Here, read a conversation with writer Mark Anders and professional surfer Rob Machado continued from our August 2006 Letters section.
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I’m bothered by Mark Anders’s “Don’t Be That Guy,” in the May surf special, “Ticket to Ride.” You ought not go telling surfers what is or isn’t cool. Anders should watch the film Shelter and count the number of times Rob Machado, who was featured in that same surf special, appears wearing trunks over a spring suit, just like in your illustration. I doubt he was trying to be funny. We love Rob because he doesn’t care what people like Anders think. He knows surfing is about a feeling and that style is interpreted by your connectedness to a wave and by what’s in your soul. I’m pretty sure you just called Rob a kook.
Rob MachadoRob Machado
Trent, we had Anders contact Machado himself. Here’s how the conversation went.
Anders: We’re calling you out, bro.
Machado: You put me in your magazine and then two pages later you called me a kook. I’m totally offended. [laughing]
Why do you surf in a spring suit?
I started doing it in Hawaii. You’d be surprised how cold you get in the water, especially surfing a place like Pipeline. If the tradewinds are blowing, it gets chilly and sometimes you don’t catch a wave for an hour. On top of that I use the suit for protection when I’m surfing Pipe. It’s like an extra layer of padding. I don’t know how many times I’ve bounced off the bottom and got bruises but not got cut up because I had a wetsuit on.
So why the trunks on top?
It’s kind of uncomfortable without them.
Come on . . .
OK, I’ve got really skinny legs. I’m just trying to hide the sticks.
The only reason you should wear trunks on top is if you have a hole in the butt of your wetsuit or to show off your sponsor’s logo.
Well that was my next thing. Back in the day when I started doing that, the company I was riding for [Gotcha] didn’t make wetsuits, but they did sell trunks. So they were bummed because I was wearing springsuits all the time, and they couldn’t get photos of me with trunks.
Were people doing it before you?
I don’t know. But you know what’s even funnier? You know the Wave House? The Flowrider? [A man-made stationary wave form with jets of water piping over it.] You go to that thing, and there’s guys wearing trunks over fullsuits now.
Oh yeah, dude. It’s anything goes on that thing. You’re throwing ex-snowboarders and skateboarders into skintight, Lycra suits, and they are like, “I’m standing here naked.”
Are you going to rock that look forever?
I still do it when I surf Pipe, but that’s pretty much it.
So, bottom line, for someone who’s not sponsored by a trunk company?
When we filmed Shelter, I was just wearing the things because I was used to them. And once I got used to them, it felt weird not to wear trunks. I agree, though: If you’re going to wear a springsuit you might as well just wear trunks and a jacket. That’s way cooler.
Well you’ve opened my eyes a little bit, Rob, so we’ll give you a pass this time.
Put it this way, there aren’t too many people doing it besides me. I’m not starting a trend or anything. I’m just trying to stay warm and protect myself from the reef.