Senior Editor

According to reports coming out of Portugal today, Andrew Cotton was injured and is alive and recovering in a hospital after taking a ridiculous spill at Nazaré. While riding a left, it looked as though Cotton tried to pull up into the barrel on his backhand before thinking better of it and ejecting. He then can be seen getting thrown out in front of the whitewater by the power of the wave.

Cotton was filming for a new documentary with Garrett McNamara when the wipeout occurred and broke bones in his back. He had to be stabilized on the beach after being rescued. “Basically, if you go right and end up towards the headland it’s harder for skis to come and get you,” Cotton told us. “If there is a set of waves following you can get washed in towards the cliff, which is really bad news. The lefts are usually longer, and in this wind, more hollow. I suppose I made the split-second decision to go left based on those factors. I knew I was deep, but that’s part of the fun of surfing Nazaré. You want to get deep to experience the wave properly.”

The video is terrifying. “We seldomly share footage while in production of a new doc but…this just happened today in Nazare,” wrote Pablo Garcia on his Instagram page. “While shooting GMAC’s return to big waves Cotty got the gnarliest wipeout we have ever seen! By the way, that is not the board flying through the air…Thankfully Cotty’s ok… He’s currently at the hospital recovering.”

The English charger is already talking recovery in the aftermath of this serious beatdown. “Thank you to all the lifeguards and crew on the beach who help(ed) stabilize me and do a great spinal recovery,” he said. “I can’t name everyone but you all did your bit to get me safely to the hospital.”

This article was updated with comment from Cotton. You can read his full account of the incident, here.

What can I say, I got a little excited this morning and ending up having possibly the worst wipeout impact wise of my life. Thank you to all the lifeguards and crew on the beach who help stabilise me and do a great spinal recovery, I can’t name everyone but you all did your bit to get me safely to the hospital . Obviously huge shout out to the team @mcnamara_s for the waves, @hugovau for rescue, company and laughs in the hospital and @polvo32 for the calls and friendship . I have broken my back but I’ve been really lucky, I’m already looking forward and focusing my energy to get fit and back out there on some more big rollers ! 🌊🙌🏽🇵🇹 • Footage comes from Wednesday while @go_dids was filming a documentary about @mcnamara_s’s return to big wave surfing, produced by @polikromia

A post shared by Andrew Cotton (@andrew_cotty) on

Video at the top of the page shot by @go_dids while filming for an upcoming project with Garrett McNamara


Only the best. We promise.


Join our community of contributors.