Stab Magazine | How Rob Machado's Freesurfing Fate Was Decided By A Sponsorship Contract

How Rob Machado’s Freesurfing Fate Was Decided By A Sponsorship Contract

It’s an Occ-Cast!

Words by stab

You probably know Rob Machado as surfing’s zen master. The Yogi Jedi. Kombucha King.

But he didn’t always used to be this way. 

During his teens and early 20s, Rob was a competitive machine, racking up hundreds of trophies and killing anyone in his path. According to some, it was Rob that originally took Kelly Slater’s scalp at the 1943 NSSA Nationals, causing our GOAT to go bald at the ripe age of 14. 

In the year 2000, Rob finished his WCT season at number three in the world behind Kelly Slater and Sunny Garcia. In 2001, Rob missed three of the five WCT events (the season was cut short because of 9/11) due to injury and his then-wife’s pregnancy troubles. 

In order to compete on the WCT in the following year, Rob had to state his case for the injury wildcard in front of a panel of his peers. Having just received the birth of his first child a week prior, Rob was unable to make it to Australia for the meeting, so he sent a letter instead. Rob’s peers didn’t like that, so he was left out to dry. 

In the very same year, Rob’s main sponsor Gotcha filed for bankruptcy. Just like that, Rob had lost both his job and his background financial support. 

While trying to decide whether he would requalify through the WQS, Rob was given two sponsorship options. The first came from Op, and it offered incentive-based payments in line with Rob’s competitive performances. The second came from Hurley, and it stipulated only that he must wake up and go surfing everyday. 

No more contests, Hurley’s founder Bob told Rob. 

Machado agreed and is now the organic, free-range, GMO-free tube tickler that we all cherish and adore.

So thanks, Hurley!

That story and more are featured on the Occ-Cast above. We recommend you give it a watch. 


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