Baker Street Gerry Rafferty
9 November 2017, 14:54
The dramatic moment an expert surfer broke his back after being crushed by a 60ft wave has been caught on camera.
Andrew Cotton, 38, from Devon, was tackling the waves at surfing hotspot Nazare in Portugal when he was wiped out by the huge wave.
He is expected to make a full recovery despite fracturing his spine and being rushed to hospital in a neck brace.
Mr Cotton had travelled to Portugal for a surf retreat with friends in October, and decided to stay on for longer. He says he will return to the UK once he gets the go-ahead from doctors.
He fractured his L2 spinal disc in his lower back, but says he's "all right" despite being in "a bit of pain".
He told Sky News: "I won't need surgery but it will take lots of time to heal. I have a body brace which will help me to move around."
Luckily, the ordeal has not put him off surfing, as he admits he is "already thinking about getting back out there".
"I've definitely never had a back experience in the sea," he said.
The terrifying incident was captured on camera by a filmmaker who was making a documentary about record-breaking American surfer Garrett McNamara's return to big-wave surfing.
Mr Cotton soon posted the video of the huge wave to his Instagram account, which is followed by more than 29,000 users.
He wrote with the post: "What can I say, I got a little excited this morning and ended 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."
The traumatic crash has not deterred the surfer, who has vowed to get back in the water as soon as he is fit.
"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," he said.