How big is the perfect wave?

It’s a question that every surfer will have a different answer to, some will claim double overhead is  the perfect swell, others will say smaller. Some however, see their waves a little differently, dreaming of not a six or eight foot swell, but a 60ft one.

Andrew Cotton is one of these people. The North Devon based surfer is best known within the surfing industry as one of the only humans alive to have surfed a wave over 60ft and his accomplishments in Ireland, Portugal and further afield, are etched into the minds of all budding big wave surfers.

The waves that Andrew surfs look dangerous from afar, but seeing them in person is a totally different ball game. There’s nothing likes seeing someone take on a monster wave in person, to really understand the fearlessness of big wave surfing.

This Autumn, you could join Andrew on his travels and do exactly that.

Teaming up with the awesome Sharp’s Brewery, Andrew is going to whisk six lucky people and their friends away for two nights to Mullaghmore, Ireland or Nazare, Portugal to watch an XXL session and see the world’s craziest surfers take on the biggest waves in the world.

We caught up with Andrew to find out more about this awesome trip, as well as have a chat about the best things on the planet; surfing the world’s biggest waves, looking after the ocean and of course, beer.

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"I wanted to work on this trip with Sharp's as its great that a brand wants to get so involved with surfing and adventure in this way" says Andrew. "What other brand would put a such a big emphasis into making adventures and pushing these kind of sports in such a big way?"

Andrew and six winners, with a guest each, will embark on his next adventure to conquer the world’s biggest waves.

The two-night, all expenses-paid trip will put you at the heart of the adventure and offer a first-hand look into the life of a fearless big wave surfer, as Cotty and his team prepare to take on the elements.

"Just the same as how I don't know where I'm going until we know where the waves are going to be, the winner of the competition will have to be ready to fly out at the the last minute to a surf spot with me as the surf report comes in."

"We're not just looking for experienced surfers either. It doesn't matter if you're a great surfer, if you've only been out a few times or if you're a total beginner that just loves the sport, everyone has an equal chance to be chosen. While we're not going to be sending you out on a jet ski at Nazare, we will aim to get in the water at some point over the two days and have a surf!"

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With the trip and the XXL tour coming soon, how much does a big wave surfer have to think about their training and diet?

“Surfing doesn’t feel like training" says Andrew, as we chat about his preparation for the upcoming season.

“When I go to a gym, or do weight training, that feels like work, surfing is just what I do. As far as nutrition goes, it's really just about balance, I don't have a crazy diet plan to stick to, it's all about eating well consistently, knowing your body and what fitness level you need to be all year round."

"It’s important to get out there with a jet ski and get on the waves."

"When I'm on the tour and people around me are eating well, that makes it easier to eat well myself, some of the guys I've been surfing with eat amazingly. If I'm on the road and there's a lot of travel food around however, lets just say that makes it harder."

With no big waves to surf in North Devon however, it must be a culture shock to both the body and the mind to get on a big wave after a break, so do the waves look bigger when you’ve spent some time on the South West coast?"

“Absolutely, it's all relative to what you're used to. I still see waves coming up and feel the fear just like everyone else does."

“I try and get out and surf big waves whenever the opportunity comes up, whether it’s in Ireland, Portugal or elsewhere, we’ve been surfing in Fiji recently, it’s important to get out there with a jet ski and get on the waves."

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As well as creating awesome adventures together, Andrew and Sharp's having another important interest in common and that is the ocean itself.

"Every surfer should be interested in ocean conservation and protecting the sea" says Andrew. "It's our place of work."

"Awareness around looking after beaches and litter is growing and that's great, people need to understand the effect that their litter has. It's not just the wrapper left on the beach, it's the one that's dropped down the road that still works its way and ends up in the ocean."

As a Cornwall brand, Sharp's have the ocean at their heart and are putting their profits towards creating more Blue Flag beaches in the UK. These flags are a mark of the highest quality of water, facilities, safety, environmental education and management, and show that a beach is being properly cared for.

Five pence from every pint of the award winning Sharp’s Rising Tide, Sea Mist, Point Break, Perfect storm and Doom Bar Reserve beers, go towards creating blue flag beaches, with 16,000 of profits aimed towards that in 2015.

"It's nice when you're in London or a city to drink a pint that's still connected to the coast and the surfing community, especially when you know you're giving something back to the ocean."

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Beer, big waves and a love of the ocean are a mix that we're more than on board with.

Do you think that a life of waves, surfing and the coast sounds like perfection? Make sure you're in with the chance to be on this season's adventure.

Travel the world, see the world's biggest waves and see strength, energy and the spirit of adventure firsthand. This might just be the greatest competition in the world....

Simply head to Sharp's website and fill out your details to be entered into the competition.

We've got our fingers crossed for you!