THE YEAR’S WORST WIPEOUT
THIS is the moment when four storeys of foaming fury crashed on top of one of the world’s best big-wave surfers.
What happened next is almost unbearable to watch on the video replay as British surfer Andrew Cotton was engulfed and then spat high in the air before being swallowed by the monster wave again. It could well be the most brutal wipe-out ever at the famous behemoth break at Nazare in Porutgal.
“I pulled up over a lump,” Cotton, 36, said.
“I knew it wasn’t going to barrel or that I wasn’t going to outrun it, so I just hit the eject button and thought, f---, I gotta get outta of this.
“Then a whole world of pain happened.”
Cotton broke 12 vertebrae in his spinal column.
His wife, Katie Cotton, 41, was in Portugal with Andrew and their two children.
Cotton is a former plumber well known for riding some of the biggest waves ever at Nazare.
His description of what it felt like on impact was also captivating.
He said his first impression was he felt like he was floating.
“I thought, whoa, that’s weird, this shouldn’t be happening,” he said.
“And then it was just like being hit by a lorry, straight into my back.”
It’s gonna get me: Big-wave surfer Andrew Cotton moments before being dumped and breaking his back. Inset: Cotton in the nervous moments after the incident. Main Picture: Octavio Passos/Getty Images