Surfer breaks back riding massive wave in Portugal

(CNN) — It’s an extraordinary video clip from Nazaré in Portugal.

British surfer Andrew Cotton was tackling a 50 foot wave when things went horribly wrong as the wave crashed down.

Cotton broke his back as he landed.

Remarkably, he didn’t drown in the water.

The surfer was quickly rescued, stabilised on a spinal board, then taken to hospital.

CNN Interviewed Cotton from his hospital bed.

“Yea I’m feeling good, obviously I’m in pain, but i’m feeling positive, and i’m looking forward to rehab and getting back out there really,” Cotton said.

“I’m not surprised that you got badly injured, I’m amazed that you didn’t drown. You know that kind of the wave and the froth when it broke, it looked to me as though you were inside an avalanche,” CNN World Sport Anchor Don Riddell said.

“For me personally, I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’ve been surfing since I was seven, I’ve been riding big waves for a long time. I’m really fortunate to be working and surfing with some of the best guys in the world, and you know we take safety really really serious. I’ve never at any point felt I was going to drown or I wouldn’t make it,” Cotton said.

“It’s at times like this one might review their life choices. Why do you do what you do?” Riddell asked.

“(chuckles) Why do I do what I do? I don’t know, I think like any surfer I like it and I think being in the ocean is just like the best thing ever, and I feel really fortunate to call surfing a career and a job. It’s been my dream to make it a career and a job since I was tiny, so I’m just thankful that I get time to spend in the ocean,” Cotton explained.

“How long until you think you’re going to be back on a board and how hard do you think that’s going to be for you to get back on the water?” Riddell asked.

“I don’t know. We’ve just been talking about that actually. I don’t know. I haven’t had any professional opinions yet about that, but me personally, I would like to think I would be back out surfing in a couple of months. You know, give or take a few weeks. I feel good, I feel super positive, and i’m looking forward to just getting back into rehab and physio,” Cotton said.

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