Stab Magazine | Free Money! (To Surf Big Waves), with Andrew Cotton

Free Money! (To Surf Big Waves), with Andrew Cotton

Remember that avalanche session at Nazare, in Portugal, last year? G-Mac chewed the biggest cheeseburger ever served (one million feet!) and Maya Gabeira drowned and was resuscitated on the sand by tow partner Carlos Burle. Even though Laird says waves at Nazare don’t count (since they don’t break top to bottom), Stab found the whole […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Remember that avalanche session at Nazare, in Portugal, last year? G-Mac chewed the biggest cheeseburger ever served (one million feet!) and Maya Gabeira drowned and was resuscitated on the sand by tow partner Carlos Burle. Even though Laird says waves at Nazare don’t count (since they don’t break top to bottom), Stab found the whole party exciting, and thought that Maya was looking hot, even in the hospital bed.

The UK’s Andrew Cotton was the gent who whipped G-Mac into what G-Mac’s PR reps called the biggest wave ever. But, Cotty also caught the second biggest wave of the year (technically, 61 feet). While his own Happy Meal missed much of the surf media, the mainstream UK media had found an instant, and massive, celeb.

Despite this, Cotty couldn’t find a sponsor, which is strange because he’s highly likeable. But Cotty wanted to keep chasing avalanches, and ride the biggest wave ever. So, like anyone living in the 20-teens with a dream and no money, he set up a Crowdfunder.

Cotty set a target of 10k pounds and ended on a total of 11.4k pounds – which is a great amount of free money to go surfing. We called him to discover the secret to making people give you money for free.

Interview by Craig Jarvis

Stab: Where in the world are you hoping to get that biggest wave?
Cotty: There’s a couple places in Europe where huge waves break when the conditions are right. It’s just being there when all the elements meet.

Cotty_InsetYour biggest wave was measured at 61 feet. The world’s biggest wave is 78 feet. What size waves do you hope to find? Wave height is always a strange one, especially when surfers are involved. I’ll call a wave four foot and my mate would say it’s two and his mate six! There must be better ways of measuring waves with real science behind it. Was my wave last year actually 61 feet? Because the wave buoys were double the size of the day G-Mac got his wave, which was measured at 78 feet. I just want to surf the biggest waves because it’s what I love to do and it’s my passion. Awards or records are just bonuses. The biggest wave thing is an objective, something to aim for which really helps me focus. There are loads of big wave surfers out there doing the same, I’m just on my own little mission.

Why did you set a figure of 10k pounds? Your mission will surely cost more than that. It’s free money! Why stop at 10? The amount is just a figure we came up with to continue Behind the Lines, which was a project we started last year to document my Euro big wave missions. I’ve been chasing big swells for years around Europe but never really had any budget to document them and create something great for people to watch. It’s amazing to have these opportunities and to share some of the exciting moments I experience.

What does your wife think about all of this? My wife Katie loves that I have drive and direction. It would be too easy to sit at home moaning to her about my day job. I’m trying to make things happen with my surfing and the whole family and local community are really supportive. Honey is seven and Ace is two. Honey’s headmistress at school is very supportive too and I get to chat to the kids about setting goals and following your dreams.

Are you surprised at the Crowdfunder response so far, or were you expecting more? The Crowdfunding thing was hard for me to get my head round but after looking into it I realised it was a good option. It’s not a charity – I have a project with a clear goal which people can support and receive rewards for doing so. I think the response has been mind blowing.

Peruse Cotty’s Crowdfunder right over here.


Regardless of Laird’s “It don’t count” vibes and Stab’s only half joking armchair ‘burger’ criticisms… Nazare at this size is fucking terrifying.


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

“Airlines Hate Me:” Bad Boy RyRy’s Guide To Surf Travel

Want to get pampered at the pointy end of the plane for free?

Aug 17, 2022


What Happens When You Borrow A Pro’s Board?

Joyride: The Shrizz from PANDA surfboards.

Aug 16, 2022


Mick Fanning Samples California’s Finest Local Produce

Mayhem at Lowers.

Aug 16, 2022

Mountains Died So You Could Surf

The value of sand.

Aug 15, 2022


UPDATE: People Are Still Surfing ‘La Jetee’ in Reunion Island

Returning to the best & sharkiest air wave in the world, as seen in Mod…

Aug 14, 2022

These Are Your Favorite (Female) Surfers

What the Stab reader survey teaches us about taste.

Aug 14, 2022


Kelly and Local Gal to Win Teahupo’o?

Local insights and a firing forecast.

Aug 13, 2022

These Are Your Favorite (Male) Surfers

Insights from the 2022 Stab Reader survey.

Aug 13, 2022


Fear And Loathing in Mainland Mex

Parker Coffin, Harry Roach, and the Roark crew embark on an authentic Oaxacan (surf) trip.

Aug 13, 2022

Tahiti Preview: The End Of The Road For 72% Of The CT

And hello there, blob of swell.

Aug 12, 2022


While Everyone Flocked To Tahiti, Kelly Stayed in Jbay

...And proceeded to rip the hell out of it on a "borrowed" 5-finned Tomo.

Aug 11, 2022


Can A GQ Cover Boy Take Out Teahupo’o?

Kauli Vaast is your incredibly handsome Tahiti trials winner.

Aug 11, 2022

Watch: Ramble On With Caity Simmers 

An action-rich tour behind the scenes of her triumphant first voyage to Oz.

Aug 11, 2022

PSA: Surf Filmers Not Welcome In Nicaragua

Cameras and drones are being seized on arrival, Stab spoke with two recent visitors.

Aug 11, 2022

Inside The Alternative Surfboard Marketing Machine 

Two of the biz's best — Matt Parker and Blake Peters — spill many beans.

Aug 10, 2022

The Tragic Parallels Between The Murder Of Ricardo Dos Santos & 8x World Jiu Jitsu Champion Leandro Lo

Two Brazilian sporting icons killed brazenly by off-duty police officers.

Aug 9, 2022

The Pick-Up, Vans US Open: In The Belly Of The Beast

Finger flips, shaping with Zion Wright, slurpees, Hawaiian takeovers, and the king of Surfline rewinds.

Aug 8, 2022

Albee Layer Discusses His Not-So-Budding Acting Career And The Upcoming Film “Sweet Adventure”

"Matt and Nora were tripping a little harder than I was just because they weren't…

Aug 8, 2022