Before the year was out we were lucky enough to catch up with local big wave surfer, Andrew Cotton during his training sessions out in Nazare.  We’d previously witnessed Cotty speaking at the inaugural Blue Earth Summit in Bristol in October of 2021 and were keen to find out more about what makes him tick.

Big thanks to Cotty for gifting us valuable big wave time to answer a few deep and meaningful questions. Heads up, he provides some great surf tips so read on dear wave riders, read on ……

A little Q&A With Mr Cotton 

1. What does the Ocean mean to you and what do you think about the health of the planet in general?

The Ocean is everything to me, I can’t imagine my life without it. It’s where I’m happiest and where I’ve made some of my best memories.  When you love something so much, it’s only natural that you want to protect it. Yes, like most people, I’m worried about the health of the planet but I also have hope that we can turn things around.  I believe that if we all do our bit and make the changes required, then we have it in our power to make things better. 

2. Why do you think events like the Blue Earth Summit are so important?

Events like The Blue Earth Summit bring awareness which inspires change.  It was great to learn about how these new businesses are going to help the environment.  Many people have a mindset that brands who are environmentally friendly are more expensive or inaccessible.  That’s just not the case anymore. Technologies are moving forward so that businesses can be even more successful whilst being environmentally conscious and increasingly available to all.  Just walking around the summit was super inspiring.

3. Did you find the Summit interesting and beneficial to your own outlook?

Absolutely! Listening to all those great speakers really makes you want to change and think outside-the-box. Years ago I had quite a few ideas for eco projects but the lockdowns put a dampener on them. The Blue Earth Summit jogged my memory and reignited that passion so I’m now re-exploring those projects.

4. How might you change your own lifestyle to be ‘greener’?

I’m already consciously avoiding single use plastics but now I’m also trying to work out some greener modes of transport. As a surfer we're generally more tuned into nature but on the flip side, I realise that I drive a jet ski, a car and I fly around the world looking for waves.  I’m definitely interested in finding alternative technologies and offsetting the effects of my travel.

5. Do you know if the surf industry as a whole is embracing the environmental movement?

Yes, I believe every surf brand wants to see change in this regard.  Whether it’s through the introduction of recycled clothing, eco packaging, ethical manufacturing and shipping processes, consumers are demanding change.  Certain surf brands are leading the way and it only takes those key names to make the initial big steps and the rest will follow pretty quickly.  

6. And what about changes in the surfing industry as a whole?

There’s been some great progress in making the sport accessible to all in the last few years, including those in inner cities.  Inland surfing destinations like The Wave in Bristol, which we know you are a great fan of, have proved a popular addition to the sport. The rise in popularity of adaptive surfing has also enabled many to take to the waves in recent years. Is big wave riding something that you would recommend for adaptive surfers?

Yes! It’s been great seeing adaptive surfing doing so well and the UK have got a really strong adaptive team. It’s always good to see an adaptive big wave surfer like Pegleg Bennett charging hard. I’ve also tow-surfed Derek Rabelo, a Brazilian big wave surfer who is blind. It’s insane to watch how he flows with the waves. He literally feels them and it’s truly the next level in pushing boundaries. It’s nuts watching him out there because it’s not just about the surfing, it’s also about the towing and the rescuing too  —- it’s super inspiring. I’m in complete awe of the man.

7. In regards to our surf students and instructors.  Could you give them any tips for success?

Like anything, the secret to surfing success is repetition. To be good at something, you must do it over and over again. It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you come from, how much money you have  … you just need to practice, practice, practice. 

Enjoyment is also key.  Don’t make it hard for yourself. Get some good basic lessons, a wet suit and a board that’s right for you.  You can’t cut corners with surfing, you just got to get out there and surf again and again.

8. What does it take to be a big wave surfer? Have you any advice to anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps.

You’ve just gotta love it to your core and that means you have to enjoy the worst moments too, including the massive wipeouts.

A key bit of advice for any surfer is to find a like minded mate to train and surf with, someone that will really push you. It’s so much easier to do these things in twos or threes because it motivates you to keep going.

Also safety is important … it’s all about the next wave, but you don’t want it to be the last, so always think safety!

If you’d like to find out more about Cotty’s big wave surfer story and his  public speaking events, please check into his website at  or follow him on insta @andrew_cotty, twitter @andrew_cotton  and fb @andrewcottonsurfer

For more information about The Blue Earth Summit 2022 go to