Rob Machado: An Exclusive Interview
Rob Machado is in a very select company of surfers. One one hand, you can call him one of the greatest competitive surfers ever for his numerous accomplishments, including finishing in the top three of the ASP World Tour rankings twice in his career (in 1995, Machado narrowly avoided winning the World Title, losing out to Kelly Slater in the finals of the Pipeline Masters in a close finish that saw Machado giving Slater a high five at the end of the wave, possibly giving up priority and the World Title for the sake of sharing a moment with his close friend). On the other hand, you can say Machado is currently the most popular free surfer in the world, with throngs of fans showing their support by watching his surf films and supporting his philanthropic involvements. It is these achievements that helped Machado gain induction into the Surfer’s Hall of Fame in 2000.
On top of all his surfing exploits, Machado is also making a name for himself as a talented musician. Machado is currently capitalizing on his popularity as both a surfer and musician by doing what few before him have done: Touring the country with his band, Melali Sessions Band, to perform as the live soundtrack for his new surf movie Melali: The Drifter Sessions.
It is in this setting, backstage at Slim’s shortly before Melali Sessions Band was to take the stage, that I was able to sit down with Machado for an extensive interview covering everything from finishing a close second to his good friend Slater in the 1995 World Title race, to his feelings behind being denied an injury wildcard in 2002 by his peers, and how he balances his surfing and music careers.
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