Andrew Cotton British surfer breaks back in wipeout as 50ft wave crashes down on him.
Andrew Cotton fractured his back and was rushed to hospital after coming off his board while attempting to conquer notorious big-wave spot Nazare in Portugal.
Footage capture the Briton being swallowed by the swell before making a desperate dive as the whitewash engulfed him.
His spine had to be stabilised by quick-thinking lifeguard and he was rushed to hospital, but, staggeringly, Cotton is keen to get back in the water as soon as possible.
“Basically, if you go right and end up towards the headland it’s harder for skis to come and get you,” Cotton said.
“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.”
Recovering in hospital, he thanked his rescuers for saving his life.
“Thank you to all the lifeguards and crew on the beach who help(ed) stabilise 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.”