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Beach Grit

Resolution: Leave the 100 ft wave alone!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Andrew Cotton is looking for it... or is he?

Does the dream of a man surfing a 100 ft wave thrill you to pieces or leave you cold and confused?

It leaves me cold and confused!

Oh I don’t mean to take anything away from brave souls combing nautical charts, calculating wind, fetch, ummmm Fletch, in order to find and conquer the biggest waves on earth but the number 100 just seems so arbitrary.

Like, do you remember when Garrett McNamara claimed that he had done it, done the 100 ft, at Nazaré in 2013 but it maybe turned out that it was 60 something? A little embarrassing.

It is impossible to really measure a wave. Isn’t it?

CNN just did a nice story on the fabulous surfer Andrew Cotton that pushes the 100 ft narrative but it seems that Mr. Cotton might not care so much about the number. Let’s read!

Andrew Cotton is on a perpetual quest, the thirst for which he admits will probably never be truly quenched.

Two years ago, the English plumber was fixing dripping taps — now, as a professional surfer, he is tackling the world’s biggest waves.

His obsession is twofold: To beat the unofficial record size of 100 feet high; and to track down treacherous waves in waters that have never been surfed before. Combining the two is the ideal.
“I think what drives me is the biggest wave,” Cotton says. “That’s the dream isn’t it, in a place where you’re not going to have 50 surfers? That’s exciting.”

If he breaks the record, and in uncharted waters … what next?

“The thing about big-wave surfing is that it’s not like you climb Everest and say, ‘That’s me done’,” he says. “There’s lots more Everests to climb; with surfing you have no idea when the bigger wave will come. I’m searching for the biggest wave, and that search is never ending.”

That sounds like the right attitude. It doesn’t really sound like he cares about “100 ft.” That’s CNN’s trip.