Cornwall

Big wave surfer Tom Butler hit by tonnes of water

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Media captionCornwall surfer Tom Butler was crushed under tonnes of water

An international surfer has spoken about the moment he was hit by tonnes of water at a big wave competition in Portugal.

Tom Butler, 27, from Cornwall, was in a World Surf League event at Nazare when he fell on the 30ft (10m) wave.

He believes he was fortunate to only require hospital treatment for a split ear, bruised ribs and lung injury.

"I feel very grateful to not be hurt worse," he said, watching video footage of his fall.

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Butler was competing against the best big wave surfers from around the world earlier this month.

Ranked 37 in the world, he was "hit by a bit of chop" before he fell and was engulfed in water.

Image copyright Jack Butler
Image caption Tom Butler was treated for a split ear, bruised ribs and suspected lung injury

"A square cubic metre of water weighs a tonne, so anyone watching the video will see quite a few tonnes coming down on my head," he said.

"It knocked the wind out of me and tumbled me for some time, but I've been in that situation before when a big wave's landed on me.

"It's all about staying calm, quite relaxed and just trusting your training.

"I also wear a vest which inflates, which I can pull to bring myself up to the top."

Image copyright Jack Butler
Image caption Butler said he tumbled for some time after being crushed under tonnes of water
Image copyright World Surf League
Image caption "I feel very grateful to not be hurt worse," said Butler

Butler took part in a 22-week training programme during the summer to prepare for the big winter waves, so the fall has not put him off getting back on his board.

He added: "Big wave surfing is more about understanding your location, getting comfortable in huge waves and having the right logistics in places.

"It is more of a journey so that everything is set up and in place - and having the right team around you."

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