Interview - Retour sur l'hiver épique de Cornelius Accoh
Cornelius Accoh, 19, from Biarritz, spent his year between studies in STAPS and experiencing big swells. Guns always ready to be strapped to the roof, Cornelius discovered the monstrous Portuguese waves of Nazaré.

Nazaré, last November 16.

He tells us about these incredible days, always pushing his limits further.

  • So this winter, can you summarize it for us in 3 words?
    Intense, extraordinary, successful

  • Did it live up to your hopes and objectives?

My goal was to catch at least 1 wave in Nazaré. When you're 18 and you take your parents' car to go to Nazaré for the first time and you manage to catch some waves, I think we can say that the goal is achieved. What was really decisive for the future was that it was only November. So I had about 4 months left to do what I wanted with the rest of the winter. So what did I do? I went back at the beginning of February. Unfortunately I didn't have good waves this time. I was frustrated, but now I knew the place. So I went back one last time at the beginning of March, and I stayed there for 10 days to make sure I had at least one good session. But apart from a big bodysurfing session where I had the beating of my life, I hadn't managed to catch the wave I was expecting. It only arrived on the last day, during my last session. And the next day at 8 a.m. I was in France in class (laughing). This wave earned me an XXL Award nomination, and it was my last wave in Nazaré of the winter. I never would have expected so much.

  • How did you train?

With Clément (my friend and big wave surfing partner) we have freediving training once or twice a week. I personally do a lot of stretching, and a little muscle strengthening. But most of the preparation is mental. To do this you need to spend as much time as possible in the water, go gun surfing as soon as possible and be confident in the equipment you use.

credit Rafael Riancho / WSL

  • You had a great time in Nazaré. How was the reception from the locals?

Yes, in total Clément stayed there for more than 2 weeks and I stayed between 3 weeks and 1 month. In the water, when the waves are really big, there is no localism. When someone has the bomb, everyone shouts to cheer them on. There is a lot of mutual support. There is obviously a little more localism when the waves are smaller, a lot of bodyboarders. But in any case it went well for us. We were lucky enough to be introduced by Fred David who has lived there for some time now. He knows the local figures, the good restaurants, the people to ask for advice, etc. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank him once again. He really helped us a lot there.

  • What was the highlight of this winter?

It was the day of the Nazaré Chellenge, we got into the water a few minutes before the end of the final, time to arrive at the peak. The waves seemed giant to us. But we managed to catch several waves each. A little before dark a good set arrived. Clément took a bomb on the left, and I took the next one, identical, on the right. We found ourselves on the sand. We didn't believe what we had just done so much that we laughed like kids. We went up this mythical cliff with guns under our arms, and it's true that it was a lot of fun when you think that we started surfing big waves a few years earlier in Guéthary.

  • What have you learned?

It's so difficult to get a good wave, it's always moving. Even if you absolutely want the bomb and are prepared for it, you are never sure you will succeed in getting it. There is a lot of luck in Nazaré. And when the wave hits you, you shouldn't refuse it, it could be the only one of the session. And of course you have to be mentally and physically ready to eat. Some waves can be super violent, and they are not necessarily the biggest. Nazaré I see her a bit like a Kinder surprise. You can't know in advance if you're going to catch the wave of your life or the ride of your life.

  • And this summer, where can we meet you?

This summer I'm taking the opportunity to unwind a little. I work in a surfshop to make some money. I'm going to get back into longboarding too. I'm going to do 3 competitions in particular: the Biarritz Belza Classic at the beginning of June, the Wheels and Waves Invitational in mid-June, and I'm going to finish with an LQS in Spain at the end of August.

  • And next winter, where are the Gun Brothers going?

Yes, come follow our adventures on Instagram thanks to our account @gun.brothers!! We will try to spend as much time as possible in Nazaré. We have other big wave surfing projects abroad but we're going to wait a little before saying more, until it comes to fruition.