For the next few months, North Shore hellman Koa Rothman will be dropping raw, docu-style edits on YouTube. Rather than showcasing his inimitable style and his unparalleled ability to slot himself in massive caverns with a high-action surf reel, Rothman’s decided to make these clips a little more intimate and behind-the-scenes. Of course there will be a little bit of surfing, but the goal, he tells us, is to give people an inside look at what transpires in the daily life of a traveling surfer. Throughout the rest of summer, Rothman will be jet-setting across the globe in search of waves and be recording everything in the process, letting viewers get an inside look at all the good, the bad, and the ugly that unfolds while on the road.
The first episode of “This is Livin’” dropped this morning, and features Rothman spending a few days around his home on the North Shore. Before he packs his board bags and starts his summer strike missions, we called up Rothman to get a little more insight into the forthcoming series.
What made you want to focus on the behind-the-scenes instead of making just a high-action series?
I think surfing reels and edits target such a small audience and I’d like to target everybody-even the people who hear about surfing and the lifestyle but don’t really care to watch surfing. It’ll be everything from the traveling to chasing swells to talking shit with friends. Even the partying or whatever happens on the trip. We’ll be showing how stressful traveling actually gets–like not scoring, not having the right board or someone not making their flight. Just stuff that happens everyday for us that I think is actually entertaining. I think we’re going to premiere a little short 10 to 15-minute film at the end of the year. We’ll see how it goes–nothing is set in stone.
What percentage of the year would you say you’re on the road?
I travel about 6 to 7 months out of the year just chasing swells and coming home when I can. This summer I really want to score Japan, Fiji, Indo, Namibia and Tahiti whenever it gets good.
So in the opening scene of this first episode, it looks like you’ve got a good amount of boards in the background–what does your normal traveling quiver look like?
If I was going to Indo I would probably bring nothing by shortboards, but if we’re going to Tahiti for a solid paddle swell I’d bring a couple 6’6″s, a 6’3″ and a shortboard. If we were going to a big wave we’ll bring our 10’0″s.
Maybe a foil. It’s really fun once you get the hang of it. I’m actually going out with John [Florence] right now to foil. It’s as windy as North Shore gets so we’re going like 2 miles out to sea and are going to tow into wind chops.
You ride for Pyzel. How’s your relationship with him?
He’s my neighbor so I see him pretty much every day.
I imagine it’s nice having a good relationship with your shaper when going on strike missions and needing to trust what’s under your feet without having to deliberate too long over what boards to bring.
I’m so comfortable on his boards-especially his bigger ones in Tahiti and at Pipe-I can just feel them and know that they’ll be good. If I pick up a different board that I’m not comfortable with, I don’t have that same confidence that I would have if I had my go-to 6’6″. Good boards are really important.
It also looks like you scored a fun Pipe session-when was that?
It was the other day! It was really random because it’s super late for Pipe to be working like that. I just surfed pipe today actually. I got a little barrel. It’s making it really hard to leave home at this point [laughs].