Australian-born American surfer Rob Machado knows Mother Nature more intimately than most. He spends his days traveling the world, surfing the ocean’s biggest swells, but some of his latest passions lie a little closer to home.

You were born in Australia, how did you end up in the U.S.?

Rob Machado: When I was about three or four, my parents, who had lived in Australia for 15 years, decided to move back to California, here to Cardiff.

Is that how you became a surfer?

It’s crazy because my dad was a ski instructor and a surfer, and when he decided to move back to California he was looking at two houses. One was on the beach and one was in the mountains -- he close the beach. I grew up just about two miles up the road, and by the time I was 10 or 11 years old, I was just running down to the beach every day after school.

What does your typical day look like?

(laughs) My typical day? I usually wake up, I take my dog down to the beach, I let him run around like crazy, and then I look at the waves. I see the waves, I see the ocean, I get a sense of what is happening for the day and check out the tides. That kind of decides my day. Right now I am getting ready to go on a trip to Tahiti, so I'm getting my equipment ready.

What are you doing in Tahiti?

We’re going to hang out with a big group of people for a week and shoot some photos for Reef footwear.

"To catch a wave, to stand up - it was just life-changing.
There was nothing that even came close."

Almost nothing is more synonymous with California than sun and surf. And there are only a few surfers more legendary than Rob Machado. He’s won or been a finalist in almost every major surfing competition and has beloved the world over for his down-to-earth attitude. The shaggy-haired, goofy-foot surfer has retired from major competitions, but keeps himself busy bringing attention to environmental issues and promoting healthy eating among school children with the Rob Machado Foundation.