Some days, you just can’t paddle. Well, you can try, and many do. But some waves on some days are just meant to be towed. Take this one for example. On January 14th, Makua Rothman—who has indeed proven himself many times over as one of the best big wave surfers on the planet—whipped into this bomb at Jaws. He doesn’t tow often, but when he does… watch out.
Makua Rothman knows his way around big waves, and when he’s on a board that allows real movement, it shows. “I haven’t towed it for eight years or something,” he said during the Da Hui Backdoor Shootout webcast. “To be able to go out there and surf the wave on a small board… get on a tow board, and you can hit the lip three times. You can pull in, come out; guys are going to be doing alley-oops. I mean, who knows? On a big paddleboard, you’re just going to go straight, draw a line, and pull in. That’s pretty much all you’re going to do on a wave that big. You’re not going to turn that board three times. It’s too much surface area. It drags too much. You got a 6’2 or a 6’0, you’re flying on that wave.”
Makua does the tow thing right, too. While there’ve been complaints for years at places like Jaws and Teahupoo where people have, in the past, brought out the skis unnecessarily, Rothman is among the respectful few who realize that towing and paddling are two different ball games and that they need to be treated as such. “A lot of those waves that Kai Lenny and myself towed into, surfers weren’t going to paddle into them,” he explained. “They’re just the ones that get away. Every time I went back out, I said, ‘if anybody can catch the wave, by all means, catch it.’ I’m on the shoulder. I’ll kick out. I wasn’t trying to surf through the pack, I was just trying to get a couple of waves.”
And get a couple of waves he did. This one, in particular, shot by Tony Heff, is an entry in the Ride of the Year Award category of the 2018 WSL Big Wave Awards, and ain’t that just the prettiest line you’ve ever seen?