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Koa Rothman

  • Name: Koa Rothman
  • Date of Birth: 16/12/93
  • Hometown: North Shore, Hawaii

  • If Koa Rothman is afraid of anything, he hasn't shown it - we’ve yet to see a wave that he's backed down on. Born and bred into a big name family on the North Shore, Koa took it upon himself to create his own legacy in surfing. He grew up with one of the best North Shore generations in history, which includes close friend John John Florence. While Koa rips smaller waves, he thrives when it’s bombing. He’s wrangled memorable waves at Pipe, Jaws and Maverick’s, and he persistently shoves the boundaries of high performance in big-wave surfing. And, most importantly, he has a lot of fun while doing it.



@koarothman has been pretty much been livin, on an appropriately titled video series that gives you a behind the scenes look into his charmed life - Come back here to find the series as it rolls out.


Episode 37: 

Surfboard Review & Surfing Pipeline



Episode 36: 

The Da Hui Backdoor shootout



Episode 35: 




Episode 34: 

Chasing Mavericks Pt. 2



Episode 33: 

Chasing Mavericks & Pipe Masters



Episode 32: 

Pipeline's not always good!



Episode 31: 

Eddie Aikau Opening Ceremony & Beach Days



Episode 30: 

Koa Rothman gets wildcard at Jaws (Peʻahi) Big Wave World Tour



Episode 29: 

Keiki Shorebreak and Beach Party



Episode 28: 

Foiling & Surfing NorthShore



Episode 27: 

"Last Days In Tahiti (Teahupo'o)"




Episode 26: 

"Surfing Secret Spots In Tahiti"



Episode 25: 

"Tahitian Dream (Surfing Teahupo'o)"




Episode 24: 

"Keiki Shorebreak & Winter Prep"




Episode 23: 

"Pipeline Turns On!"



Episode 22: 

"Hurricane Swell"



Episode 21: 

"California to Hawaii"





Episode 20: 

"California Part 2"





Episode 19: 

"California Part 1"




Episode 18: 

"Summer Time"



Episode 17: 




Episode 16: 

"Indonesia, Bali For A Day"



Episode 15: 

"Nias part 2"



Episode 14: 

"Indonesia Part 1"



Episode 13: 

"The Sunrise Shack"






Episode 12: 

"Back Home"






Episode 11: 

"Africa Part 2"





Episode 10: 







Episode 9: 

"Late Season Swell"





Episode 8: 

"Training Day"




Episode 7: 

"Fiji Pt 4"





Episode 6: 

"Fiji Pt 3"





Episode 5: 

"Fiji Pt 2"



Episode 4: 

"Fiji Pt 1"





Episode 3: 

"Home Pt 3"



Episode 2: 

"Home Pt 2"



Episode 1: 




This is the first Episode of a series Featuring Koa Rothman and friends as they travel the world searching for the best waves and good times.


It’s fair to say that Koa Rothman has had a lot of wipeouts. Like, a lot of wipeouts.

We’re talking waves the size of buildings crashing down on his back. Hold-downs that would make Jacque Cousteau blue in the cheeks. Violent tropical thrashings that send him bouncing like a rag doll off of some foreign reef.

Such is life when you’re as fearless as Koa.

But, just recently, Koa experienced the worst wipeout of his entire career. And in came in quite the unusual form. He was surfing a not-to-be-named spot, got barreled and just as he was coming out, he copped a stranger’s surfboard right in the face. Here’s the footage and Koa’s explanation.

“I’m in the barrel, and all of a sudden I saw this like flash of red — it was this guy’s board. I put my head down a little bit, ‘cause it was coming straight to my face and it just cleaned me out on the side of my head. And as soon as that happened, my teeth shattered together on top of each other. Broken in half. And as soon as that happened, I hit the water and swallowed my teeth.”

Ever felt a big wave board? There’s a lot of foam there. And they’re built to be extraordinarily heavy — not exactly the type of object you want beelining at your face.

When Koa made it back to the surface, he was convinced that something was severely wrong with his. He asked someone in the lineup to describe his injury, and they said they couldn’t see any damage. Until he smiled, that is. Bad news for his teeth. Good news for his temple.

Koa was concussed. And he sprained his neck. And he’s got five new teeth. And he plans on being back in the water in five weeks. As for his mindset?

I’m not mad at the person who ditched their board, I’m just happy I’m not worse. If it hit me a little bit differently, I could have been blind or even dead.”

Here’s to a speedy recovery, you trooper.

Down time at home! @coleyamane

A post shared by Ezekiel Lau (@zekelau) on

The CT has a very intense, very demanding schedule and time between events should should be spent relaxing — rookie Zeke Lau didn’t get that memo.

Goes fishing once** @lauraenever

A post shared by Stephanie (@stephaniegilmore) on

There are only two times in Fiji. Contest time, and leisure time. Here’s Steph Gilmore with a quick look at the latter.

Waiting for the swell with @cody_young_ like.... @carlocoral

A post shared by Kanoa Igarashi (@kanoaigarashi) on

Kanoa Igarashi. Cody Young. Firing Keramas. What more do you need?

Fun surf at the @wavegarden_official the other day! @guillaume_arrieta

A post shared by Jeremy Flores (@floresjeremy) on

Believe the wave pool hype. Believe in Jeremy Flores’ rail game while you’re at it.

Koa Rothman is not in the upcoming WSL event in Fiji…but here’s a reminder that he probably should be.

See that face? That smile? Get used to it. We don’t want to jinx it, but we’d say there’s about a 300% chance Jesse Mendes will be on the CT next year.

A few before the @vans_za surf pro classic , which starts today /// @vanssurf /// @lee_man

A post shared by Michael February (@thevibesrgood) on

Can’t teach style — you either have it or you don’t. Luckily, Mikey Feb’s got plenty.


Every generation of surfing has had a crew of surfers who thrive at Pipeline. But over the years, there have been a select few who have flat-out owned the place in their prime.

We’re talking guys like Butch Van Artsdalen, Gerry Lopez, Tom Carroll, Derek Ho, Kelly Slater and Jamie O’Brien. Guys that seem to have a bizarre, almost-psychic rhythm with the wave. Guys that have shoved surfing forward one tube at a time.

Koa Rothman is putting his name in that category.

He’s been doing well at Pipe for a while — getting covers, making noise, etc. But this year was a banner one for him. He won both the Backdoor Shootout and Wave Of The Winter. Thats’ huge — it’s a feat nobody else has ever accomplished. Seasons don’t really don’t get any better than this.

Let him take you through the winning wave, right here. Congrats Koa!

It’s amazing when it all comes together. When a storm creates a wave that ripples across an entire ocean, finds its way to a foreign shore and is met by someone who is willing and able to ride it perfectly. The whole process is bizarre. And beautiful. And mostly insane. We couldn’t love it more.

Every wave is unique and, for lack of a better word, they all have personality. In Hawaii, a single one can make or break a career, humble you, hurt you, kill you or create a euphoric experience you’ll never forget. This season, we’re committed to showing you the wildest moments between man and wave meet. Our riders are going to give you raw and honest insight on what made the best (or most brutal) waves they’ve wrangled unique. We’re calling it #ThisWave and we’re inviting you to join us for the ride — follow us on Instagram to do just that.

We will keep this page updated with all the latest #thiswave posts, so keep an eye on it.

The opening ceremony for the Quiksilver In Memory Of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational is one of surfing’s grandest gatherings. The best big wave riders in the world all converge at Waimea Bay. They come with boards, they come with respect, and they take part in native ceremonies there in the sacred sand. Eventually, they paddle out and form a prayer circle in the lineup — silhouettes of superheroes shadow off into sea as the sun melts into the Pacific. It really is something.

Koa Rothman spent the 2015-16 Hawaiian season focused on two things, making barrels, and riding big ass waves. Sit back, hit play and feel the jealousy rise.


Arguably one of the best Pipeline shots we have seen this winter.


Committed. Shot: Bielmann

When Pipe’s pumpin’ you know where to find Koa Rothman. Shot: Heff

Jeremy Flores

"This was one of the most memorable afternoons for me from the #quikpro. I knew the waves would get good as soon as the tide started to push back in and I really wanted to shoot with Jeremy Flores. This was my last day and his as well before bailing to Portugal for the WCT event.

After a few minutes conversation on the phone, Jezza said he would come down for a surf, he had such a hectic, busy day and could have easily brushed me off. It was around 6pm and the light was amazing, the waves were so much fun. Jeremy destroyed it, going for big turns and airs. This was shot just down the track from where the Quiksilver WCT house is situated, not a bad peak to have out the front of your place.

To top off the afternoon, Josh Kerr who was also surfing with Jeremy came in, got dressed and walked over to me with a bag. The bag had a bottle of red wine, baguettes and other goodies. Jeremy came in and we sat and watched the sun go down on an epic afternoon in France."

Dane Reynolds

"This was shot at a break called Les Estagnot, it was a peak that offered rippable right and left handers, it was 4 foot and really clean. I texted Dane earlier to let him know it was fun, i knew it was his last day in France but i was not sure he had time for a surf.

I was already on the beach when Dane was coming down. I knew if he got the right waves it would be a slaughter with displaced chunks of ocean getting sprayed everywhere. Another great afternoon in France."

Leo Fioravanti

"The night before this shot was taken, there was froth and excitement, people running around organising jet skis and preparing for the big swell to hit. Leo and Mikey shared a ski and were doing step offs, i was on the beach trying to locate them as there were a few others out on skis doing the same.

Finally i got my sights on them, they were 200 meters north of the contest, Leo had a bright green wetsuit on so it was easy to spot the boys. This was the best wave Leo got in 3 hours, definitely his cleanest. He got tubed on a few others, but the wave in this shot was really perfect.

Leo is ripping and has made a remarkable comeback after back surgery from a horrific wipeout and Pipeline. Every day the kid gets stronger and confident, it's great to see, i hate to see anyone with such talent injured."

Mikey Wright

"This was the same day as the Leo shot. We got up really early, the sun doesn’t hit the water until about 8.15am, it's still kind of dark even then.

Then the next problem was the fog, had to wait for it to lift before i could get a clear shot. Mikey got this one about 500 meters north of the Quik Pro WSL event. For me it was the cleanest and best shaped wave Mikey caught in 3 hours. i love his style and the flair on the wave, not to mention he rips."

Koa Rothman

"This was the first time I shot with Koa Rothman, such a nice polite kid. i was really impressed with his backhand surfing, this right was really testing him and he smashed it.

As you can see, he has a smooth and graceful style, this was shot at Les Estagnot one late afternoon."

Dane Reynolds

"This afternoon was so crazy, people started flocking to the beach when they saw Dane and Mikey run down for a surf at a break called Les Estagnot.

It was wild, people were clapping, whistling, ooohs and aaaahs after every turn or air, having a great afternoon. With standing room only being behind me on the hill, it was chockers with lots of frothers enjoying the free show of power surfing at its most radical.

I love when people are passionate about watching surfing as they are when watching football."

Mikey Wright

"Kanoa rrocked up to France out of the blue, he was just in Portugal competing and decided to come to Hossegor for 3 days. He knew Pierre, the CEO of Quiksilver, was holding a massive barbecue for the athletes and staff. Kanoa loves food and there was no way he was going to miss out on a free banquet..

Here he is the morning after the banquet, punting in front of some grommets full of food and full of energy. Beats me how he got that high."

Kanoa Igarashi

"It was the Dane and Mikey show at Les Estagnot, France. That's Jimmy Graham filming with another filmer, Nick Pollet, looking on as Mikey impresses."

Dane Reynolds

"Another moment of Dane in the Dane and Mikey show!"

Michael Dunphy

"First time i shot this Dunphy and he f'n rips. His front side hacks are nuts, can’t wait to shoot him in perfect rights with big hack sections."

What you’re witnessing here is Koa Rothman absolutely manhandling the now famous Kandui swell from a few months ago. Check it out.

Koa Rothman, Nathan Florence and Kiron Jabour took on the Code Red swell at Teahupoo. Check out some darn heavy waves.
Koa Rothman, 20 year old Hawaiian big wave surfer, is always charging. The above clip, which you've probably watched twice already, features some of his latest barrels, plus the Teahupoo death slab that won him two awards at the XXL awards last weekend – Tube of the Year and Wipeout of the Year – for the same wave.

So what does it feel like getting rolled by a Teahupoo monster? Koa talks us through it.

Congrats on the double-win this year – when did it feel like it was going from barrel of the year to wipeout of the year? What happened? What was going through your mind?
Well, as I was towing into that wave everyone in the lineup was trying to go and Laird looked back and said, ‘This is your fucking wave! You better go!!!’ and I was like, ‘I guess I'm going.’

I let go of the rope and thought, ‘Oh okay, it’s bigger than I thought it was going to be.’

I got to the bottom and it was sucking up harder than anything I’ve ever seen and I remember trying to stay as straight as I could and just losing all my speed from the barrel sucking in so hard. I remember falling onto my back and realizing how big it really was and watching the biggest lip I’ve ever seen land next to my head.

Then when I fell it felt like it went silent for five seconds then it felt like I got hit by a semi-trailer truck and it dragged me around for about forty seconds. I thought I was going to die.

You’ve had multiple barrels and wipeouts, how does the win this year stack up against the others?
I’ve never actually won anything so this was just beyond anything I could imagine, and that wave was the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced – the ride and wipeout.

How did you feel the next day? How was your body feeling?
The next day I was just happy my brother was ok, he had hit his face on the reef really bad and needed surgery. I was feeling really sore and could barely surf – my whole body was sore, even my fingertips.

Compared to a lot of the other big wave surfers, you’re pretty young. How old were you when first started charging the bigger waves?
I think when I first started surfing big waves, like really big waves, I was probably 17, but even when I was a little kid I wanted to be out there.

What’s the plan for this year? Any trips coming up or are you going to hang at home?
I think this year I'm just gonna chase perfect waves around the world with good friends. Actually I think I see a huge swell going to Tahiti – haha.

Follow @KoaRothman and @Quiksilver on Instagram