We’ve teamed up with Jeep, who are celebrating their 75th anniversary this year, to shine a spotlight on some of the ultimate renegades from the world of action sports – past, present and future. As a Jeep Brand Ambassador, Andrew Cotton is undoubtedly one of these – a surfer who grew up on the beach breaks of the South West, but quickly began looking further afield for new waves to ride. In this exclusive interview, he talks about that journey, and how a boy from a small coastal village in North Devon grew up to be one of the only surfers alive to ride a wave over 60ft
Most regular surfers can pinpoint they first time they first saw a professional surfer and thought ‘I want to do that’. Whether it was Tom Curren a few decades ago or Carissa Moore today, there has always been a plethora of professional surfers around on the TV, in magazines and online that allow young people to dream about making surfing their day job.
Up until the last few years however, this was not the case for big wave surfers like Andrew Cotton. Unlike conventional surfing, the path to become a professional big wave rider simply didn’t exist. Surfers like Andrew had to pave it for themselves.
“Back when I was getting into surfing, there just wasn’t any professional free surfers” says Cotton. “I think Brock Little was the first I knew about, but there wasn’t anywhere near as many as there are now.”
“There was never the aim to be a professional big wave surfer” he laughs. “I just knew I liked surfing big waves. It was never a choice, or something I heard about others doing, it was just something I enjoyed, that felt natural to me.”