Makuakai Rothman Interview from the 2003 Towsurfer Vault

February 25, 3003

Makuakai Rothman     

From: North Shore, Ohau
DOB: 6-17-84
Age: 18 years old

Height: 5’10”

Weight: 180lbs.

Eyes: Hazel

Hair: Brown
Years Surfing: 16 years
Years Towing: 5 years
Other Interests: Diving, Hunting, Soccer, Fishing and What eva’z
Current Residence: North Shore, Ohau

Sponsors: Da’Hui, Oakley, Body Glove, Hansens, Honda and Lost Surfboards

Objectives: To get to the top!

Past Media Exposure: Mags and Movies

Goals: Get in top shape and be the best I can!

Makua Rothman
eXtreme Surfer and Waterman

Having grown up on the North Shore of Oahu and being constantly surrounded by big surf, power, and talent, it’s no wonder that Makua has become who he is at the early age of 18. With the many years of experience surfing Waimea, Sunset, Pipe and other spots it was just a matter of time before Makua and the evolution of Tow-In Surfing met. Makua first started training and towing the outer reefs of Ohau when he was 13, by the time he was 15, when most kids are learning how to do kickflips on a skateboard, he was riding his first wave at JAWS/Pe’ahi.

Less than two years later Makua displayed his talents and abilities along with his committed tow partner Ryan Rawson in the Jaws Tow-In World Cup taking 4th place. If this isn’t enough to imagine, just ten months later on November 26, 2002, Makua rode a wave at Jaws that some are calling the biggest wave ever ridden. This wave was captured by photographer Ron Dahlquist and has become a contender photo for this year’s Billabong Global XXL Big Wave Event. Makua has also been invited back to this year’s Jaws Tow-In World Cup along with partner Ryan Rawson.

One thing is for sure, Makua is climbing to the top of the “A” list of professional towsurfers in a mighty and dedicated fashion.While training and towing with his partner Ryan Rawson, Makua has committed himself more than ever to become a world class athlete and champion towsurfer. Unlike your average 18-year-old in today’s world where one lives somewhat of a carefree existence, Makua is one of the others that has a plan and is focused on where he is going and how he will get there.

I had the pleasure of meeting both Makua and his father Eddie during my last visit to the North Shore and here is what he had to say. Before towing Pe’ahi at the early age of 15, where did you do your training and towing which prepared you for the heaviest wave in the world?
I trained at Phantoms, Backyards, and Revelations whenever I could. Basically I started towing into 10’-15’ surf and worked my way up to the 20’ stuff and when I felt I had a good experience is when I wanted to tow Jaws. I remember my first board was on a 7’8″ with no straps, kind of a trip.

What was your first session like at Pe’ahi?
I was stoked on my first wave because it was a good size wave and I made it all the way to the end. I remember the session not being very user-friendly because it was super windy, kind of nuts. Laird told me that it was one of the windiest days he had ever seen with currents ripping. I didn’t care because I was having fun and I was towing with a supernatural high. Just rushing on life bra!

How was being in the JAWS Tow-In World Cup last year?
Ryan and I surfed really well during the event however it was obvious to us that the politics were in effect.

You and Ryan Rawson are in this year’s JAWS Tow-In World Cup once again. Having experience and confidence with your physical abilities, must add to your overall mental training? Tell us your thoughts.
My attitude is my main drive when I am out there. You have got to charge it as hard as you can and rip it up. I don’t like to think about anything else while I am doing so. Just go!

How do you channel your emotions of fear?
This is my high in life. It is kind of like I don’t experience fear much and I just do what comes natural and feels right. I use my emotions to my advantage when I’m surfing or towing big waves.

What people are most stoked about is how young you and Ryan are and how the both of you are going for it as hard, if not harder then the rest of the competitors. You guys are opening the eyes to many young riders that will follow your steps and look up to you for inspiration. How does this make you feel?
It makes Ryan and I feel really good about ourselves with what we are doing. We just want to do the best we can every time.

How does it feel knowing that you and Ryan are setting new standards for the young up and coming athletes?
To be honest, I am so young myself and still look up to a few of the guys like Laird. Knowing that there are younger guys looking up to Ryan and myself is kind of a trip.

Tell us about your tow partner Ryan Rawson and how you guys hooked up.
I was raised with Ryan. He has been one of my boys from day one. We were trained by the same person, Darrick Doerner (D.D.). Our friendship and what we are doing together today was just meant to be!

You caught one of the biggest waves during the November 26, 2002, Pe’ahi session. Some are calling it the biggest wave ever ridden out there and you have become one of the Billabong Global XXL Big Wave contenders for this years, tow-in division. How exciting is this for you?
I am stoked to be a contender, but I am not going to count my chickens before they hatch!

What will you do with all that money, if you win this year’s Billabong Global XXL event?
If I win, I will be even more stoked! On the other hand, every time I get my hopes up with something really good, something goes wrong. So my attitude is, if it happens, great!

I think it is great that you have so much support from your family. This is what it takes for young guys like yourself that want to take this sport seriously. As a young man who truly understands the meaning and level of support from a parent, what advice do you have for other parents that might be reading this?
Support your kids as much as you can!

What kind of training do you do?
A ton of cardio for my lungs so I can hold my breath really long and weight training. I like to lift but not really heavy. Lighter weights keep me loose and fit which is great for surfing.

How often do you and Ryan train when it’s flat?
We train a bunch of times during the week in flat water. Basically, tow flat water to Pipe and back and work on a bunch of drills and stuff.

How’s that big black truck of yours? That beast must attract all kinds of chicks!
No chicks are ever attracted to a truck that is owned by the bank!

So what, you got a girlfriend or a few that you hang with?
No chicks, just a few really good friends!

Are you like other 18-year-olds where you go out and party a ton or do you take your training very seriously?
Not much partying going on around here. I am very focused on my training and my goals.

What do you like to do for fun when you are not surfing?
Spear Fish, Soccer, Water Polo, Training, Hunt, and Sleep

Who has been your biggest role model in surfing?
Dane Kealoha, Sunny, Pancho, Andy, Bruce, JBG and Laird.

Do you have any plans to go to Tahiti this year or other spots to tow?
If and when I have the chance I will go anywhere I can.

What was the Expression Session like?
When I showed up at dawn for an early morning session before the Jaws event and saw 12’-15’ surf, I knew they weren’t going to have the contest. My partner Ryan was sick so I ended up towing with Raimana. When we were finished with our early session we just left and never even knew that there was going to be an Expression Session event.

Where do you like to paddle surf the most?
Where ever the waves are good.

How important is the whole safety aspect for you and Ryan while tow surfing?
Just like they say, “Safety First”! We try to be as safe as possible. We watch each other back at all times!!!

Where do you see yourself in five years?

What advice do you have for young up and coming surfers that want to pursue tow surfing?
When I get to the top, I’ll let you know. I myself am still an up and coming.

Thanks for a great interview Makua!
Yeah, Mahalo

© Copyright 2003 Akiskalian