Hawaiian Makua Rothman claimed victory at the Billabong Pico Alto event in Peru, battling 40ft seas and a field of the world’s best watermen to take out the first event of the 2014/2015 ASP BWWT season and take an early rating's lead.
Rothman swooped in just the right side of glory, sticking a monster drop which stretched credulity after bouncing along waiting for the wave to open up. He must have aced physics in high school.
“I didn’t even know what was going on during that wave (his 9.40 out of a possible 10),” Rothman said. “I thought I was going over the falls, but I figured I’d just try and hang on. I’m just stoked to be here and stoked to win. This is my first event ever on the Big Wave World Tour and I can’t put into words what this means.”
The six-man final boasted a “who’s who” of the global big wave community with reigning world champion Grant “Twiggy” Baker, leading Greg Long, Gabriel Villaran, Shawn Dollar and Anthony Tashnick into the brink, but it was newcomer Rothman that came out on top, announcing himself as a major threat on the BWWT.
“This was so great to have waves here in Peru,” Rothman said. “I went on the ‘QS for years and just struggled, but this is where I belong. I am so honoured to surf with Greg Long and Twiggy (Grant Baker) and Dollar (Shawn Dollar) and everyone who steps up and takes off on big waves. You are all the reason I’m here today.”
A new father, Rothman left straight from the hospital to hop on a plane and travel to Peru - a risk that would pay off in a career-changing win for the new family man as well as an ignited fervour in challenging for the big wave crown.
“I just want to say I love you to my daughter who was born two days ago,” Rothman said. “I wore her hospital bracelet the whole time and now I can’t take it off. I don’t even know what to say, I’m happy.”
The only slight blip to this great event was at the start of Heat 4 when Carlos Burle and Adur Letamendia took off on a set wave which was missed by the cameras and the judges. Adur ended up taking eight waves on the head whilst the water patrol shimmied in and out of the remaining set waves trying to pluck him out, and eventually picking him up way inside. Later in the heat he took a medium sized wave which he assumed was a backup and enough to see him progress. It was scored as his main wave and he lost out. Fortunately for Carlos he found another couple and progressed.
"Peter Mel and the Tour were very apologetic after the heat and there are no hard feelings as I had a good sesh and saw some incredible takeoffs." Said a still stoked Adur. "Moving on, they will now have a dedicated camera trained on the peak so it will not happen again. I might have lost out but at least I have helped the BWWT to improve for the next event."
Loads more highlights here.
Billabong Pico Alto Final Results:
1. Makua Rothman (HAW) 27.33
2. Anthony Tashnick (USA) 22.00
3. Shawn Dollar (USA) 20.26
4. Gabriel Villaran (PER) 16.80
5. Grant Baker (ZAF) 16.00
6. Greg Long (USA) 7.00
Billabong Pico Alto Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Makua Rothman (HAW) 18.99, Greg Long (USA) 13.00, Grant Baker (ZAF) 12.84, Miguel Tudela (PER) 9.13, Jamie Sterling (HAW) 6.73, Rafael Velarde (PER) 5.86
SF 2: Gabriel Villaran (PER) 23.76, Shawn Dollar (USA) 21.87, Anthony Tashnick (USA) 21.44, Carlos Burle (BRA) 19.57, Ben Wilkinson (AUS) 19.21, Nick Lamb (USA) 17.03
Billabong Pico Alto Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Miguel Tudela (PER) 21.99, Makua Rothman (HAW) 17.54, Greg Long (USA) 16.51, Ken Collins (USA) 13.66, Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 11.66, A. Loret de Mola (PER) N/S
Heat 2: Rafael Velarde (PER) 21.73, Jamie Sterling (HAW) 18.51, Grant Baker (ZAF) 16.49, Sebastian de Romana (PER) 11.66, Ramon Navarro (CHL) 8.34, Kohl Christenson (HAW) 6.34
Heat 3: Gabriel Villaran (PER) 20.67, Nic Lamb (USA) 14.33, Ben Wilkinson (AUS) 10.00, Tyler Fox (USA) 9.16, Ryan Augestein (USA) N/S, Tamil Martino (PER) N/S
Heat 4: Carlos Burle (BRA) 19.56, Anthony Tashnick (USA) 17.46, Shawn Dollar (USA) 16.87, Grant Washburn (USA), Kodiak Semsch (EUK) 12.33, Adur Letamendia (EUK) 11.34