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 […]
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.
Your 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.
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