Tom Carroll couldn’t believe his eyes. “Straightaway {{{Jimmy}}} just boosts this air and starts to rip this super tight, super hot form of surfing,” {{{recalls}}} Carroll of his recent trip to El Salvador. “I wasn’t quite ready for it. Jimmy was red hot, just tearing the bag out of it, and from growing up in the middle of nowhere, too. To see that is pretty inspirational.”

Tom’s not the only one, either. After spending nearly six months on the Indies Trader for Quiksilver’s Crossing trips throughout Central America and the Caribbean, more than a few top-notch surfers were taking notice of the Salvadorian shredder. The word was out. “He freakin’ rips,” claims Pipe charger Strider Wasilewski. “At righthand pointbreaks he’s absolutely unstoppable. Big airs, air 360s, straight up, tails slides, everything. He’s gnarly. Definitely the best surfer in Central America.”

“His surfing is amazing, and his attitude is so pure,” says feral Huntington Beach filmmaker Timmy Turner. “He’s so mellow, so humble, just the perfect guy to be on a boat with.” Even Indies Trader Captain Martin Daly, who’s certainly seen his share of quality surfers in his years of pioneering the Mentawais and directing Quiksilver’s global wave search, claims Jimmy is one of the best surfers he’s ever seen on The Crossing trips. But the question remains: having grown up in surfing isolation, is Jimmy Rotherham ready for the high-stakes sink-or-swim world of pro surfing, or is he just another flash in the pan of local yokel stoke-dom?

“Too many surfers take it all way too seriously,” says Jimmy from his beachfront home in La Libertad. “They’re getting paid to do something they love and they’re still bitching about it, like, oh there’s no {{{600}}} lens here; I’m over it. That’s what I hate. When I was in California, I knew there’s bunch of photographers and all that, but I just wanted to surf good waves with not too many people out. That’s what I love . . .” Nathan Myers