Rob Machado is a busy man these days. Between scheduling an upcoming concert tour, showcasing his movie, and traveling the world for surf, it’s a wonder he has any free time at all. Amid a crammed schedule, we managed to pencil ourselves in for an interview to get his thoughts on going back on tour, dealing with nerves, and hosting a Pro Junior contest/superhero themed golf tournament. Yes, you read that last part right.
So you’ve got a concert tour coming up. Can you compare the feeling of going on stage versus putting on a jersey and competing in an important heat?
Yeah, there’s a lot of butterflies in both. That’s where they’re both similar to me. A lot of nerves. I’ve always thought that if you’re up there in an important heat or on stage performing and you’re not nervous, then something is wrong. To me, it means that you kinda quit caring. So the nerves are a good thing.
So when you see Kelly still winning events, is there ever a part of you that wants to go back on tour?
Yeah, there is a little part of me that wishes I could be back out there. But it takes so much work to get there and compete at that level. A lot of it is really mentally taxing. Like you’ll show up to an event and be feeling really good and your boards are really working good and you’ll lose in the first heat and be like, “what just happened?” And that can turn into a cycle where you start blaming things. Like your boards aren’t working or finding other reasons why you’re not surfing well. And then you have to pack your stuff and do it all over again in a few weeks. It can be really exhausting. So when I start thinking about all of that stuff, going back and competing isn’t quite as appealing.
That being said, it seems like your keeping yourself really busy. Between premiering your movie, traveling and playing music, and then still going on trips, you’ve got to keep a pretty full schedule.
Yeah, last year was really heavy. I think I was on the road for eight months or something like that. So when I got back home to Cardiff in January, I just wanted to take it easy for a while and just try and recharge my batteries.
So you’re hosting an upcoming junior event next month in your hometown. The Rob Machado ASP Seaside Pro Junior. Where’d the motivation to host an event at Seaside come from?
For me, Seaside’s a great venue because the wave is so varied—it’s kinda got it all. There’s sort of a suck-out section where you drop in, and then it sort of flattens out and is good for cutbacks, and the end section is really good for airs. So the wave has a lot of variety and I think it’s gonna be great to see a lot of the kids out there on such a versatile wave.
Growing up in Cardiff, you must have a pretty deep history with the wave.
Well sort of. When I was younger, it was really intimidating to me. It was far out and it was sort of heavy…yeah, it was just a whole other realm for me when I was a grom. And actually the first time I ever surfed out there was for a pro contest in 1987. After that, I was pretty much all about it.
The event’s going to benefit your nonprofit, the Rob Machado Foundation, can you talk about the foundation a bit?
Of course. The money we make is going for the Rob Machado foundation and we’re benefitting the Cardiff SEA foundation, which basically raises environmental awareness to local elementary students. We’ll try and teach them how important it is to take care of the ocean, talk to them about switching from plastic to stainless steel water bottles, and educate them about recycling.
There’s a golf tournament that accompanies the event as well that’s got a pretty interesting twist on it. Tell us about it.
Yeah, we try and have a lot of fun with the golf event. This year, it’s got a superhero theme to it. In the past, we’ve had some pretty fun themes, but this year’s gonna be classic. It’s all about not taking it too seriously and just having fun and raising money for a good cause.