1. ITV Report

Moment surfer breaks back riding 50ft wave

This is the moment a surfer broke his back while riding a 50ft wave.

Andrew Cotton is recovering in hospital after the huge wipeout as he surfed in Portugal.

But the 36-year-old from Braunton, North Devon - who is credited with riding the biggest wave on the planet at 60ft in 2014 - says it hasn't put him off.

Speaking to ITV Westcountry from his hospital bed he said: "The wave didn't do exactly what I thought.

"Yeah, it showed me who was boss."

Andrew said the accident in Nazaré "was one of the worst wipeouts I've ever had".

"I was almost weightless for about what felt like quite a few seconds and then it was just the biggest impact that I've ever had.

"It definitely didn't feel like water, like I was hitting water.

"Pretty much straight away I knew I'd done something to my back or to my... I knew something wasn't good.

"It could have been the wave of my life. But that's just it when you're surfing, unpredictable waves I suppose."

Andrew is carried to safety by his rescue team. Credit: Andrew Cotton

Luckily Andrew's support team came quickly to his aid, but the power of the waves forced one of them off their jetski.

Despite the waves Andrew was quickly brought into shore and given emergency care.

"The lifeguards on the beach were amazing.

"It was textbook spinal recovery, and they managed to get me into the ambulance with no hassle.

"So of course you're thankful to everyone who's helped out, and everyone keeping calm, and literally saving my back."