On Wednesday, GrindTV reported that British big-wave surfer Andrew Cotton suffered a broken back during a brutal wipeout at Nazaré in Portugal. With other surfers and lifeguards acting quickly and effectively, Cotton’s spine was stabilized and he is in good condition in the hospital.
Cotton told Magicseaweed Thursday that his L2 vertebrae near the bottom of his spine is broken and he cannot move, but it is stable and they are eventually going to set him up with a chest strap so he can walk.
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 ! Footage comes from Wednesday while @go_dids was filming a documentary about @mcnamara_s's return to big wave surfing, produced by @polikromia
The 36-year-old surfer described the detonating wipeout in detail to Magicseaweed:
“I pulled up over a lump. I knew it wasn’t going to barrel or that I wasn’t going to out run it, so I just hit the eject button and thought, f—k, I gotta get out of this. Then a whole world of pain happened. It was just like being hit by a lorry, straight to my back. I think I landed on my back in the flats and then got mowed by the white water. Obviously pulled my vest and Hugo [Vau] came to get me. But I missed the sled, I was in so much pain, I couldn’t move. Went through the white water, again. Hugo came around again and got me.”
Cotton expects to make a full, speedy recovery, and he also thanked Hugo, Garrett McNamara and the Nazaré lifeguards for their quick reactions and for saving his back. Hopefully he’ll start walking again and be out in the lineup soon.
@andrew_cotty on the most brutal wipeout we've ever seen at Nazare: "I pulled up over a lump. I knew it wasn't going to barrel or that I wasn't going to out run it, so I just hit the eject button and thought, fuck, I gotta get out of this. Then a whole world of pain happened." This is the wave that took the charger down by our man on the front line @helio_antonio Full story, link in bio.
More about big-wave surfing from GrindTV