affect even those who you may never come into contact with, so make them outstanding just like Dean did. Because “What the outstanding person does, others will try and do, and the standards that such people create will be followed by the world.” I know you’re climbing and flying more free than ever. Forever grateful and inspired. 🙏 #rememberdeanpotter
– Greg Long
Rest in Peace, Dean Potter and Graham Hunt.