Andrew Cotton: a nearly fatal wipeout at Nazaré | Photo: Praia do Norte

Andrew Cotton suffered a serious back injury at Nazaré's Praia do Norte in Portugal.

Local surfers believe Nazaré fired some of the biggest waves of the decade, as side-shore winds and a powerful NW swell channeled energy into Praia do Norte's underwater canyon.

Waves in the 35-foot range worked like a magnet, and the lineup was quickly invaded by big wave surfers and their support teams.

Garrett McNamara, Maya Gabeira, Ross Clarke-Jones, Lucas Chumbo, Danilo Couto, Sebastian Steudtner, and António Silva were some of the athletes ready to take on the beast.

For Andrew Cotton, November 8, 2017, will be a day to remember, unfortunately for the worst reasons. The British surfer injured his back in a horrendous wipeout that sent him to the hospital bed.

"What can I say: I got a little excited 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 stabilize me and do a great spinal recovery," expressed Cotton.

Andrew took off on one of the biggest waves of the day, but the moving mountain didn't offer him an escape route, so the surfer was forced to pull the eject button as the lip crashed down on him.

"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 back after a "split-second decision" that left him with a "dodgy [L2] vertebrae, but no complications." The British daredevil plans to heal quickly and start rehab as soon as possible.

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