Cornish surfer recovering from serious injuries after massive wipeout in Portugal

Newquay surfer Tom Butler before his surfing accident Credit: Tom Butler

A Cornish surfer has sent a Christmas message of thanks to his friends and supporters after being seriously hurt during a competition in Portugal. Tom Butler from Newquay suffered a crushed chest and split ear after falling from a 45ft wave at Nazare during the World Surf League Big Wave Tour Competition. See the footage here.

Tom, 27, had five years' experience of surfing the big waves at Praia do Norte, about 80 miles north of Libson, before meeting his match on the roller which took him down. He spent three days in hospital being treated for his injuries

"With only 15 mins left I told myself I'm going to take the next big wave that comes my way..I actually thought I was more on the shoulder of the wave that took me down, thinking I could bottom turn around the section and make some kind of a bottom turn. I was totally committed to the wave and tried my hardest to make that drop.

"The bit of chop hit my back shoulder and twisted me off axis from then on it was game over making that one! Under water I was fine the contest vest got in the way a bit, inflating the vest but eventually I surfaced. I think the initial impact on the surface of the water actually hurt my ribs. I don't know what split my ear maybe the board maybe the leash?

"A massive thank you to all my caring family and friends from all corners of the world who have messaged me the kindest well wishing words over the last few days.

"My ear feels fine it's wrapped up good and I get the stitches out next Tuesday. My rib is sore but I'm able to move a bit and can do most everyday movements ok just a bit slower with a tiny bit of pain."

– Tom Butler