HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Oahu native Makuakai Rothman was crowned the Big Wave Tour Champion in the 2014-2015 World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT) on Saturday.
The season was divided into the Southern Hemisphere and Northern Hemisphere, each hosting three possible events. The Southern Hemisphere season ran from April 15 to August 31, 2014 with venue options in Chile, Peru and South Africa. The Northern Hemisphere window ran from October 15, 2014 to February 28, 2015, with possible venues in Hawaii, Mexico and the Basque Country. A team of experts track swell systems all over the world waiting for those that will produce waves 30 feet and larger.
Rothman spent several years competing in the WSL Qualifying Series before he was offered a spot to compete in the BWT.
The opening BWT event was at the Billabong Pico Alto in Peru back in July 2014. The rookie Hawaiian battled 40-foot seas and beat out 24 other surfers to secure the top spot.
Rothman sealed the deal with a runner-up finish at the second and final BWT event of the season, the Punta Galea Challenge in the Basque Country in December 2014. Rothman fell second place to Nic Lamb (USA). The pair traded nine-point rides before Lamb took the win with a Perfect 10.
Rothman finished his first Big Wave season with a total of 20,833 points, nearly 7,000 points ahead of this year's runner up Gabriel Villaran of Peru.
Rothman is the second Big Wave Champion from Hawaii since the tour began in 2009. The other one is Jamie Sterling.
So what's next after becoming a World Champion?
"My next big challenge in surfing would be to defend my title and come back next year and dominate just as hard as I did this year and bring one, two, three, four, five more titles back to Hawaii," Rothman said.
Rothman will officially receive the title at the World Surf League Big Wave Awards this May.