Stab Magazine | Is Rob Machado Quietly (Maybe Spitefully) Undermining Kelly Slater's Control Of Firewire?

Is Rob Machado Quietly (Maybe Spitefully) Undermining Kelly Slater’s Control Of Firewire?

Cardiff’s coolest cat has been releasing one runaway alt-left best seller after another! 

Words by stab

If you’re a student of surf history’s most petty infighting, you’ll surely be familiar with the long-bubbling drama between 11x World Champ Kelly Slater and perennial mid-’90s World Title bridesmaid Rob Machado. 

Stories of stolen boards and nefarious post-Pipe pit high fives, etc. The feud goes deep, shallow as some of the grievances may be. Which might surprise people only familiar with the two through their working relationship the last few years, with Rob turning out self-designed models under his own name via Firewire Surfboards, of which Slater owns a majority share. 

Now, the relationship at first may have seemed like a long-overdue olive branch extension between the two New School icons, but Rob’s behavior since inking the deal has been nothing if not aggressive. While some of Firewire’s Timbertech models, as well as even a few of Slater’s more progressive models, sat on shop racks collecting dust, in the last two years Rob’s released one silver-bullet best seller after another, most noticeably the Go Fish and Seaside, which have quickly become some of the brand’s all-time best selling models, with shops not able to keep the little epoxy fishes on the racks. 

“They go insane, they’re tough as fuck, and you can order one and have it at your door in like two days—it’s practically a vending machine,” one of San Francisco’s most proudly contrarian locals was overheard saying over the weekend atop a 5’2 Seaside quad, his second of the exact same model. 

This week, Rob released a little double-ender to the line, featuring an outline not unlike Rob’s beloved 5’2 Biscuit that Al Merrick shaped him in the early-’00s, and which first made Stephanie Gilmore fall in love with alternative designs. Named for Rob’s frequent collaborator, photographer Todd Glaser, the Glazer is a user-friendly all-rounder not dissimilar from the Hypto Crypto, Santa Cruz Pumpkin Seed, etc., but pushed back towards the center of the design pendulum, with a standard three-fin set-up meant to be ridden as a thruster, twin, or twin+trailer.  

Do you think’s Rob’s market dominance fills Kelly with Rage? Joy? Money? 




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