Makuakai (Makua) Rothman (born June 17, 1984) is an American big wave rider, professional surfer and musician. On February 28, 2015, he was crowned the 2015 Big Wave World Champion in the World Surf League’s (WSL) first sanctioned Big Wave World Tour (BWWT).
Makuakai (Makua) Rothman, is Jewish, born to an American Portuguese father and a Hawaiian mother, on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.
An accomplished professional big wave surfer and aspiring musician, Rothman was crowned the 2015 Big Wave World Champion. Rothman achieved a milestone in surfing at age 18 when 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)
Makua Rothman performing on a USO tour at Ramstein Air Base in 2019
Rothman had not considered music as a career until 2012, when his friend Rob Garcia told him that people should hear his music. 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 a full-length album in 2013, Sound Wave, 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. Sound Wave debuted as the #1 Billboard World Album on iTunes and peaked as the #1 Billboard Reggae Album on December 28, 2013.
In 2017, Rothman guest performed on Goldfinger’s album The Knife, playing ukeke on “Liftoff”. He has also partnered with Hawaiian youth organizations to create programs for local youth at-risk.