Being Makua Rothman, Big Wave Surf World Champion
Being Makua Rothman
Named the first World Surf League Big Wave World Champion, Hawaii's Makua Rothman spent the 2014-15 winter chasing the most massive waves in the world. Winning the Billabong Pico Alto contest in Peru, then finishing runner-up at the Punta Galea Challenge in the Basque Country, he was also on the scene when Maui's Jaws roared to life. "It took a lot of determination, hard work and I came out victorious," Rothman said. "It's probably the best feeling in the world to be a world champion."
When it comes to focus and dedication, Rothman has his head in the game. Two days after the birth of his first child, he flew to Peru to compete in the Pico Alto big-wave event. Getting in as a wild card, he had nothing to lose and everything to gain. "I just want to say I love you to my daughter," Rothman said from the podium. "I wore her hospital bracelet the whole time and now I can't take it off. I don't even know what to say. I'm happy."
Typical work day?
Air drops into the pit at Pipeline, the most deadly wave in the world? All in a day's work for Rothman.
Makua Rothman is the consummate showman, and when Backdoor is pumping, he knows how to mug for the cameras. It's one of his favorite waves in the world, and he literally grew up surfing the place. His father, Eddie Rothman, runs the Da Hui Backdoor Shootout there every year.
The artist within
For as hard as Rothman charges, he also has a soft side that comes through in his serious musical skills. A talented ukulele player and singer who was born in the islands, his grandma first taught him to play and he recently released a full-length album entitled "Sound Wave."
The most important aspect to any good Pipe surfer's game is their ability to make the drop. Sliding down the face of a proper 10-footer is no easy feat, but after a lifetime of getting the wave wired, it's all muscle memory for Rothman these days.
Stand and deliver
Rothman, standing and delivering at the Pipeline.
What's the frequency Makua?
"Waves are waves, whether I'm surfing or playing music, it's just a different frequency," said a grinning Rothman, who enjoys surfing all day and jamming on the ukulele all night.
Holding on at Jaws as the main bowl detonates behind him, Rothman has paid his dues and ridden some of the biggest waves of his life there.
Makua appears on stage for a show with his band during the recent North Shore season. "I got to a point where I didn't want to chase 1-foot waves around the world, I wanted to surf the biggest and best waves and play music," Rothman said. "Now music's become a big part of my life."
North Shore roots
"Being born in Hawaii on the North Shore, it's better than winning the lottery. It's like living the dream everyday," Rothman said. "I feel very blessed."