Makua Rothman: he dropped into an impossible ride

Makua Rothman has conquered the Billabong Pico Alto 2014, in Punta Hermosa, Peru. The final was held in 25-to-45 foot surf.

The Billabong Pico Alto 2014 opened the Big Wave World Tour 2014/2015 in scary conditions. Low clouds and grey skies, random hollow walls of water, bumpy wave faces, and unstable winds welcomed big wave surfers in Peru.

Wipeouts rapidly hit the fleet. Surfers got caught by the rolling whitewater or hit by falling heavy lips, which means that inflatable life vests were put to work. Jet skis also suffered at the hands of Pico Alto.

In the final heat, Makua Rothman defeated Anthony Tashnick, Shawn Dollar, Gabriel Villaran, Grant Baker and Greg Long. Once Pico Alto started pumping, Rothman dropped into a wave that walled up and looked nearly unrideable. But he tipped over the edge and held on across the steep face, earning a crowd-pleasing 9.40.

Looking utterly comfortable in the heavy surf, the score helped Rothman again surge ahead to sit at the top with a total of 25.47.

Grant 'Twiggy' Baker, the defending ASP BWWT Champion, didn't catch a wave until the final 10 minutes, when he made what was arguably the biggest wave of the day. But the bomb closed in and chased him into the wash for a hold-down.

Rothman's performance was unparalleled. The 2014 Billabong Pico Alto is his first ASP BWWT title ever and he triumphed with style.

"It's awesome. My daughter was born two days ago. I'm happy. Thank you to the ASP for recognizing big wave surfing. This is my home. My name is Makaukai, father of the sea," says an emotional Rothman.

"I went on the 'QS for years and just struggled, but this is where I belong. I am so honored to surf with Greg Long and Twiggy (Grant Baker) and Dollar (Shawn Dollar) and everyone who steps up and takes off on big waves. You are all the reason I'm here today."

The Billabong Pico Alto 2014 final was considered a Tier 2 clash (25-45 feet), which means Makua Rothman collects 12500 points for the overall rankings.

Billabong Pico Alto 2014 Results

1. Makua Rothman (HAW) 27.33
2. Anthony Tashnick (USA) 22.00
3. Shawn Dollar (USA) 20.26
4. Gabriel Villaran (PER) 16.80
5. Grant Baker (ZAF) 16.00,
6. Greg Long (USA) 7.00