By Wehtahnah Tucker
CARDIFF BY THE SEA — Don’t let his laidback demeanor fool you. Local surf legend Rob Machado is passionate about a lot of things, not the least of which is the environment and the future of professional surfing.
He has turned that desire for a healthier planet into action through supporting local efforts to implement environmental education programs at Cardiff’s two elementary schools. He’s kicked it up a notch by putting his name on a surf competition that will raise money and awareness about sustainable living.
The Rob Machado Seaside Pro Junior presented by Reef and Hurley is now the only Association of Surfing Professionals, better known as the ASP, Pro Junior 4-star competition in the San Diego area. The event, which will commence at Seaside Reef on April 22 and April 23, will also include a Super Hero’s themed charity golf tournament at The Crossing at Carlsbad on April 18.
The event will also serve as the first of three stops on the Women’s ASP North America Pro Junior Series, where the overall North American winner qualifies for the ASP Women’s World Junior Tour.
“The first pro contest I ever surfed in was at Seaside and I thought it would be good for the kids to bring one back,” Machado said. “Seaside is a great break to showcase the talent that will be surfing in the event.”
The two-day contest will include a 72-competitor Junior Men’s division and 24-competitor Junior Women’s division, as well as a grom expression session. A $20,000 prize purse is up for grabs in the men’s field and $10,000 in the women’s field.
The event not only supports the local community but the next generation of professional surfers — both groups that are near to Machado’s heart. “It always feels good to do something to help the kids,” he said in a recent interview.
Proceeds from both the golf tournament and surf contest will go toward the Rob Machado Foundation and it’s benefactor Cardiff SEA, a volunteer, nonprofit organization representing parents, staff and community members concerned with improving the education of children within the school district.
For Machado, the golf tournament and surf contest are just one of the many opportunities he has to give back to his community. The foundation has been going strong since 2004 and has shifted its primary focus in the last few years to educating elementary school students on helping the environment. “It started with something as simple as providing recycling bins at the school,” Machado said. “From there we’ve developed Ocean Week where the kids dedicate a whole week to learning about the ocean and how to take better care of it.”
“The golf event is a fun way for me to raise money,” Machado said. Coming from a family full of golfers he said he learned to play in his early 20s. “If I was going to spend time with my family I had to learn to play golf,” he said smiling. Much like surfing, learning to play golf came naturally to Machado and he excelled quickly. “Now I just play for fun,” he said.
For more information and to register for the golf tournament, visit robmachadofoundation.org.