Rothman Named World’s Best

Life is good for Makua Rothman.

The North Shore surfer became a father for the first time last year, and he also was named the world’s best by World Surf League March 2. Rankings are based on points earned during the 2014 Big Wave Tour, and Rothman took the title with 20,833 points, besting second-place finisher Gabriel Villaran of Peru by more than 7,000 points.

“This is such an honor,” said 31-year-old Rothman. “I can’t tell you what an experience it is to be recognized for doing something you love. It is what I’ve dreamed about.”

Rothman began surfing at the age of 2 and achieved worldwide fame at 18, when he rode a 66-foot wave — the biggest wave ridden that year — at Jaws surf break off Maui. For taking the top spot at the 2003 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards, he won $66,000 — $1,000 for each monster foot.

Rothman’s dream almost didn’t come true. As a child, he suffered from asthma. In a sport where controlled breathing is crucial, Rothman was at a major disadvantage. His father, Da Hui surf club founder Eddie Rothman, put his son in a number of sports to reduce the effects of asthma. It worked.

The surfer-turned-singer-songwriter also has been touring in support of his debut album Sound Wave, a laid-back, pop-inflected reggae-rock album celebrating his local lifestyle.