In 2011 Andrew and his tow-in partner Garrett McNamara put Portugal’s Nazaré on the map when Andrew towed Garrett into a wave so huge it landed him the world record. Since then Andrew has produced a series of rides on Nazaré that show you what it might look like to ride into the abyss.
But despite being nearly 50 years and 70ft on from Greg Noll’s pioneering 30ft ride in the storm waters of Makaha, talking to Andrew makes you think we might still be seeing the equivalent of the first ascents put up across Europe’s mountains by guys dressed in morning suits and tweed jackets.
The era of being a big wave surfer and explorer is really in its infancy, because while mountains are easy to see, big waves are easy to miss. Although many of the giants have been mapped, studied, and surfed to death, there are waves out there that the world doesn’t even know about, waiting to be discovered, feared and loved.
And if you ever go looking for one of them, you might just bump into Andrew, already out the back on his board.
Image: Andrew Cotton during the Big Sunday at Nazaré, by Pedro Miranda