Tuesday, September 1, 2009


As cliché as it sounds, to me Southern California is the ultimate concrete jungle. It bothers me to visit LA and its environs: hundreds of miles of cement, people, exhaust and traffic; all of this on the edge of a gorgeous stretch of polluted waters. The freeway that is LA and south is an institution. And yet people seem to flourish and thrive with culture, creativity, coffee and stress.

If I were to create a caricature of the ultimate southern Californian, Rob Machado would be the last person I could think of as this character - based on his media image and public persona. He's the ultimate soul-surfer we all secretly want to be: the happy-go-luck, carefree, smiling and mellow face of surfing. In person he is also like this, but with a healthy dose of the sarcastic cynic added for good measure.

On Saturday I met Rob at his home in Cardiff and interviewed him for a Save The Waves film we're producing about World Surfing Reserves and Trestles. A very green, Hawaiian-style lawn and lots of leafy foliage with the ocean in the background was our setting. A strange and itinerant amalgam of friends, neighbors and family wandered in and out of the yard over the course of our hour-long interview. In spite of being strange, they were not curious - probably very used to strangers visiting Rob with large cameras and artificial shade for special lenses. Small waves and a Saturday crowd lined nearby Seaside Reef, and plenty of Saturday morning traffic roared in the distance.

Here are some golden quotes from my interview with "Mob" aka "Lob" aka Rob:

"I've had experiences in the ocean that no one would ever believe. Mind-blowing, amazing, other worldly things." -Rob on why surfing matters.

"Paddle boarding the coast on a big board warps time and space - it opens up so much coastline, and 1 mile or 5 miles down the coast are nothing. It opens up an area of the ocean that you would never, ever think of visiting. It's so much fun." - Rob on SUPing in southern California.

Rob's autobiographic surf film 'The Drifter' premieres in Japan this week and in New York on September 25 at the New York Surf Film Festival. Watch his film's trailer here.