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The California Questionnaire: Greg Long

The California Questionnaire: Greg Long
Although he’s traveled the globe in search of big waves, this professional surfer will always call California home

California native Greg Long has carved out a name in the world of competitive big wave surfing by conquering the most challenging waves on the planet: He’s the only surfer to win the Red Bull Big Wave Africa competition, Mavericks Surf Contest, and the Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational. Despite being at the top of his game, 32-year-old Long has not lost sight of his California roots.

Born and raised in San Clemente, Long’s lifeguard father first introduced him and his brother to the ocean as young boys. Now, two decades into a decorated career that has taken him to the far corners of the globe, Long still feels most at home in the place where he originally learned how to ride the waves.

Where do you live? San Clemente, California.

Why there? It’s where I was born and raised and that’s where my family and closest friends live, so it will always be “home.” Also, there are consistent, quality waves year-round—which is hard to find.

Who or what is your greatest California love? I love California’s cultural and geographic diversity. One moment you’re surrounded by metropolitan suburbia and the next you can escape into some serene setting that feels like you’re thousands of miles away. You can have a morning adventure in the mountains and in a matter of an hour or two, be back down in the sun hanging at the beach. For outdoor enthusiasts, I don’t know if there’s anywhere else in the world where such a vast array of activities and environments are so accessible.

What is the biggest misperception about Californians? Sadly, I think a lot of “reality” television shows have given the world a very distorted idea of what life and people are like in California. Throughout my travels, I am regularly asked if that’s what people are really like here—especially in Southern California. I assure them that that does not represent the majority of Californians. We just don’t live that way…

What is the stereotype that most holds true? …but, in the same breath, I have to admit that there are certain places where you see the aforementioned negative qualities. So I guess there are nuggets of truth to some stereotypes!

What is your favourite Golden State splurge? Road-tripping through Central and Northern California and taking an extended detour hopping from winery to winery. I usually end up with a case of wine by the time I’ve made it through all the “detours.”

Time for a road trip—where are you going? From San Clemente, I head to San Francisco taking Highway 1 all the way to Big Sur. There’s great surfing, camping, and hiking all along the way. Then either take a pit stop in Tahoe on the way home, or circle up and around and come back down by way of the Eastern Sierras.

If you could decree an official state culinary experience, what would it be? It would be to spend all day at the beach working up an appetite, then dining at some local hole-in-the wall spot. I like a good Mexican place. Up and down the California coast, you can find these little gems right next to the beach.

Best California song? Any and everything from the Grateful Dead, while driving in the car, windows rolled down, volume up loud.

How would your California dream day unfold? Sunrise snowboarding followed by some late-morning fly-fishing and finished off with an evening sunset surf and a bonfire on the beach. Of course all the above shared with the closest of friends!

 

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Clif Bar Presents: Dream Day
Watch as four incredible athletes, Jeremy Jones, Hilaree O’Neill, Matt Hunter, and Greg Long, join forces to create the ultimate adventure in “Dream Day.”
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Huntington Beach by Scott Mansfield

Southern California

Discover Orange County

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11
March
Average (°C)
Mar - May
26°
High
5°
Low
June - Aug
35°
High
11°
Low
Sept - Nov
31°
High
5°
Low
Mar - May
26°
High
5°
Low

From board shorts to mouse ears to designer clothes, what you wear in this sun-splashed corner of the state says everything about how you like to play. Whether it’s surf-perfect beaches or celebrated theme parks, all framed by oceanfront towns dotted with luxury yachts, “The O.C.” stands out as one of California’s—make that the country’s—most iconic destinations.

“Surfing is like golf. . . it keeps knocking you down. But when you stay with it and catch that wave. . . magic.”  --actor Dennis Quaid

Shop at spectacular South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, or get the surfer look in Huntington Beach, aka Surf City, USA. 

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Mission San Juan Capistrano, founded in 1776, was the first winery in California.
The magic of Disneyland, walking through the tunnel underneath the train station to Main Street, it just transports you to other places and other times.
John Lasseter
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Trip 4-5 days 10 stops

Pacific Coast Highway - South

Beach Towns, Iconic Theme Parks
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Start your coastal cruise in this elegant city hugging the coastal mountains, where classic Spanish architecture gives the region a sun washed European look straight out of the Riviera. Santa Barbara, nicknamed 'the American Riviera,' has a burnished antique look like much of the Mediterranean,...

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End your trip with at this sunny, waterfront city. Downtown, shop at Horton Plaza, or catch a baseball game at Petco Park. See the giant pandas at the San Diego Zoo. Next, explore one of the city’s diverse neighbourhoods, Little Italy, North Park, South Park, East Village, pedestrian friendly...

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Unleash the kid within at California’s ultimate play lands

From Disneyland classics to beachfront carousels, the Golden State’s best-in-class theme parks deliver something for everyone, from tots and teens to film buffs and daredevils. Find out what is...

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Lucas Himovitz
Orange County is the cultural center of the surf world and Huntington Beach is like the heartbeat.
Corky Carroll (Orange County surf legend)
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Harriot Manley/Sunset Publishing

O.C. Shopping

Discover boutique brands and bargains

Shopping in The O.C. is almost as legendary as surfing. Start at expansive South Coast Plaza, California’s largest luxury shopping complex, with...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you are in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you will find it here. Want to sample fresh fruits and...

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Prayitno/Flickr
July/August

With a nickname like ‘Surf City, USA’, Huntington Beach is the obvious place for this 9-day, sun-and-wave extravaganza, the world’s largest surf event. Top pros including Kelly Slater and Rob...

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William Fovall/Flickr
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Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel

Orange County's Luxury Resorts

Live like a star at posh getaways

The good life might have been invented in ‘The O.C.’—especially when it comes to resort destinations. With spas, elegant dining, five-star...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Get into the coastal vibe

Maybe it’s the sun-streaked hair, the frequent smiles, the eyes always gazing west, looking to the horizon to see when the next set might roll in. It’s the unmistakable look and vibe of a...

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Trip 5-7 days 10 stops

Highway One Classic

Take the trip that captures the heart and soul of the Golden State
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Discover the awesome sports scene in the Golden State

With nearly twice as many professional teams as any other state, California is big league all the way. But the state’s sports scene goes far beyond football and baseball, with a diverse line-up of...

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Christina Lauren/Flickr
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Harriot Manley/Sunset Publishing

Crystal Cove State Park

Stroll a perfect beach with an intriguing past

In 1912, an early Laguna Beach artist described finding a rugged coastline “with cove after cove and headland after headland, golden cliffs and...

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From Gold Rush history to 8th wonders of the world, visit these favorites

If there was ever a box of chocolates—and all of them delicious—it’s the rich collection of natural treasures, fascinating...

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Amy Meredith/Flickr
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Golf in Orange County

Tee up at top courses, with some ocean views

With ideal Southern California weather and some of the country’s most celebrated courses, Orange County justly earns the nickname ‘California Golf...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Check these amazing experiences off your bucket list

Kiss a beluga, see cool movie props, and learn about Walt’s secret hideaway on exclusive and behind the scenes tours at California’s theme parks and attractions. Here’s a roundup of actvities...

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Photo by Michael Saechang/Flickr
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Courtesy of Orange County Great Park

Orange County Great Park

Explore an impressive urban park

Turning former military land into a roughly 1,300-acre green space, this Irvine park is as ambitious as it is beautiful. Though it...

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Every year, the Orange County Great Park Balloon dons a smiling jack-o-lantern mask, marking the unofficial start of fall in Orange County.
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Mitch Diamond/Getty Images

Irvine

This centrally located Orange County city is the perfect home base for shopping, dining, and kid-friendly exploring

Irvine’s central location—45 miles from Los Angeles, 85 from San Diego, and 15 minutes from ...