Andrew Cotton

Friday, 30 April 2010


I just got an email from the big man Al Mennie with the subject: Mooooooo. Below that was a semi ineligible sentence followed by a link. At first I was baffled thinking maybe the years of sobriety had finally got to him and he’d hit the bottle hard and completely lost the plot, then I took the time out of my very busy day and time schedule to click and follow the link. The page loaded up pretty quick and straight away I could see it was an article about his new book ‘Surfing Mennie Waves’ then it slowly dawned on me and I started to get a little jealous, which was strange as with all the things we’ve done together and apart, some of the waves we towed, sessions I’ve missed and the photos and interviews published this was the first time I felt a bit of resentment and jealousy, like he’d beat me to it and actually made it as an accomplished surfer and athlete. In true Mennie fashion this has done nothing but motivate me and given me more focus than ever before, ‘I will not be beaten, must aim higher’ as I stride through my recovery and on towards what I hope someday will be the panicle of my surfing career.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Old habits

You’re possibly thinking why the hell have you got a photo of big bird in the bath? Well after our internet binge we felt so dirty and un clean we both needed to wash away our sins and cleanse our body’s and souls, I spent the day sitting on a plastic chair in the shower as I can’t get my stitches to wet and big bird in the bath.

It was my idea and to be honest it had nothing to do with cleansing I just fancied being wet for the day. I haven’t done it in ages, you see a few years ago I went through this strange habit of sleeping in the bath. Not always but usually after a couple of beers, I’d get home run a bath and spend the whole night in it, It was a bit like extreme sleeping cause looking back it could of gone anyway really. Not sure what this says about my mental state but I used to love it and my house mate horley at the time didn’t seem to mind or worry about it either, he used to get up for work in the morning and come in the bathroom to brush his teeth, ‘alright cotton, good night’s sleep?’ I’d just be lying in the bath, freezing cold water; numb with skin so shrivelled and wrinkled you’d think it would never go back to normal again. ‘Yeah mate not bad like, slept like a log’ and that was it nothing more said. I even did it at a house party once, half way through the night, party still raging I went for a piss and just couldn’t help myself, like a guilty pleasure, I locked the door ran the bath and woke up 7 hours later to banging and someone freaking out shouting, wanting to know what was actually going on in there.

Well we both felt a lot better for our water day anyway and have now vowed never let our internet abuse get that bad again but just in case we’ve also sought professional help and a lovely man installed a proxy server to filter the websites we try to browse, you know just in case.

Friday, 23 April 2010

net bender

I’ve got those nervous butterfly feelings going on, worried and not too sure what to do? A sort of guilt and frustration rolled in to one and in the back of my mind the thought that I could and should have been able to avoid this. I’ve got protection and even opted for the more expensive ‘upgrade’ just for peace of mind. In my defence it has been a long 2 weeks with not a lot to do, it started off controlled but as times gone on the habit has got worse. Minutes rolled into hours and hours into days which has now turned into a serious problem, just trawling aimlessly with nowhere to go, not knowing exactly what I’m doing or looking for just clicking link after link. It’s that addictive personality kicking in again as I pretty much hit the 5 day mark on this wreck less internet bender. Run down suffering from sleep deprivation, big bird’s even developed a twitch; she tried to stop me at first but soon turned into my partner in crime even egging me on at some stages. The problem is it’s not just myself and big bird that our behaviour has affected, my lap top is ill in fact seems to be more infected than an OAP sex tourist in Bangkok with nothing to lose. I just hope it’s not terminal and we can find a cure.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Big Bird

So this is my new best friend and life companion big bird, like any normal heterosexual male in the society we live in I’ve tried having a girlfriend and thought about getting a dog or some sort of animal but haven’t had much success and I’m not to be trusted with anything too dependent

on me as I learnt from the time I acquired a cat called ‘Velcro’ it’s a long story but just for your information the cat lived and after a lot of phone calls and pleading the previous owner came and reclaimed it. I won’t lie the past week I’ve become increasingly lonely, although i have had visitors and even ventured out a couple of times I’m not quite as mobile as I wished but this has given me the opportunity to become considerably close to big bird as we pretty much do everything together, It’s amazing how friendships build and bonds form. Just under 2 weeks ago when my only visitors in hospital the Bevan twins bought her into my life,I obviously thanked them but we all laughed and joked about her not really taking her seriously. I ignored her for the first day, even making light of her to the nurses or to anyone who mentioned her and at one point it even crossed my mind to leave her at the hospital or donate her to a good cause.I got all embarrassed and shy about her when the guys from Analog so kindly collected me from hospital, saying she was just a silly joke from friends as I hobbled out following super cool ferg, gravis bag in one arm and big bird in the other. He did look slightly rediculous and I could tell he wasn’t that amused. I hope big bird will forgive me for my neglect in our early days, lucky for me she’s not the type of bird to hold grudges.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Matey boy

I’ve started making those involuntary groaning noises again ‘agh the boredom’, I can’t handle it. Hours spent just lying still and starring into space with way too much time to think, although I keep telling myself I have to look at the bright side of things and be more positive as I spend too much time pondering negative thoughts almost trying to find ways of making anything slightly good, bad. Like yesterday I pretty much spent the whole day being negative and angry about my family, I didn’t say anything to them I just raged from within. It’s not fair, this whole knee situation is there fault, its hereditary I inherited dodgy knees which slightly pisses me off. My sister gets brains and good looks and I, well I get dodgy knees and an addictive personality, I don’t mind not having the brains or the looks but couldn’t she of had the dodgy knee as well, Leaving me just with the addictive personality situation to deal with? I could keep whinging on about things that are just ‘negative’ all day long as I’m pretty good at it but like I say I need to get into this more positive way of thinking and looking at things. Like how lucky I was to get my meals bought to me by matey boy here while I was in hospital, I call him matey boy because I don’t actually know his name although I did ask him but he just sort of ignored me, think it was just my thick Devonshire accent he couldn’t understand, that or the fact I was of my face on those little blue pills I was taking for the pain and didn’t make any sense. Ok so the meals weren’t that nice but it wasn’t his fault as I don’t think he actually made them he just had the job of plonking them down in front of the patients, but he was bloody good at it though and never did I once not see him smiling.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Knee TLC from Andy

So I don’t think I really explained in my last post, the reason I was actually in a London hospital was I was having a bit of knee TLC from this guy Mr Andrew Williams or ‘Andy the knee surgeon from London’ as I know him, nice bloke knows a lot about sports and tells me he even used to surf back in the day, although he was never very good he wishes he spent more time on it, I politely pointed out that if he had spent any time on it rather than perusing his interest in multi-ligament knee reconstruction he wouldn’t be where he is today, he just smiled and agreed. He is currently the primary knee surgeon for many of the UK’s professional sports teams including many premiership football clubs and Guinness premiership rugby clubs, he’s also the chap who operated on England cricketer Freddie Flintoff when he was having a bit of a scenario back along. Um so why did I get to see him? Is probably what you’re thinking, I don’t play team sports, I’ve never done anything for my country and I struggle to pay for a pint in Billy buds. not sure really I just asked him and he seemed keen, pretty lucky really.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Hospital in Hot London

I came too in a blurry haze my body felt numb and was pulsating into the bed from the cocktail of drugs I was on, I felt great almost like I’d just come home from a night out but without the fuzz and unsteadiness you get from boozen. The fact I couldn’t move my left leg hadn’t even crossed my mind I was having fun and the night had just begun or morning as I wasn’t 100% on what time it was, the room I was in was busy with a lot going on as I lay there in space cadet mode quite content people watching and jabbering away to the nurse who was now holding a cup of water for me as I sipped at it through a straw, things where actually looking good I thought to myself. As like all good nights it came to an end with the drugs wearing off and reality setting in I had to get my head around a few things, unable to come to terms with the crazy dreams I must have had whilst being under anaesthetic, that mixed with intense pain and the fact I was busting for a piss but couldn’t actually go, I was having a shocker of a come down. I franticly hit the buzzer, I needed more pain relief and a piss ASAP, the nurse bought me 2 little blue pills which seemed to do the job nicely but the fact that as soon as I mentioned trouble and pissing she couldn’t wait to get a catheter into action I was instantly put off her, ‘can’t we just talk about this first’ ‘no no, I’ll go and get one now’ hells bells there’s no way she’s going near me with that thing, I battled through the pain and managed to stand on one leg leaning against the bed, bottle in hand and sweat pouring with intense concentration, I needed a piss so bad the slightest movement hurt but for the life of me just couldn’t break that seal, with what seemed like seconds to go before the return of the dreaded catheter woman a dribble came out followed by one of the best pisses of my life. She came back catheter in hand looking shocked I’d actually managed to get myself standing, I held out the urine bottle like a trophy and politely asked if she could help me back into bed.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


I’ve been sat staring at my computer for 40 minutes now thinking of something funny or witty to write about this shot and Q&A I’ve got in this month’s Wavelength, it’s about mind games, photo shoots and keeping sanity when the pressures on and the work has to be done, because believe it or not it is work and like all work it has its ups and downs and you also need to know the in’s and out’s! So what can I write here that I didn’t say in the Q&A? Not a lot really maybe that it helps if your slightly self obsessed and get off in seeing yourself in print or when shooting water don't pull a face that makes you look like you’re trying to suck off Mandingo, like I do. Other than that you really should check it out, I bought my copy from the 24 hour garage in braunton and that nice looking older woman served me, she doesn’t seem work in there that often. But I’m sure you can get it from most other newsagents and WHSmiths sell it in town too.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Surf Europe

I had to have a word with myself back in November, I hobbled up the slipway at Mullaghmore in shock and a whole world of pain and it wasn’t even 8am ‘what on earth am I doing’ was the question I kept asking myself, I was rattled and for the first time in my life questioned this whole tow surf, big wave faze thing I’m going through. It was the most scared I’ve been and without a dought the most painful and longest kicking I’ve ever had, for a split second I pretty much gave up, thinking this was it, I’d really cooked me goose. Al came and got me pretty quickly on the ski and I think from the look on my face he knew I wasn’t happy. At the time I had a beautiful girlfriend at home in Croyde, so what the hell was I doing sleeping in my van being feral just to ride a few waves? Pretty much a month later I received a call from Al saying it was on again and to come over, deep down inside I wasn’t keen and hoped my girlfriend would freak out and put her foot down, demanding me to spend more quality time at home, not to go and watch Eastenders on the sofa instead, at least then I could blame someone, but no she did the exact opposite and within hours I found myself sitting on a flight to Belfast. The demons in the back of my brain where going mental and I was more nervous than ever before, Al sort of asked how I was feeling after my tumble from our last session and I just did the big man thing and made out that I wasn’t fazed, I wasn’t lying to him but I just needed him to think I was strong and not a weak link. This was my second wave and in this month’s Surf Europe they’ve run the shots and done a small interview, Ok so it wasn’t as big as the session back in November and even though I didn’t make it, This wave was what I needed and really confirmed to me why I actually do put the time and effort into riding just a few waves. Thanks surfeurope and also a massive thanks to mark capilton who coincidently was the only photographer to capture the wave.

Saturday, 3 April 2010


I’m exhausted, 5am starts and 2 to 3 surfs a day, a whole heap of driving and endless bumpy dirt tracks all to get a few shots and some random waves, mix that with the constant piss taking, stinking car which smelt so bad I actually puked the other day, didn’t help that selway found a rotting banana in his bag that smelt so rancid it could of been used as a form of torture in Guantanamo bay, it’s been a testing few weeks to say the least but looking back and thinking about it a little I loved every minute of it, well nearly, maybe every minute except the banana smell puke bit, the day we drove 6 hours to surf a very average point break and the numerous times Selway played that little song he made on his iphone music maker app in my ear while I drove which consisted of a few beats and him saying in his really camp voice ‘Cotty is gay’ and ‘Cotty likes cock’ over and over again. Could say it might be good to be going home, well maybe not it’s possibly the last place I want to be, still got to deal with the airport and luggage scenarios yet then the train nightmare when we land to get back to Devon, why did I bring so many boards again? Tell you one thing though when I do get back I think I need a little holiday, I’ve definitely earned it. PHOTO: Selway