Big wave surfing is a sport not many of us have the courage for. When the waves reach the heights of buildings, 20 feet or higher, you can start calling them big. British pro surfer Andrew Cotton knows all about it. He is one of the worlds most respected big wave surfers and has traveled the worlds most extraordinary surf spots. After trading his career as a plumber to becoming a pro surfer in 2013, surfing waves up to 70 ft high has become the norm. After breaking his back riding a 60ft wave in Nazaré, Portugal, he is back in the water.
We interviewed Andrew on how he got hooked and what it feels like to ride waves the size of small mountains.
Describe the moment when you got hooked into surfing?
Probably when I was about seven my dad took me surfing at Saunton Beach and he rented me a board and suit. I was hooked pretty much instantly.
You’ve surfed some of the biggest waves in the world. What thoughts run in your head when you are taking off on a huge wave?
Surfing big waves or being in the ocean when the waves are giant, you’re not really thinking about anything. You’re being in the moment. The only thing I’m thinking about is getting the biggest wave and surfing it the best I can possibly surf it. I think if you think about anything else it can lead to hesitation or lead to the concentration being lost.