Extreme Soundtracks Vol. 2: Makua Rothman

Extreme Soundtracks Vol. 2: Makua Rothman

Extreme Soundtracks is a column profiling professional extreme sports athletes and the role music has played in their life.

Created by twin sisters Stefanie and Suzanne Sanchez


TP: Can I just say that when I saw your post on Instagram about the World Surfing Federation regarding the current state of affairs of professional surfing! You are so proactive with surfing and behind the scenes of it!

MR: My Ancestors created the sport. I’m going to take the initiative as someone whose blood is connected to the origins of the ocean. My people are warriors, and we continue our fight to this day. I want to spread the Aloha as much as I can.


TP: That’s right, it’s in the blood! When was your turning point when you knew you were going to ride big waves? 

Courtesy of Sean Stanley

MR: It was just something that happened. I rode bigger waves because I was fat. Everyone would tease me, and I wasn’t a good competitive surfer. I really lacked the skills and being shy. I found a way, rather than shelling up, to make my mark. My name Makuakai- means “Guardian of the Sea”. I was homeless on the beach at one point. My safe place was the ocean. I could go into the ocean, and I wouldn’t have to feel that hurt anymore, and it would be gone. You know, some people are just not nice. All this “kumbaya” in the world is cool, but in the real world it’s not always a nice place. When you’re young you don’t understand that, and the ocean is a place where it’s safe. I watched that movie Moana, and I felt so much like I could relate to it. My story is that no matter where you come from, and what you have gone through, you can do anything you want in life.

If you believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything. It took a lot of hardships and a lot of mistakes to get where I am today and the way I look at the world. I don’t think we ever stop learning.


TP: I saw you wishing your mom happy birthday on Instagram. You guys look tight!

MR: Well, it’s been a trip, because me and mom were not always tight. My mom was kind of dealt a hand that made this an unfortunate situation. It was just that we were not dealing with such nice people around us at the time, and mom had to do what she had to do. I guess forgiveness is a big part of learning and growing up. You know, my next single coming out, the lyrics are pretty harsh. The first lyrics of the song is “Momma always wished I had never been born.” This song is probably the closest thing to how it was growing up for me. As I am sure a lot of people growing up also went through it also.

I just try my best to love my mom because she gave me life. I try my best to be a good person. It’s up to us to choose our actions and reactions with everyday life. We shouldn’t let what happened in the past dictate who we are today. You are going to go through life with pain and suffering; it’s inevitable. Even Jesus, look at him, up on the cross. We can compartmentalize it or whatever, to make excuses why we aren’t doing what we want in life. It is just a crutch. Consistency is everything. Do it 100 percent and give it your all.  I think love and Aloha conquers all!


Courtesy of Lyon Heron

TP: Your latest release “HOOKED” is amazing! Tell us about the inspiration for this song.

MR: It is about a dark part of my life, and using a woman as a medium represents anything whether it’s a relationship or anything you are hooked to but can’t let go of. We all have these little crutches in our lives, and many of us consciously say one thing, and mean another. Talk is cheap and action is everything. Everyone has Aloha; the Hawaiians just have a word for it. Aloha comes from the heart, comes from your gut, and it comes from your ancestors. Words mean nothing a lot of the time. Your actions that you put out are going to come back for sure.


TP: Six months ago, you released “The One and Only”. It’s such an intense song!

MR: Yea, that song-like most of my songs-you will hear a lot of pain in them.


TP: I think that is another reason why I love them so much.

MR: You’re going to hear it in my next song, called ” All I Ever Wanted “.  I’m pretty sure that’s the one. It has some pretty cool lyrics. It’s going to follow up to “The One and Only” and “HOOKED”.  It’s gonna be a banger! One of my good friends is so inspiring to me and one of the biggest inspirations of my life: Grant Korgan.  He just became the first FFA Certified Paraplegic Pilot. He was a physicist, and he had a terrible accident. It could have gone either way. My kids were asking me why he is the happiest, most positive guy, and I told them because he chooses to be. He isn’t letting whatever his circumstances dictate his positivity and to watch him snowboard and ski, everything about him and the vibe you get, it is so positive, and he is such a special person.


TP: Are you focused on music and your show and everything pretty much? 

MR: I am just trying to keep it all together!


TP: Haha, you are a conqueror!

MR: I gotta practice what I preach! Like I said, talk is cheap! I make mistakes every day. I’m not too big to say that I can always do better. Between music and surfing, well, I really miss surfing, I was thinking about that the other day. I really miss the ocean. It’s given me everything I have; to my relationships and everything I have has come from the sea. And I have been really neglecting that part lately. I had knee surgeries, and those are just excuses that are keeping me where I am supposed to be. The music really helps though. The world seems like it’s going through a tough time. I hope people can relate and know that they can choose to change it. They can come from a situation and have a better life.

This buddy of mine, Jasen, is the epitome of forgiveness and thoughtfulness. He says this saying, “Make a pie, share the pie”. He is someone that really helped me change my mental space and put me on that journey. I’ve been fortunate enough to have these people come into my life to help me. We all need help man. We can’t do this stuff alone. Everybody needs their team. You need to surround yourself with people that are better than you, and that are leveling up.  A lot of people like to have you around so they can suck you down to their negativity. This music has really been good for me.

Surfing was sucking me dry, and I was surrounding myself with the wrong people. And I really enjoy music because it’s a part of our life. Hawaii, the islands, and every culture around here, you cannot go anywhere without hearing or being in music. It was a form of communication for us at one time. It’s in our DNA, and a big part of my life right now. I wasn’t just put on this earth to be a surfer. I just wrote a children’s book, acting on a TV show and have had so many blessings coming my way. I will try and do as much as I can on this earth because I am only here for so long. It would be shameful to be like, “I should’ve done that”.


TP: Do you think you will come to Florida again anytime soon? 

MR: Hopefully we will be on Reggae Rise Up! We did a few dates in Florida. We were on tour with Steel Pulse. We recently did a show for Gerry Lopez. He is so kind. Throughout his life he learned a lot and now at this point, he is all Aloha. He said that life is a journey and to just enjoy the ride! My father Eddie Rothman also is such a strong person to do what he has done and be where he is at in his life now. It is a testament. I want to be there for my children and help them do the right thing.


TP: You are such an amazing soul and wonderful human being; we cannot wait to see what you are going to conquer next!

MR: Like my sweatshirt I have on right now says, “ALOHA IS FOREVER”. Love yourself, and you are the only one that knows what you are doing when no one is watching. You know what, don’t do anything half-assed. Do it all the way! Nobody’s likes a half-assed attempt. Aloha!


–> Listen to Makua Rothman and follow on Instagram