Monday, March 19, 2012

Cotty power

  I decided to do this blog not just after seeing this picture of Cotty at Mullaghmore but because he's a damn good surfer and deserves the publicity of what he's done over the years in big waves. He's been invited and attended big wave comps, not only in Ireland either, but in other parts of the world. Cotty's been nominated numerous times for Billabaong's XXL awards, in particular his latest nomination you have to admit is pretty impressive and soooo heavy. Cotty's paddled some pretty big stuff but doesn't gloat about it calling it the wave of the day just cause he paddled, he's also towed some pretty impressive waves but once again he never blows his own trumpet. Cotty just wants to enjoy himself with a few mates, simple.
  The very first big wave photo I ever took was of Cotty at Aileens on a less than perfect day and the last big wave photo I ever took in Ireland was yes again of Cotty but this time at Prowlers. That very first photo I was originally told it was of his tow partner big Al Mennie and after getting the print done I found out from Al that it was actually of Cotty, oh and it also got printed that way in the "Irish Times"! Never mind, lesson learnt to check your sources(Al's girlfriend at the time) hahaha.
My first ever big wave photo. "Cotty"

   Cotty never has backed down from a wave, tow or paddle. He just doesn't have it in his vocabulary to say no. Yes he's not just towed, doing a few stints to WA in Australia in his younger days paddling some pretty big stuff gave him great knowledge of the true power of the ocean on the hard hitting reefs. But it wasn't until he got to Hawaii and surfed Waimea where he found his true love for big waves earning the respect from the Hawaiians Cotty returned numerous times, and will return in the future.
Cotty @ Aileens getting chased down

Cotty on a bomb @ Aileens
   Cotty has adopted Ireland as his big wave haven. Spending countless sessions at Mullaghmore in the most harsh of conditions he still loves it and making the lengthy trip to Aileens numerous times. There was one session in particular where Cotty got nailed at Mullaghmore, his first wave of a dodgy day. Getting ripped apart by the wave, his expensive knee brace got torn off him and lost then the wave procedded to pull his leg almost out of joint leaving him in agony. I'll never forget the pain and dissapointment in his face and voice as he couldn't go back out due to his injurys. Seeing everyone else out there from the van on the hill would've been driving him nuts.
Cotty's face says it all...just after the leg ripping wipeout
Cotty @ Mullaghmore

I sent Cotty a txt asking him to answer a few questions about biggest waves he's towed and paddled and how big they were. I was curious to know what his answers were going to be size wise. Here is his humble reply...

"After last year I'd have to say Prowlers for both, surfed out there a few times now and i think it has so much potential for both tow and paddle. unfortunately this winter we didn't get to surf it once. I'm not one to put measurement on big waves, everyone judges differently and has different opinions on how big waves are, I've paddled some pretty big waves by my own personal standard and towed some even bigger ones, just hope it continues for years to come and both get bigger."

That day out at Prowlers was something else, with an 8m swell running we all sat over a mile out at sea watching her break. Blown away by how far it was throwing out, the barrell mad huge. Cotty and Al were originally thinking of paddling it until a outside set came through sending plumes of whitewater sky high and imploding out the back of the wave on itself! Cotty's reaction was hell give me the rope, lets see what this wave has. That's Cotty for ya, balls to the wall charger, tow or paddle he's out there giving it everything not backing down. Since that day out at prowlers he's padlled out there a few times bagging himself some great waves.
Here's some of his waves at Prowlers...
Cotty @ Prowlers
Cotty exiting the barrell on his first ever session out there!
Cotty and tow partner Al Mennie...yes that is a paddle board and they were seriously thinking of paddling
A proud moment for Cotty and I, my first surfing mag cover and my last big wave photo in Ireland