| Get surf report

Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa
andrew-cotton-1200-th

Mon, 13 November 2017

Moments after this photo of British surfer Andrew Cotton surfing Nazare in Portugal was taken on Wednesday, the wave broke on his head and broke his back. Here's how it happened.


andrew-cotton-rbcp

SECONDS FROM DISASTER: Andrew Cotton starts to pull up the face. Photo Red Bull Content Pool


Dramatic footage captured the never-ending takeoff - common to Praia de Norte when the wave takes forever to break but when it does it pitches like in a nightmare running from the monster but its catching up with you and suddenly kaboom! - in which Cotton is pitched in the air like a rag doll.

He catapults into the sea and then gets owned by a mountainous mass of white water that swallows him whole. He gets spat out, but is rescued by other surfers and a team of lifeguards, before he is immobilised and taken by ambulance to hospital where it looks like he is going to be okay.

Guys back home like Stefan Dreyer, who bust his back at Donkey Bay last year, and James Taylor, who also had a close call with permanent paralysis at Dunes near Cape Town in 2010, will no doubt have had an involuntary shiver or two at the news.

"I pulled up over a lump. I knew it wasn't going to barrel or that I wasn't going to outrun it, so I just hit the eject button and thought, fuck, I gotta get out of this," Cotton told Magic Seaweed from his Portuguese hospital bed. "Then a whole world of pain happened (bust the L2 vertebra of his lower back). "Feeling pretty sore," he added.

He had this to say on Instagram:

@andrew_cotty
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 helped 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 on the radio 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 ! ??????????

Add comment

Please don't say anything you would not say to a real person, and please use your real name.


Security code
Refresh

Joomla SEF URLs by Artio

Wavescape on Twitter

Wavescape
Fri Jun 22 13:46:34 +0000 2018

Cape Peninsula -- // Fantastic run of big swell ahead, with Friday giant 20ft+ on the bommies in moderate NW winds.… https://t.co/dYUDF53dMu
Wavescape
Tue Jun 19 13:30:28 +0000 2018

Desmond And The Tutus, Shadowclub, aKing and other big acts are going to be rocking the JBay Winterfest during the… https://t.co/ZFEdXg77fz
Wavescape
Tue Jun 19 10:45:22 +0000 2018

History will be made in Port Elizabeth this weekend with the news that the women's event has been upped to a QS3,00… https://t.co/EAiSW3WcPf
Wavescape
Tue Jun 19 08:53:39 +0000 2018

Former world bodyboarding champ Andre Botha dodges a bullet in firing Namibia a few days ago, with the other guy a… https://t.co/FCE6EufHNk
Wavescape
Mon Jun 18 13:18:34 +0000 2018

The Cape of Storms lived up to her tumultous title when she offered every element of winter at the Jordy Smith even… https://t.co/Q2vbU3mDQS
Wavescape
Mon Jun 18 12:45:32 +0000 2018

Australian surfer Jordan Lawler says South Africans are so nice, they helped him win the men's division of the Jord… https://t.co/OJflMFNRLq
Follow Wavescape on Twitter

Wavescape friends and partners Isiqalo Foundation DIFF CSIR Isiqalo Foundation Surfing  South Africa Save Our Seas Shark Centre Isiqalo Foundation Red Bull Media House DIFF National Sea Rescue Institute Shark Spotters ASP Africa