Life and career
Makua Rothman was born on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. He is the son of Eddie Rothman, who in 1976 founded Hui O He'e Nalu (literally, "Club of Wave Riders"), shortened to "Da Hui", in Oahu. Da Hui, consisting of native Hawaiians (Eddie Rothman himself is Jewish and is from the mainland United States, while Makua's mother is a Native Hawaiian), was established purportedly as a reaction to the tourists who were traveling to Hawaii and were not respectful of the local culture and surf etiquette on the North Shore. At a young age Rothman surfed with his father, who pushed him to surf waves much bigger than those his peers were surfing.
Rothman attributes his surfing prowess in large waves to his size as a youth. Because he was slightly overweight growing up, he wasn't as agile as some of his peers and catching smaller, less powerful waves was difficult for him. Bigger, more powerful waves better suited his surfing, and Rothman began to test the limits of his skills by surfing famous big-wave spots like Sunset Beach and Pipeline. Rothman also suffered from asthma as a child, a health issue potentially detrimental to his participating in a sport where breathing and holding one’s breath are fundamentally important. However, his father involved him in various other sports such as soccer, baseball, football, and water polo because the strenuous workouts seemed to help relieve his asthma. A formative experience of Rothman's surfing occurred in 1992, when he was eight years old. He paddled out to surf at famous big-wave spot Waimea Bay during a ceremony held for deceased surfer Eddie Aikau. The heavy surf conditions pounded the young Rothman, holding him under two 12-foot set waves, but he suddenly popped up in a clearing of the turbulent white-water. This event bolstered his confidence in big-wave conditions.
Prior to 2004, Rothman weighed 189 pounds — heavier than most male professional surfers. But after working with trainer and friend Rob Garcia, (strength trainer for professional boxer Oscar De La Hoya) Rothman brought his weight down to roughly 160 pounds, a weight loss that has apparently benefited his surfing. To accomplish this he made changes in his diet and exercise regime, and now eats mostly salad, fish, chicken, and steak, avoids processed foods, and stays active fishing, hunting, running, free-diving, grappling, working out with a punching bag, and riding his motorcycle.
Rothman began surfing at the unusually early age of two years, and started tow-in surfing at age 13 with his dad and family friend Darrick Doerner. With Doerner, one of the pioneers of tow-in surfing, as his guide, Rothman eventually became proficient enough to win the 2002 Billabong XXL Big Wave Challenge Award in an historic big-wave session. His surfing a 66-foot wave (the largest wave known to be surfed anywhere in the world that winter) earned him $66,000 in prize money.
Rothman attributes his love of surfing and the ocean to his father as well as several professional surfers he grew up around including Garcia, Myles Padaca, Johnny Boy Gomes, and Dane Kealoha. Rothman credits these men as role models because they taught him how to dive and hunt for food, as well as instilling values of respect, leadership, and being true to one’s own beliefs. Among Rothman’s favorite surfers are Kelly Slater, Andy Irons, Bruce Irons, Shane Dorian, Sunny Garcia, and Eddie Aikau.
In 2011, TJ Barron, another Hawaiian local, and Rothman allegedly had a disagreement in the water during the Billabong Pipeline Masters contest at Pipeline and took the confrontation to the beach, leading to speculation about "Billabong’s apparent haste to finish the Pipe Masters contest in relatively small waves, despite a new swell being predicted; and the fact that local entrants to the Pipe Masters were paid $7000 less than competitors who flew in from overseas."
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- 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
- makua rothman da hui hawaii interview
- freesurfmagazine.com - Kai Kane - Makua Rothman
- billabong xxl winner Makua Rothman big waves
- Fred Pawle (December 17, 2011). "Surf grapevine latches onto North Shore fight". theaustralian.com. The Australian. Archived from the original on Sep 27, 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014.