Andrew ‘Cotty’ Cotton talks surf with the Sharp’s winner at Nazare, in Portugal
Winners of a Sharp’s Brewery competition have joined the brewer’s surf ambassador, Andrew Cotton, for the surf experience of a lifetime.
The six winners were notified by the Sharp’s team to be ready to drop everything when the swell rolled in in early 2017.
In mid-February the surf forecast reported that a powerful swell was building up in the North Atlantic Ocean, having a huge impact on Nazare in Portugal — Europe’s most famous big wave spot. Sharp’s Big Wave Surf Adventure was on.
The winners’ travel and accommodation was booked and and the winners found themselves at the notorious Nazare lighthouse watching the biggest swell of the year, with 60ft waves crashing on to cliffs below.
Cotty, as Andrew is known, greeted the winners at the lighthouse and took them inside for an exclusive all-access tour, which included showing the group the boardroom. This is where previous big wave boards are now hung up and stories of their Nazare surfing history are told.
Ben Keverne, from Falmouth, was thrilled to win the competition and soaked up the excitement. He said: “I was desperate for a closer look. The walk down from the village square towards the iconic Nazare red lighthouse was a true spectacle, as the waves could be seen head-on battering the coast. Living the majority of my life in Cornwall I thought I had seen big waves, but these were nothing compared to what I was now experiencing.
“As we walked down towards the lighthouse a huge surprise awaited us as we were allowed entry inside. This, as I was about to find out, is the inner circle of the big wave surfing world. Cotty gave us a guided tour of the rooms. What struck me was the size of his board hung on display — it looked so utterly insignificant compared to the walls of water hammering down outside.”
“As we ascended to the top of the lighthouse, it felt like the coast was shuddering beneath as the waves relentlessly pounded below. Six mesmerising hours of wave watching felt like six minutes. It didn’t feel real and it was truly amazing.”
At the end of the day, the winners joined Cotty and other renowned big wave riders in warehouse, to discuss the day’s epic events. Later, over a Portuguese feast and beers, the winners chatted with Cotty as he shared stories of his training preparation, his big waves experiences, as well as fond days of surfing at his home break on the Devon coast.