Surfer Andrew Cotton survives fall on huge wave

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Media captionAndrew Cotton: "Having the opportunity to ride such big waves was amazing"

Surfer Andrew Cotton survived a fall on a huge wave caused by a storm which has hit the west coast of Europe.

Cotton, 34, from Braunton in Devon, was at Nazare, Portugal where he was filmed falling as the wave crest caught up with him.

He told BBC News the fall was "pretty bad", but he used a new inflatable vest and so "shot up" to the surface.

Conditions were said to be difficult with strong winds creating a bumpy surface.

"It was definitely bordering on unsurfable," said Cotton.

"It was a very intimidating, bumpy and far from perfect session. But it was another key learning experience for surfing giant waves, which is really important for me at this point."

'Love to surf'

Cotton was also recovering from an ankle injury sustained at another big wave session in Ireland.

He said: "When you're going that fast on a surfboard, even the small bumps can cause you problems and hinder your surfing potential."

Cotton surfed waves estimated at 30m (98ft) high at Nazare in October last year.

Judges from the Billabong XXL competition will decide in March if it was his biggest wave yet.

He said: "Luckily it's not my job to measure these waves - I just love to surf them.

"I leave that to the experts but I'm really looking forward to their call."

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