It’s the one award every surfer hopes they don’t win, but Hawaiian Makua Rothman’s at least lived to tell the tale his huge wipeout at Fiji’s Cloudbreak.
The World Surf League awarded Rothman ‘Wipeout of the Year’ at its Big Wave Awards on Friday, saying the category highlights the true commitment and bravery of big wave surfing.
“This stage wrote me as someone to be reckoned with,” Rothman said at the ceremony in Redondo Beach, California.
“In 2002 as an 18-year-old boy, I caught the biggest wave ever ridden that year, a 66-foot wave, and it put me on the surfing map forever,” Rothman said, before paying tribute to former champ Sunny Garcia who remains in a serious condition in a Seattle hospital after being found unconscious at his home.
Garcia, 49, had previously talked about his experience with depression.
“Without all of the wonderful industry people working so hard, we wouldn’t get to surf beautiful waves.
“We’re just living the life we always knew. I love you Sunny [Garcia], I love you with all my heart. He is the epitome of a Hawaiian champion.”
Other winners included Andrea Moller for the largest paddle out wave surfed and Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker for Ride of the Year.