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British plumber conquered the biggest WAVE ever surfed & 80FT wall of water off Portuguese coast

This is the terrifying moment a British surfer hurtled down what experts are calling the biggest wave ever conquered.
Father-of-two Andrew Cotton could only catch one wave over four hours at sea in perilous conditions.

But even as he plummeted 80ft towards the Portuguese shore, Mr Cotton, 34, panicked as he felt himself being sucked back up.

It was the first time the surfer called his wife to warn her of the conditions in his 10 years in the trade.

‘I’ve never ridden a wave like that,’ he said.

‘I was hurtling down it so fast, but I couldn’t get near the bottom. It was pushing me up all the time.
‘It makes you wonder how far we can push it, how high can you go?

‘It was scary. But you’re always in the hands of mother nature and that’s what’s exciting.’

Mr Cotton, who lives with his wife and children in Devon, flew out to the coastal town of Nazaré on Saturday night after his team heard news of a brewing storm.

Portugal’s so-called ‘natural wonder’ has a canyon beneath the beach which sparks colossal waves, attracting surfers from all over the world.

By Sunday morning, he was out in the water with dozens of people clustered on a nearby hill to watch.

Facing such gigantic waves requires surfers to enlist a little extra help to line themselves up to ride the huge expanse of water.

And so part-time pro-surfer, plumber and lifeguard Mr Cotton was carried by jet ski to catch the wave.

Towed in by fellow surfer Garrett McNamara, the current world-record holder for a 78ft wave, he admits the conditions were far from ideal.

He said: ‘The waves were not the best condition, and flying out to Portugal for one wave is not ideal. But that’s the chance you take.

‘I couldn’t have caught that one, though, without the whole team. So much goes into calculating the conditions and judging when to be towed out.

‘It’s a large-scale project.’

Staying at home with their six-year-old daughter, Honey, and son Ace, two, Mr Cotton’s wife, Katie, was nervous this time.

Mrs Cotton, 37, a singer and singing teacher, told MailOnline: ‘He never says he’s nervous about a wave or the height, but this time he called me saying it was looking dangerous.

‘He just deals with it. I don’t know how I deal with it – I just wait for his phone call afterwards. As long as I’m sure that’s coming then it’s fine.

‘It’s what he loves doing and trains so hard at so it would be wrong not to be happy that he’s managing to surf these waves.’

Footage of the spine-tingling surf has now been submitted to Billabong for judging, and within hours Mr Cotton got the call to say he’d been nominated.

The final shortlist will be announced in May after an expert judging panel have given the video and images a closer examination.

Mr Cotton, who has been nominated for the accolade four times, said: ‘To me, it felt like something I’ve never even seen before.

‘It is exciting to think that this is a wave surfers wouldn’t have dreamed of surfing ten years ago. What will it be like in another ten?

‘I thought I’d reached the biggest three months ago – I never thought it beat that so soon.

‘I am so lucky to be able to do this. It’s not like skiing – if you find the biggest mountain, that’s it. Waves are always changing and surfers can never know what’s coming.’

He is now on the hunt for a sponsor, and collaborating with Epic TV on a documentary about the awe-inspiring waves in Nazaré.

Every year, short films are made about the town, which are then screened in cinemas across the country.

Mr Cotton is hoping this piece, featuring more shocking footage than ever before, will be more widespread across the UK this year.

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