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Makua Rothman at Bagram Airfield in 2019

Makaukai (Makua) Rothman (born June 17, 1984) is an American big wave rider, professional surfer[1] and musician. On February 28, 2015, he was crowned the 2015 Big Wave World Champion in the World Surf League's (WSL) first sanctioned Big Wave World Tour (BWWT).[2][3][4][5][6]


Life and careerEdit

Makuakai (Makua) Rothman was born to an American Jewish father and a Hawaiian mother, on June 17, 1984 on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. An accomplished professional big wave surfer and aspiring musician, Rothman was crowned the 2015 Big Wave World Champion.[7] Rothman achieved his first accolade in surfing at age 18 when he won the 2003 Billabong XXL Award for riding a 66-foot wave at Jaws on November 26, 2002 (the largest wave known to be surfed anywhere in the world that winter).[8]

Rothman credits his surfing ability in large part to his father, Eddie Rothman.[9] As a child, Rothman suffered from asthma, making surfing a personally difficult and dangerous pursuit. His father decided to involve him in various sports such as soccer, baseball, football, and water polo as strenuous workouts seemed to help relieve his asthma. Rothman later attributed his physical stamina and dedication to these pursuits.[10][11]

Before he was 10 years old, Rothman was surfing some of Hawaii's most notable and biggest waves, including Pipeline and Sunset Beach. When he was eight, he surfed 12-foot Waimea waves, an unusual feat for one so young, bolstering his confidence in big-wave conditions. By the time he was 13, Rothman was known as a promising young surfer in the surfing community. Surrounded by accomplished older surfers such as Sunny Garcia, Myles Padaca, Johnny Boy Gomes, and Dane Kealoha, Rothman learned how to dive, surf, farm and hunt. He credits these men as role models who instilled values of leadership and respect.

Music careerEdit

Makua Rothman performing on a USO tour at Ramstein Air Base in 2019

Rothman had not considered music as a career until 2012, when his friend Rob Garcia told him that people should hear his music. On the verge of leaving for a trip to Indonesia, Rothman decided to cancel the trip to work on his music. A few months later, he released his first EP, Makanale Road.[12] Since then, he’s released a full-length album in 2013, Sound Wave,[12][13] and toured all over the US, headlining small shows and opening for artists such as Matisyahu, Sublime w/Rome, Common Kings, The Wailers, Steel Pulse, Slightly Stoopid, Rebelution, and Donavon Frankenreiter.[14] Sound Wave debuted as the #1 Billboard World Album on iTunes and peaked as the #1 Billboard Reggae Album on December 28, 2013.[15][16]

In 2017, he guest performed on Goldfinger's album The Knife, playing ukeke on "Liftoff".[17]


Makua has two younger brothers, and a younger sister.[11]

The middle brother of the Rothman siblings and ten years younger than Makua, Koa Rothman is also an accomplished big wave pro surfer first surfing monster surf at age 17.[11][18] In 2014, at the age of 21, he won both the Best Tube Award from his ride at Teahupoo and the Billabong XXL Wipeout of the Year Award with his feat also at Teahupoo and on the same wave.[18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25]

Current sponsorsEdit

Contests and toursEdit

  • 2002 Billabong XXL Big Wave Challenge Award - Winner
  • 2006 Volcom Stone’s Blowfish Surf Series - 3rd Place
  • 2006 Xcel Pro - Sunset Beach, Hawaii - 4th Place
  • 2007 O'Neill World Cup - Sunset Beach, Hawaii - Winner
  • 2014 Billabong Pico Alto - Pico Alto, Punta Hermosa. Lima, Peru - Winner
  • 2014-5 World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave World Tour (BWWT) Champion
  • 2015 Quiksilver Ceremonial in pumping surf at Punta de Lobos, Chile - Winner


  1. ^ makua rothman da hui hawaii interview
  2. ^ "Makua Rothman crowned 2014/2015 Big Wave Tour champion". 2 March 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  3. ^ "2014 Big Wave Tour". Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  4. ^ "Rothman's Breakout Year". 20 February 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  5. ^ "Congratulations Rothman, Big Wave Tour Champ". 28 February 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  6. ^ "MAKUA ROTHMAN CLAIMS WSL BIG WAVE WORLD TOUR TITLE". 28 February 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  7. ^ "Makua Rothman crowned 2014/2015 Big Wave Tour champion". Surfer Today. March 2, 2015. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  8. ^ "Makua Makes History". surfermag. April 18, 2003. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  9. ^ Silken, Lindsey. "Shmoozin' with Makua Kai Rothman A Jewish-Hawaiian Professional Surfer". InterfaithFamily. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  10. ^ "Surfer Interview: Makua Rothman". surfermag. July 22, 2010. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  11. ^ a b c Flemister, Beau (February 17, 2015). "All We Are Is Space Dust". surfermag. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  12. ^ a b Jeffries, David. "Makua Rothman". iTunes. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  13. ^ "Makua Rothman". Mountain Apple Company Hawai'i. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  14. ^ "Makua". Free Surf Magazine. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  15. ^ "Makua Rothman Music". rvca. April 1, 2013. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  16. ^ "Reggae Albums - 2013 Archive". Billboard. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  17. ^ "Credits for The Knife". allmusic. All Media Network. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  18. ^ a b "Koa Rothman recounts XXL Teahupoo Tube of the Year". Surfersvillage Global Surf News. May 14, 2014. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  19. ^ "Recap from the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards". World Surf League. Anaheim, California. May 2, 2014. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  20. ^ "Koa Rothman Claims Billabong XXL Wipeout of the Year Award". May 3, 2014. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  21. ^ "A Few Barrels: The year that was for Koa Rothman". May 8, 2014. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  22. ^ "Greatest Wipeouts: Koa Rothman". surfline. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  23. ^ "XXL Global Big Wave Awards". xgames espn. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  24. ^ Ward, Teddy (May 4, 2014). "2014 XXL Big Wave Awards: Results and Rebuttals". redbull. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  25. ^ Zietman, Nina. "Koa Rothman Surfed THIS Monster Tube At Teahupoo…: ... but what's he been doing for the rest of the year?". mpora. Retrieved December 5, 2016.

External linksEdit