Big Wave Legend - Interview with Andrew Cotton

Blog - Big Wave Legend - Interview with Andrew Cotton

Big Wave Legend - Interview with Andrew Cotton

4 minute(s) de lecture

It’s been a rollercoaster few years for big wave legend and dryrobe® Ambassador, Andrew Cotton. After breaking his back in 2017 at Nazaré, ‘Cotty’ returned in almost super-human fashion to surf the epic swell there again within a year. Last year, after the first lockdown ended, he headed back to Portugal for the big wave season and rode what could be the wave of his life.

We checked in with Cotty to see how his 2020 went down and what’s in store for the year ahead...

Andrew cotton wearing his camo dryrobe in Nazare, Portugal 2021

Where in the world are you right now?
In Lisbon about to go to the Malo clinic dentist!

2020 was a challenging year for everyone. How did you cope with lockdown and has the pandemic changed your plans for this year and beyond?
I usually spend a lot of the year on the road, either surfing, working on projects, talks etc. all of which was pretty much cancelled. Being at home with the family was amazing for me, loads of quality time outdoors. Obviously, it had its challenges and worries financially, but overall it was really positive.


Photo courtesy of Sergio Castro (

(Photo courtesy of Sergio Castro)

Back in October, you surfed what might be the largest wave ever! When did you realise that there was going to be an epic swell coming into Nazaré and what was it like to ride that wave?
You usually start following those swells a week out. Most look amazing and slowly get worse as they come closer, either the wind goes onshore or the size downgrades, but the ‘Epsilon’ swell did exactly the opposite, it just got bigger and better! I was sort of in denial to be honest, having a swell that big right at the start of the season I felt like I just wasn’t quite ready! The whole day was pretty insane, some of the biggest, craziest rides I’ve ever witnessed.


What goes through your mind when surfing huge waves? Are you purely focused on the wave or do you ever go into such a zen-like state and end up thinking about what's for dinner?
Haha, you’re definitely focused but it’s also pretty zen, it’s a form of meditation!

How has your approach to big wave surfing changed over the years?
Yeah, it has to really. You can’t keep taking the knocks and hits and just keep going as you get older. I tend to choose my times wisely, don’t take the risks like I probably used to. I’m focusing more on making waves rather than getting to the bottom of the biggest wave I can possibly find or deepest I can be.

Before getting in water do you have any pre-surf rituals that other people might consider odd?
Not really, just try and stretch more. Mainly focusing on keeping my back nice and mobile.

What are you looking forward to most in 2021?
The movie project Savage Waters which I’ve been working on for the past four years with Mikey Corker and the Knight family will finally be coming out. It’s been a huge project with some amazing highs, but also some pretty huge lows. It’s great to finally wrap it up.

Your #topsoff selfies are taking Instagram by storm! When can we expect the 'Andrew Cotton: Tops Off' calendar to be hitting the shops?
Haha, I’ve still got a way to go but I believe my trainer Andrew Blake already has one available!

Andrew Cotton wearing his GoPro dryrobe

What is the strangest thing you used your dryrobe® for?
Wow, I have to think! Nothing too strange, it’s been used many times as a sleeping bag and also doubled as a surfboard cover before.

How would you sum up your year in 3 words?
Accept, surrender, embrace.

Follow Cotty
Instagram: @andrew_cotty
Facebook: Andrew Cotton
Twitter: @andrew_cotton
YouTube: Andrew Cotton Surfer