HORDES of people packed a North Devon pub last night to welcome one of Britain’s most famous surfers back to North Devon.
More than 100 people gathered at The Thatch in Croyde to welcome Braunton surfer Andrew Cotton back to the region and watch the world premiere of The Big Wave.
The film is the newest documentary from the Zon North Canyon team, and follows Cotton and teammate Garrett McNamara in their four year quest to ride some of the largest waves in the world.
The 34-year-old shot to fame in October when he rode a potentially record breaking wave at Nazaré in Portugal, estimated to be 80ft high.
The ride rivals the 78ft world record which Cotton towed McNamara into in November 2011.
However, speaking before the airing of the documentary, Cotton said the potentially record breaking wave didn’t stand out in his memory.
He said: “That particular wave doesn’t really stand out, it’s the whole day really.
“On that day everything was launched in the dark because we didn’t want to miss anything.
“But when it got light, that was when we realised that this was it, something big was going to happen.”
Cotton is now set to be the focus of a new documentary which follows his personal exploits at Nazaré, due to air in Spring next year.
He said: “It has all been very surreal. Overall I think I have just been quite fortunate really. I was at the right place at the right time, and I had the right people around me.
“I couldn’t do these things by myself, it takes a lot of people and a lot of support from friends and family.”
Peter Robinson, founder of the Museum of British Surfing and organiser of the event, said he was delighted by the welcome given to Andrew.
He said: “The support from the local and surfing community has been amazing.
“He has taken British surfing to the world stage and regardless of whether the wave he has ridden is a world record it’s definitely the biggest any British surfer has ridden.
“But he is such a humble family guy that you would never realise some of the things he has done.”