Congratulating and Recognizing Makuakai Rothman 2015 World Surf League Big Wave World Champion

17 10 2017

Chairman Emeritus Ernie Martin recognized Makuakai Rothman for his contributions to our community and for being the 2015 World Surf League Big Wave World Champion at the Honolulu City Council.

Big Wave World Champion, Makuakai (Makua) Rothman was born and raised on the iconic North Shore of Oahu from humble beginnings where he started surfing at the age of two. Appropriately, Makuakai translates to father of the sea. For as long as he can remember, Makua felt a calling to the ocean where he has spent countless hours, surfing his way to numerous awards beginning in 1994 when he won the 1st Keiki Award for the Local Motion/MCD Surf into Summer Competition. He attributes his surfing ability in large part to his father, Eddie Rothman who shared his love of the sea with Makua and his two younger brothers Koa and Lono.

Makua was crowned the 2015 Big Wave World Champion in the World Surf League’s first sanctioned Big Wave World Tour on February 28, 2015. He began surfing some of Hawaii’s biggest waves, including Pipeline and Sunset Beach before the age of ten. At eight-years-old he surfed 12-foot Waimea waves and by the age of 13 he had emerged as one of Hawaii’s most promising young surfers. At 18 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.

In 2012 Makua began his journey in music, a passion he shares with his family of entertainers, grandmother Grace Costa and grandfather Robert Costa who always encouraged his love of music, keeping an ukulele ready at all times. He was taught by notable local entertainers including Israel Kamakawiwoole who encouraged Makua to sing for Hawaii and on behalf of the Hawaiian people, honoring where he came from and who he is as a Hawaiian. Makua released his first full-length album, Sound Wave in 2013 which debuted as the #1 Billboard World Album on iTunes and peaked as the #1 Billboard Reggae Album in December 2013. He is currently in the process of recording his second album, Keep Aloha.

Makua overcame various obstacles during his childhood including asthma which made surfing a difficult and dangerous pursuit. However, he always reminded himself that if he just kept on going things would work out. He has turned his struggles into a platform from which he encourages others to make their mark in the world and always remember that tomorrow is another day. He is involved with various organizations such as Mauli Ola, a non-profit that provides opportunities for children with cystic fibrosis and works with any child with a genetic disorder. He is also involved with AccesSurf and Surfers Healing. Makua aspires to organize the Makua Rothman Foundation and establish an athletic facility for children and youth on the North Shore.

Makua Rothman is also a family man and takes great pride in instilling all he has learned through his many life experiences to his children: Thor, Hikianalia and Kaleoalii wih his fiancée Nalani Itomura.

Therefore, on behalf of the people of the City and County of Honolulu, the Honolulu City Council congratulates and recognizes Makuakai Rothman on being named the 2015 World Surf League Big Wave World Champion. Further, the Council extends its sincere appreciation for his many contributions and dedication to be an ambassador of Hawaii and advocate for his culture and wishes him continued success in all future endeavors.


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