Makua Rothman

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Makaukai (Makua) Rothman (born June 17, 1984) is an American up-and-coming big wave rider and professional surfer.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Rothman was born on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. He is the son of Eddie Rothman, founder of “Da Hui.” Da Hui, consisting of native Hawaiians (Eddie Rothman himself is Jewish and is from the mainland USA, while Makua's mother is a Native Hawaiian),[2] was established in the '70s purportedly as a reaction to the tourists who were traveling to Hawaii and were not respectful of the culture and surf etiquette of the North Shore of Oahu but mainly to protect Eddie's drug turf. At a young age Makua surfed with his father, who pushed Makua to surf waves much bigger than those his peers were surfing. Makua’s also attributes his surfing prowess in large waves to his size as a youth. Because he was slightly overweight growing up, Makua 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 Makua was quick to push the limits at a young age, surfing famous big-wave spots like Sunset Beach and Pipeline.

Makua also suffered from asthma as a child, a health issue potentially detrimental to someone who is surfing, a sport where breathing and holding one’s breath are fundamentally important. However, Makua thanks his father for always involving him in various sports such as soccer, baseball, football, and water polo, because it seemed to help abate his difficulties with asthma. Being involved in different physical activities allowed Makua to learn how to relax when his breathing became arduous, and his ability to relax his breathing in tense situations in the water is one of the qualities that has helped Makua in many life-threatening situations he has faced while surfing big waves.

In 1992, at just eight years old, Makua 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 Makua, holding him under two, 12-foot set waves. Makua didn’t think he would survive when he suddenly popped up in a clearing of the turbulent white-water. It has been daunting experiences like this that have built Makua’s confidence to the high level it is at today when it comes to big-wave surfing.[1]

Prior to 2004, Makua weighed 189 pounds — heavier than most male professional surfers. But after rigorously working with trainer and friend Rob Garcia, (strength trainer for professional boxer Oscar De La Hoya) Makua brought his weight down to roughly 160 pounds, a weight loss that has significantly benefited Makua’s surfing. Makua enjoys staying active by doing things such as fishing, hunting, running, free-diving, grappling, punching “the bag,” or riding his motorcycle. Makua accepts the fact that his metabolism is not “as good as most people’s” and has gotten smarter about his exercise and diet, eating mostly salad, fish, chicken, and steak and staying away from processed foods.[3]

Makua began surfing that the early age of two years old, but began tow-in surfing at the age of 13 when his dad and family friend Darrick Doerner first taught Makua. With Doerner, one of the pioneer’s in tow-in surfing, as his guide, Makua eventually learned the ropes of tow-in surfing and in 2002 won the Billabong XXL Big Wave Challenge Award in one of the most historic big-wave sessions in history. His fearless surfing of the 66 foot wave earned him $66,000, a thousand dollars for every foot. It was the largest wave in the world to be surfed that winter.[4]

Makua attributes his love of surfing and the ocean to his father as well as several professional surfers he grew up around like Sunny Garcia, Myles Padaca, Johnny Boy Gomes, and Dane Kealoha. Makua also accredits his other abilities and his character to his role models because they taught him how to dive and hunt for food, they taught him about respect, about leadership, and about adhering to one’s own beliefs.[1]

Among Makua’s favorite surfers are Kelly Slater, Andy Irons, Bruce Irons, Shane Dorian, Sunny Garcia, and Eddie Aikau.[1]

A recent incident overshadows Rothman`s career, sources [5][6]show that there has been a fight between Rothman and TJ Barron, another Hawaiian local over unresolved issues. An entire conspiracy theorie evolved out of the fight including Billabong cutting pricemoney and being forced away from the island.

Current Sponsors[edit]

  • RVCA
  • Boost Mobile
  • Da Hui
  • Oakley (sunglasses)
  • Monster Energy Drink


  • 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


External links[edit]