There’s no need to jump on a plane to have a great holiday
North Devon’s own big wave surfer Andrew Cotton, spends a lot of his time travelling the world looking for the biggest surf. In winter he spends time between Ireland and Portugal ever searching for the perfect – and biggest – ride. But he loves coming home to North Devon because, as he says, it’s got one of the best coastlines in the world. We couldn’t agree more!
“My parents live in Ashford now but I grew up in Instow, at Yelland. I got into surfing at the age of about 7 so until I could drive my parents drove me to Saunton, Croyde or Putsborough whenever there was surf. It was very kind of them! Of course, once I could drive myself to the beach they moved to Ashford!
I am really fortunate in that I have travelled a lot and it’s easy to think that everywhere else will be better than the place you grew up. But it’s not until you get home that you realise just how fantastic it is. Driving to Croyde from Braunton and seeing Saunton, with Westward Ho! and Hartland in the distance across the bay on those days when it’s sunny. It’s magical.
I wouldn’t live anywhere else in the UK. My parents live here still and family is all here and friends from all over live here. It’s really special. When I’ve been away I can’t wait to see the family, I hang out with my kids, swim, go to the skatepark.
I am biased because my whole life has been about the sea, but Devon has one of the best coastlines in the world. There’s no need to jump on a plane to have a great holiday. It’s all here.If anyone wanted to come to North Devon to surf I’d say go for it.
There are loads of great surf schools that are Surfing GB affiliated who can show you the ropes, teach you about water safety and help you to cut out a lot of the time wasted floundering in the shallows!
This winter I am going to be chasing swells to try and get the world record for the biggest wave surfed. That’s my dream. So I need to be on the biggest swells. I am also doing a lot of talks and work for my sponsors. I am really lucky to have Red Bull, Casio and Jeep but also really pleased that local Devon brands like Saltrock, Tiki, Dryrobe, Sungod and Sharp’s brewery have been able to sponsor me too.
Best place to surf in Devon? Croyde is great, but in summer Woolacombe can be fantastic!”
Andrew’s recommendations for staying safe in the water
“Don’t be afraid to ask the surfers or the life guards where is safest to swim or surf. And respect the flags by swimming between the red and yellows. The sea can be a dangerous place but it can also be very safe – if you know the right thing to do. Just ask!”