Robert Edward Machado (better known simply as Rob Machado) (born October 16, 1973, Sydney, Australia) is an Australian-born American professional surfer from Cardiff-by-the-Sea, a community in Encinitas (San Diego County), California.
Machado attended San Dieguito High School, and is known for his casual, “laid-back” style both in and out of the water taught. Though he rides a modern tri-fin shortboard, he is still considered a “soul-surfer” largely because of his soft-spoken, humble personality and his disinterest in the spotlight, along with his fluid surfing style, which has earned him the nickname “Mr. Smoothy.” He is one of the best-known goofy-foot surfers in the world today. His style influences include Gerry Lopez, California’s masters of style duo Oliver Lobdell and Taylor Lobdell, who he saw surfing on soft tops at River Jetties in 1990 and has tried to emulate their styles ever since.
Rob has won many of pro surfing’s most prestigious contests, including Hawaii’s Pipeline Masters (Triple Crown of Surfing), and the U.S. Open of Surfing, the largest surfing event held on the U.S. mainland. His 2006 win in that competition was only his latest at Huntington Beach, and it came on the heels of his victory at the 2006 Monster Energy Pro (also held at Pipeline) on Oahu’s North Shore. Also, Rob was on the “West” team that won the 2006 Summer X Games surfing competition, called “The Game,” held each year in Mexico.
He is now retired from the WCT (World Championship Tour), but was among the top contenders until injuries began plaguing him in the past few years. Nevertheless, he’s finished in the top three of the world in the year-end rankings twice. Since retiring, he has concentrated on a select few surfing competitions that are close to his heart. The surfing magazines and his videos and films keep him in the public eye.
Rob hosts and participates in an annual event held at his home reef called the Rob Machado Surf Classic and Beach Fair, which is an amateur competition for the locals of all ages, and it includes demo sessions with Rob and other pros, as well as a lunchtime break when he talks with kids and gives them pointers. The competition crowns a King and Queen of the Reef for the best overall performances in a combination of surf-related events over the weekend.
Currently, Rob is still frequently voted in surf magazine polls as readers’ favorites, and has many sponsors, including Hurley, Reef, and Nixon. Machado is a very good friend of and served as an inspiration to quadriplegic surfer Jesse Billauer of the Life Rolls On Foundation.
Just like Kelly Slater, he played “himself” in the 2007 animated picture, Surf’s Up. Rob also starred in his own feature film released in the late 90s titled “Drifting”. Additionally, Rob wrote and starred in the 2009 film, The Drifter.
Machado was featured in Vogue magazine’s summer issue (June 2010) with Blake Lively, in photographs which were taken in Cardiff and Encinitas, California.
Machado is a 2011 inductee into the Surfing Walk of Fame in Huntington Beach, California in the surf champion category.
Rob also had a pro-model INT soft board made for him after his experience at River Jetties in 2002.
In 2013, Rob married his current wife Sophie Vilardo and the two now have a son together.
In 2014, Rob re-signed with long-term sponsor Reef who subsequently released another ‘Rob Machado signature model’ sandal.
During 2014, Rob once again showed his support for environmental causes by taking part in a project that uses recycled surfing foam to create surfboard blanks. Rob has often been outspoken about the impact surfboards have on our environment and this is another step taken toward not only increasing awareness among the general public, but by physically proving that if we use our creative minds there are alternatives out there to the wasteful process that takes place when making and shaping surfboards.
In 2016 Rob will be collaborating with Firewire Surfboards (majority owned by Kelly Slater) to shape his own models. This comes off the back of his recent shaping experience with Machado creations boards.
Machado’s favorite wave is Cardiff Point, Uluwatu. His great-great grandfather, Agustin Machado, was an early Mexican settler in California and owned Rancho La Ballona, located in the present-day Westside region of Los Angeles County.