Machados Magic

Heats Held: Round 1 to Heat 4 of Round 3
Conditions: 2- to- 4 feet, a smidge bigger than the 2007 Pipe Masters.
Nature's Call: "Paddle to Off-the-Wall if you don't like it."
Predictions: Look for the weird lefts at Backdoor. They're breathtaking.

Rob Machado is a full-time surfer and a part-time wizard. Super natural powers are the only way to explain the 34-year-old goofy footer's ability to find gaping barrels at the first day of the Monster Energy Pipeline Pro presented by Billabong. Many competitors were barely head dipping their way through heats at this 3-star WQS event, Machado was summoning up 8-point rides at will. In his last heat of the day, Rob snagged a mystical tube at Backdoor. The funny thing, it was a left not a right.

"It was more of a Backdoor left, you know? It sounds weird, but the wave was a deep left," explained Machado, who won this contest in 2006. "I kind of snuck under it. Those things suck up really fast so you have to get under 'um quick. Then it kind of went out to sea and had the right coming at it so I got a little extra rebound."

You would have thought it was the late '{{{90}}}'s the way Rob was winning heats all day. The main difference between then and now is that the Cardiff native has almost as much hair on his face as his head. Machado hasn't shaved since November and is looking more 'Mountain Man' than 'Surfer Dude' at the moment.

"I think the Moevember thing [the fundraiser for prostate cancer] just carried over and I forgot to shave," joked Rob.

While Machado's scruff and success at Pipe is a product of experience and magic, Australia's Parrish Byrne, 20, can attribute his heat victory to youth and luck. Parrish is the son of legendary Aussie shaper, Phil Byrne. After Parrish broke his leash in his first heat at the Banzai, Phil on the beach looked 10 times more flustered than his son in the water.

"I freak out more than he does. I stress out big time," admitted the {{{57}}}-year-old proud papa. "I guess when you're in the pit crew you have to get things together and as a father I don't want to get yelled at. Since I'm shaping all the boards it puts more pressure on me as well."

Pancho Sullivan

Parrish and Phil took advantage of the option of sitting at Off-the-Wall for scoring rides. At 1:30 pm, contest directors allowed competitors to look for waves at OTW, Byrne utilized this to a tee and won his first heat at Pipe.

"I'm pretty stoked to win even though I didn't surf that well," said Parrish. "I had a free surf at Off-the-Wall 20 minutes before the heat and got some really good lefts."

With all the random lefts coming in to OTW and Backdoor, the lineups should be interesting on the second day of competition. Despite, Pipeline being far from classic, we all have to admit that today was the best Banzai in the last week.

"I wouldn't call it ideal, but it's not bad compared to the last few days," said Machado. "Today is definitely the best day and guys are getting barreled. "

With the forecast not predicting a lot of swell before the end of the holding period contest directors of the Monster Energy Pipeline Pro presented by Billabong may have to tap into Rob's magic.

For more on the Monster Energy Pipeline Pro presented by Billabong, visit

Rob Machado