When it comes to social media influencers, what most often comes to mind is fashionable selfies and dewy makeup tutorials. But for pro surfer Koa Rothman, it’s all about the waves.
The North Shore, Oahu, native grew up alongside some of Oahu’s heaviest surf-world hitters: his father Eddie Rothman—who Surfer magazine calls “notorious North Shore enforcer”—and brother, Makua, a famed big-wave surfer and 2015 Big Wave World Champion.
“I grew up feeling I had some pretty big shoes to fill…” Koa says in his 2019 self-produced documentary, "This is Livin'.”
Based on his YouTube channel of the same name, Koa is stepping into those shoes via his own definition of the (modern) surf life—in weekly video style. His channel showcases his strike-missions: finding and following the best waves around the world. From “the longest little left wave in the world” in Namibia to can't-miss super swells off the island of Nias, Indonesia, Koa has followed in his family’s footsteps—and made a life out of riding the world’s biggest waves.
Back on Oahu, we find Koa setting up to catch some recent South Shore swells at Ala Moana Bowls and Waikiki Beach. Perhaps not surprisingly, he loves watching the crystalline waves from his Outrigger Waikiki balcony—with his very own health bar, the Sunrise Shack, located in the resort’s lobby. The island’s Insta-friendly cafe is famous for its organic bullet coffees, smoothie bowls and today-is-a-good-day vibes, founded by Koa and a cadre of surfers and bodyboarders that are childhood friends.
Today, Koa spends most of his time away from his hometown in search of great waves around the world—and documenting every crazy reef pass and hard-won barrel along the way. Whether you’re a hyped-up grom just learning the ropes or an armchair adventurer, there is something magical about going along for the ride—and getting a glimpse into the entertaining and often enviable behind-the-scenes of the pro-surfer lifestyle. But, at the end of the day, there's nothing like coming home and enjoying livin' that staycation life.