If ever there were a monumental comeback story, this would be it.
“Injury has been a great opportunity for me,” Andrew Cotton told The Inertia on Thursday, acknowledging the two-year roller coaster he’s been riding at Nazaré. If you’ll remember, Cotton broke his back in Portugal in 2017. Returning to the same wave by the next big wave season in 2018 was nothing short of superhuman, but Nazaré bit once again, rupturing his ACL in 2018. “So it was almost two years of rehab.”
With Hurricane Epsilon pummeling Europe this week and some saying the storm might produce the biggest, cleanest waves we’ve ever seen surfed, Cotton found one that may have fulfilled predictions.
“BIGGEST WAVE EVER RIDDEN???” Garrett McNamara asked on a wave he towed Cotton into Thursday.
Both waves filmed by Antoine Chicoye are worth comparing to Rodrigo Koxa’s 83-foot World Record. The first is Cotty, fading right before being pushed onto a wide shoulder. Right behind him is Lucas Chianca “Chumbo” going left on a wave so big you can’t quite tell just where the bottom is, or just how far down the face he makes it before kicking out. Either way, the world is going to be looking at these two and studying them as potential new records. But regardless, Andrew Cotton’s full-circle at Nazaré is as great a hero’s journey as you’ll find.
“I guess it’s made me a bit more choosey on the bigger days, picking my moments and sticking to my goals,” he says. “And obviously not fading too much.”
Video courtesy of Antoine Chicoye.