British surfer breaks vertebrae during horror wipeout on house-sized wave
British big-wave surfer Andrew Cotton is recovering in hospital after breaking his back in an incident off the coast of Portugal.
Surfing at the world-renowned Nazare break off Praia do Norte, Cotton was caught as a gigantic wave broke, or 'detonated', on top of him. The Englishman's body was thrown into the air and further down the face of the crashing wall of water.
Posting on Instagram the former plumber and lifeguard from Devon, wrote:
"What can I say, I got a little excited this morning and ending 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.
"Obviously huge shout out to the team: @mcnamara_s for the waves, @hugovau for rescue, company and laughs in the hospital and @polvo32 for the calls on the radio and friendship . 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!"
Cotton broke his his L2 vertebrae, located towards the lower end of the spinal column, but is now in a stable condition in hospital.
Learn more about Andrew Cotton's past surfing exploits in the video below