Makuakai (Makua) Rothman was born on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. An accomplished professional big wave surfer and aspiring musician, Makua was crowned the 2015 Big Wave World Champion. Makua’s first win came at the age of 18-years-old where he won the 2002 Billabong XXL Award for riding a 66-foot wave at Jaws (the largest wave known to be surfed anywhere in the world that winter).
Before he was 10-years-old, Makua was surfing some of Hawaii’s notable and dangerous waves, including Pipeline and Sunset Beach. When Makua was eight, he surfed 12-foot Waimea ~ an accomplishment that’s nearly unthinkable.
By the time he was 13, Rothman had emerged as one of Hawaii’s most promising young surfers. Surrounded by legends of surfing – Sunny Garcia, Muyles Padaca, Johnny Boy Gomes, and Dane Kealoha, to name a few – Rothman was taught how to dive, surf, farm and hunt. He credits these men as role models who instilled values of leadership and respect.
Music was a source of constant inspiration for Makua, but he never considered it as a career until 2012, when friends and family encouraged him to pursue his dreams. 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.” Since then, he’s released his full-length album 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.
Leading into 2016, Makua’s aspirations have turned to helping the troubled youth of Hawaii. Heavy planning is underway to partner with some of Hawaii’s renowned athletes, celebrities and community organizers to help educate and nurture the future people of Hawaii. Makua states, “Surfing is my life and music is what I love. I’ve been blessed to travel the world, encountering different traditions and cultures, which has been a beautiful experience and privilege. But no matter where I am, whether it’s on a big wave in Costa Rica or on a big stage in New York, Hawaii will forever have my heart.”