Andrew Cotton has been hurt in a wipeout Garret McNamara is calling one of the worst wipeouts ever. He is OK, being looked after and in good spirits but has broken his back. Get well soon!
After the wipeout, Cotty was stretchered from the beach and taken to the hospital. The damage: a broken back. From the ward, Cotty told Magicseaweed:
“I felt like I was floating for a few seconds. I thought, ‘whoa, that’s weird. This shouldn’t be happening.’ And then it was just like being hit by a lorry like, straight to my back. Then I think I landed on my back in the flats and then got mowed by the whitewater. 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 whitewater, again. Hugo came around again and got me.”
But that wasn’t the end of it. Another wave rolled in sideways, smashing into the jetski, and flipping it. After that, Cotty said he, “just…floated in.”
Cotty continued: “I’ve broken my L2 vertebrae, but it’s stable and it could be way worse. The guys on the beach and Hugo were so on it. Nazaré puts lifeguards on north beach now during big swells and they don’t have to do that. They got me out of the water, stabilized me, cut my suit off, just made it so much easier. They saved my back. I am super lucky.”
Diego Evaristo, who was filming a documentary on Garret McNamara’s return to big-wave surfing, captured the wipeout. Via Instagram, he wrote: “Probably the heaviest wipeout I have ever caught on camera. You’re a legend.”