Talking Big Waves with Dylan Cotton

Posted by NVS Staff on

Dylan Cotton - Big Wave Training

With some serious swell coming to HI we sat down with NVS team rider and big wave charger Dylan Cotton to talk about surfing big waves.

NVS: Hey Dylan, thanks for sitting down with us.  Did you happen to catch any of the swell the rolled through during the Pea’hi contest?

Dylan Cotton: Yeah I️ went to Waimea on Saturday but Friday was better. Couldn’t go cuz I️ had class all day though. Went west and was super fun and ripable

NVS: Right on!  What turned you on to big waves?

DC: The Wedge, in particular April 27th, 2014, just after I turned 16.  This is the wave that started it.  The adrenaline rush and the overall feeling afterwards was something I️ couldn’t compare anything else to. Every big swell after that was dedicated to getting the next big wave.

(Wedge: April 27th, 2014)
NVS: It’s rare in life to be able to pinpoint a defining moment in life and have it documented. Aside from adrenaline was there a sense of needing to accomplish something?  Did you have a group of friends that all had the same urge to get out there on bigger days?  Was there a goal of wanting to work your way up to a specific wave?

DC: Not particularly at first. It’s hard to explain but I️ just felt like I️ had to be out there. Like if it was 8-10 foot and barreling at 54th, but it was 15-18+ at Wedge and closing out, I️ felt like I️ just had to be at Wedge haha.  Then hurricane Marie came. That swell scared the shit out of me I️ had a feeling it was gonna be biggest I’d ever surfed in, but like the other swells, I️ just had that feeling that I️ needed to be out there. That morning was so much bigger than anything I️ had ever dealt with but I️ still was determined to get out there. My friend Charlie Wiggs was the only person willing to paddle out with me. While I️ was taking my time putting my wetsuit on, my dad walked up to me and said “stop taking so long. get out there.” Thanks dad lol

NVS: What other big waves have you surfed?

DC: Since then, I’ve been to Waimea, Todos Santos, Jaws, Phantoms, and La Vaca.

NVS: What’s your favorite, scariest, and biggest?

DC: Favorite would be either wedge because you can Surf it 30 foot on a 6’0” and because I’ve known it best, or Waimea because the vibe out there is like a big family no matter who you are. Everyone is looking out for each other.



Biggest was Todos. Never gotten worked quite like that before haha

(Todos Santos)

Scariest easily was Jaws. Not just the wave but getting in and out through the shore-break on the boulders.

NVS: Let’s talk about your gear.

DC: My primary board is a 10’6” from LaBreau with the Apex Series Bronn Quads.

NVS: What’s your training routine like?

DC: Underwater training (swimming, breath hold circuits, weight walks, etc.), lots of cardio, calisthenics, and occasional weight training. Depending on class schedule, homework, swell, and weather for hikes haha, I'll usually train 2-3 hours a day. Usually go about 4-5 days a week.

NVS: Breathing exercises aren’t just for the big wave guys.  Can you go into detail on some of your routines?

DC: Have someone above water with timer, go underwater and hold yourself down with a weight. Person above water will slash the water to indicate coming up at a certain time(intervals decided before set) whether it be 20,30, or 45 seconds, push off bottom and breathe out on the way up, you have one breath while above water and back under for next rep. Usually we will do this for about 10 reps. Or holding 60lbs and walking along the pool floor.

NVS: Thanks Dylan, we’re stoked to see you in the water this winter.

DC: Thanks guys!

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