Exclusive interview with british big wave rider, Andrew Cotton, during his stay at Nazaré.
Big wave rider, plumber, adventurer. These are some of Andrew Cotton's main features, and this british surfer has made quite a name for himself with his performances in gigantic waves, such as the world famous Praia do Norte, Nazaré. We had a chance to make a couple of questions to this legend, and this is what he had to say.
Is Nazaré the most dangerous wave that you ever surfed? If so, why?
There's so many aspects which make it dangerous, not just the giant waves but also the fact there's no channel, no safe zone, random shifting peaks, the fact you need an experienced team, the list goes on. I'd say surfing the wave is the easy bit, it's all the rest that scares me.
Some big riders and some public opinion still talk about Nazaré, as a wave that doesn't totally break, a wave that some times is really fat, and a wave without a big wall in the outside, besides the dangerous inside. What do you think?
Yes, I can see this and from a single photo or video clip I'd understand what they mean but I'd also say to them they have to come and surf it for themselves. Once they've surfed Nazare I'm sure their opinions will change very fast, you just don't have to be a big wave surfer or tow surfer to surf Nazare well, you have to be a all round Waterman, it can humble the most accomplished surfer and I'd never take the place lightly.
What was the most dangerous moment of your life in the water?
I've had single wipeouts that have really hurt or maybe shaken me a little bit but to be honest I don't think I've ever had a terrible moment in the ocean, nothing to put me off. every time I leave Nazare I leave wanting more!
There are some big riders getting good money, like Laird Hamilton, Carlos Burle and Garret Macnamara, do you think big riders start to be more recognized by sponsors?
Big waves seem to have a more mainstream appeal but I've never surfed for money or to get rich, I'm a plumber by trade and if money was an motivation I would pursue that. The guys you've mentioned are all pioneers of big wave surfing, they've done what most big wave surfers dream of. Fair play to them.
Why did you choose to surf big waves?
Big waves were a natural progression for me, I enjoyed pushing myself in this path and the bigger the waves got the more I seemed to come into my own. Obviously as a grom I wanted to be the next Kelly Slater and entered all the UK comps but I don't think I ever made it past round 2!
How you prepare physical and mentally to surf big waves?
ental is very important, you have to want it, really want it. I also visualise the waves I want which I find really helps. as for physically. well that's a constant element I'm always working on, breath holding courses, yoga, gym sessions as well as surfing as much as possible.