One year on after he nearly drowned at Cortes Bank, big wave chaser Greg Long returned to the Southern Californian big wave line-up on a solo mission to surf the wave that nearly cost him his life and face his deepest fears.

Despite taking extreme precaution and surfing alongside other big wave greats Shane Dorian, Grant Baker and Ian Walsh (each with a personalised jetski at hand for added water security, the accident happened last year when Greg Long took off too deep on the second wave of a 5-wave set and got mowed down for a three wave hold-down (some argue he was forced to straighten out due to Garrett McNamara taking off inside him).

Having taken time out to reflect on the incident and evaluate whether he wanted to continue chasing the world's biggest waves, Greg Long decided to return to Cortes the following day to this year's Mavericks Invitational. Located 180 km off the coast, Cortes Bank welcomed the defending big wave champ back with glorious glassy 25ft conditions and not a soul out.

The solo mission is set to feature as part of a new film production called 'Hell and High Water', a documentary put together by Paul Taublieb and Sam George for ESPN exposing the reality of big wave surfing. Shane Dorian, Twiggy Baker, Mark Healey and Ryan Hipwood are some of the other big wave chargers also set to star in the film, which is due to be released in the autumn of 2014.