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Pro Surfer Rob Machado Discusses Importance of Being Green

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Aired 9/9/09

Most surfers are environmentally-conscious people, who oppose pollution and advocate for clean oceans. Yet, the process for making surfboards, especially the foam cores, can be very toxic and hazardous to the environment. We speak to world-renowned surfer Rob Machado, and other members of the local surf community about what can be done to clean up the surf industry.

Surf legend Rob Machado advocates for surfers to be aware of the toxic materials they use in the water and for preservation and respect for the world's beautiful oceans.
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Above: Surf legend Rob Machado advocates for surfers to be aware of the toxic materials they use in the water and for preservation and respect for the world's beautiful oceans.

The Rob Machado Surf Experience and Cardiff Green Expo will take place during the weekend of September 26 and 27 at Seaside Reef in Cardiff.

Betty Steele, co-creator of the Cardiff Green Expo, and a member of the Cardiff 101 Chamber of Commerce. Betty is also co-founder of the San Diego chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH (Host): I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. You're listening to These Days on KPBS. Surfers traditionally have great respect for the ocean, and for preserving the proper balance between humans and the natural world. One of the lessons many surfers have learned is how important a healthy environment is for both physical and spiritual well-being. It's not surprising then to learn that a revitalized surfing competition in San Diego is combining an all-ages surf triathalon with a Green Expo. Surf legend Rob Machado is reviving his surf competition later this month after a four year absence. The event at Seaside Reef is expected to be more low-key and family friendly than in years past. At the Green Expo part of the event, environmentalists will urge surfers to become even greener than they already are by becoming aware of the toxic materials they're using in the water. There's a move to replace toxic foam blanks used for surfboards with soy or plant-based foam cores. And there's also an effort to stop ocean pollution by using different kinds of sunscreen and surf wax, so even veteran surfers may have a thing or two to learn at this year's Rob Machado Surf Experience. Joining us to talk about the upcoming event and the new awareness about the toxic materials used in surfing are my guests, Rob Machado, world-renowned professional surfer. He lives in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Rob has been inducted into the Surfers Hall of Fame twice, and he joins us today to talk about his other passion, the environment. Rob, welcome to These Days.

ROB MACHADO (Professional Surfer): Thank you.

CAVANAUGH: And Ned McMahon is a local surfboard shaper and co-founder of Malama Composites. Good morning, Ned.

NED MCMAHON (Co-Founder, Malama Composites): Good morning.

CAVANAUGH: And later we'll be talking with Betty Steele. She's co-creator of Cardiff Green Expo, a member of the Cardiff 101 Chamber of Commerce, and co-founder of the San Diego Chapter of Surfrider Foundation. Welcome, Betty.

BETTY STEELE (Co-Creator, Cardiff Green Expo and San Diego Chapter, Surfrider Foundation): Thank you.

CAVANAUGH: I want to let everyone know they're invited to join the conversation. If you'd like to speak with Rob Machado or you've got a question about how to make surfing less toxic to the environment, give us a call. The number is 1-888-895-5727. So, Rob, when did you first become really motivated to become an advocate for the environment?

MACHADO: Wow. Well, I mean, I started – Actually, I kind of teamed up with the Surfrider Foundation when I was in high school, so I was about 18 years old. We were doing water testing at Cardiff as part of our surf class so it was kind of an early start and that was back when the Surfrider was really kind of getting in full motion.

CAVANAUGH: Now it kind of goes hand-in-hand, surfing and being environmentally aware, doesn't it?

MACHADO: Yeah, I'd say it does. I mean, think about surfing. I mean, I spend a lot of time in the ocean and a lot of time just outside in the environment, so it kind of makes sense, you know. I don't want to be out there playing around in bad water.

CAVANAUGH: And also the whole idea of not only bad water the way we usually think about it, like, you know, they do tests for all sorts of material in the water, but also what surfers might actually be doing with the kind of material that they're using with – for their boards and for their sunscreen and so forth. Tell us a little bit about that.

MACHADO: Yeah, well, gosh, I mean, surfboards notoriously are pretty toxic, you know, when it – when you really break it down. Everything that goes into the surfboard, starting with the foam to the resin and, you know, we're using acetone and it's, I mean, and you can get into all of the elements of surfing, with wetsuits and with sun – sunscreen and wax and everything. I mean, it's a pretty toxic little thing we do but there's ways to improve it, and I think the surfing world is kind of looking in that direction because it's kind of a natural thing we should do.

CAVANAUGH: Now one of the things that you're focusing on is not only enlightening your peers about this, your fellow surfers, but also kids, young people who are just starting out. I wonder why you're focusing on kids and getting them to change.

MACHADO: It's the – That's the beginning, that's like where it starts. You know, I think you teach the kids and they're going to go home and teach their parents and they're going to, you know – you've got to start them at a young age and get them off on the right foot. So, you know, my foundation, we work with some of the elementary schools and it's about just simple programs on recycling and organic gardening and water bottle programs, just to get them off on the right foot.

CAVANAUGH: And what are the goals of your foundation?

MACHADO: Is basically environmental education and little – all the programs that I just mentioned and we also sponsor an Ocean Week, which the entire week the curriculum is dedicated towards ocean education and everything that goes with it which, obviously, pollution is part of that and ways to, you know, keep our oceans clean.

CAVANAUGH: You actually work with elementary schools in Cardiff, huh?

MACHADO: Yes, that's correct.

CAVANAUGH: And you – and with a garden. You've – the Rob Machado Foundation has like expanded their environmental garden, hasn't it?

MACHADO: Yeah, that was – that was a fun project. They had a garden that existed but it kind of had just been overrun so we brought that back to life and then we also added, gosh, I'd say it's probably close to a dozen planter boxes outside of the kids' classrooms so now they're right there and they can – they plant things and through the course of the year, they grow vegetables and they actually sell the vegetables to my friend's restaurant…

CAVANAUGH: Ah, that's great.

MACHADO: …down the road. So it's – it's cool.

CAVANAUGH: Entrepreneurs, too.

MACHADO: Yeah.

CAVANAUGH: Now I want to ask you, before I move on to the nitty gritty of what toxic materials go into surfboard making and how people are working to change that, I wonder, Rob, do you think that lots of surfers are actually aware that there is this problem, this problem about toxic materials in the surf industry?

MACHADO: I think it's a pretty known thing, and nowadays especially. You know, just with the whole world, we're all pretty aware of what's happening and I think surfers are aware and they are making a conscious decision, you know, nowadays to do – make the right decision and do make – take that better step. And it's just getting the information out there and making things available to them where they can make that step.

CAVANAUGH: Well, talk about making things available to them, I want to move to Ned McMahon, if I may, for a moment, and talk about – You're a surfboard shaper and you're co-founder of Malama Composites. Am I saying that correctly?

MCMAHON: That's correct.

CAVANAUGH: And, Ned, so what are the big environmental concerns related to the shaping and the manufacturing of surfboards?

MCMAHON: Well, the environmental concerns really break into two parts. First, there's the part of being safe for the people that are working around the product. Basically, like Rob said, we're living in a world of a really toxic chemistry and I don't – I believe that we don't have the right to poison or kill anybody in the process of making our surfboards. And that's happened in the past. So there's the social side of it, to protect the health and safety of the people working around the materials. The other side of it is the carbon footprint of the whole process. And, you know, this is all new territory, it's all, you know, most surfboards that are ridden today, even on the professional tour, are still built with the same materials that they were 50 years ago. Nothing's really changed. And at Malama, we've started to change all of that but the really critical part of it all is it is new and we are learning every day yet we cannot do green just for green's sake. To a guy like Rob that went around on the tour, performance is still the most important characteristic so if we can't meet those performance criteria, we don’t get anywhere. Today, though, with natural materials, we can build boards that are as light, as strong, as – perform as well as anything out there.

CAVANAUGH: You know, I've got to tell you, in doing my reading for this subject when I knew you all were coming in, so I tried to get – bone up on it a little bit. I was surprised to learn that there was this problem within the surf industry because I think the general public might have an image of surfing as being a very clean – I mean, a really, really clean sort of sport and that the only problem is how, you know, residue and toxic things in the ocean affects surfers. You don't really think about how surfers might be affecting the ocean until you do a little bit of reading about it. And more than that, Ned, I was surprised to learn how actually making the – and shaping the boards actually affected the workers. Tell us a little bit more about how people became ill using the kinds of materials that were needed to shape these boards.

MCMAHON: Well, starting with the foam, one of the key ingredients in foam is an isocyanate. The typical isocyanate that's used is referred to as TDI, the 'T' is toluene. Toluene is a recognized carcinogen. In the resins that are used, the typical surfboard resin's polyester resin. There's styrene in the polyester resin. It's another carcinogen. These are materials that simply by putting a respirator on, you're not protected from. All of these materials can be absorbed through your skin. And, frankly, in most surfboard factories, the issues of wearing a respirator and things like that aren't even adhered to that well. So guys are being directly exposed to pretty nasty chemicals.

CAVANAUGH: That's really something amazing for someone who doesn't know how this stuff is made. I was wondering, what – when you talk about foam, the core of the surfboard, what is it we're referring to?

MCMAHON: Well, you start out with a piece of foam. It's roughly in the shape of a surfboard. And a shaper takes that and shapes it into its finished shape. And that material, there's many different cores you can use today. There's the standard TDI foam cores, which are still the most prevalent. There's what's referred to as EPS cores, that's when people refer to epoxy surfboards, they're using EPS cores. And then there's something that we're working with in Malama, is using the plant-based materials. We still make a foam, it's still a version of polyurethane foam but we've just removed out all the toxic part of the chemistry.

CAVANAUGH: And so does it work as well as the old kind of foam?

MCMAHON: It does now. It's been a…

CAVANAUGH: Umm-hmm.

MCMAHON: You know, it's been a pretty steep learning curve and we still have a ways to go. And the important thing to understand is, again, this is still just first steps. I mean, Clark Foam, which shut down in 2005, that sort of opened the door to allow things like this to come forward, they've been around for 45 years. So they went through this, you know, time of perfecting it for a long time. We've only been doing soy foam since December of '06 so it's still pretty new. And when you look at really the ultimate lifecycle of the product, we'd like to move beyond soy. You know, we don't want to compete for the food source plant-based materials. We're looking at things like castor oil or algae or jatropha or other, you know, low impact vegetation that doesn't compete with a food source like soy does.

CAVANAUGH: I'm speaking with Ned McMahon and he is a surfboard shaper and co-founder of Malama Composites. I want to bring Rob Machado back into the conversation. Have you used any of these boards that use those soy-based foam?

MACHADO: Yeah, I have, actually. I've had a few of them. One, we – One didn't last as – It was an experiment and it didn't really come out as planned. And the other one was a lot better. As – Like Ned said, it's a real steep learning curve and he's just been improving. And I'm all – I'm all for it. Like I'm – I've been definitely on that side. I'm always – I've always kind of leaned towards try – experimenting with different things and so I'm – It's about time to get another one going, I think.

CAVANAUGH: Is there some resistance? Do a lot of surfers have resistance against, you know, trying something new like this?

MACHADO: Well, it's like Ned said, it's – It comes down to performance and surfers are stubborn people. We've become used to what we've grown up with and what we're – what we're just ingrained into us, so everyone's been riding just the standard. Like it's been the same thing for 50 years. It's kind of ridiculous when you think about it. But it's just – we're so used to it and that feeling that when you try something new, it's different and you think, oh, wait, I don't know. I like my other board better, you know. So it's really kind of getting people to open their mind and breaking out of that mold.

CAVANAUGH: And as crucial, as much as surfers rely on their board for, I mean, for safety, for knowing what's happening, for really being able to rely on this object for getting you through, I mean, it must take a certain time to develop a trust in a new kind of product.

MACHADO: Yeah, definitely. And that's the thing, is, you know, it's just getting it out there and getting people to believe and, you know, and say, wow, oh, this works. Like that it's not something – it's not a gimmick. It's not – You know, it's something that's actually – it's tangible and it's going to – it's going to produce.

MCMAHON: There's one more thing, if I can add…

CAVANAUGH: Sure.

MCMAHON: Esthetically, too, the plant-based materials look different. We, over the years, in the surf world got resins to be water clear and foam to be very bright white, and it became a look that became standard in the industry. And a plant-based foam is sort of a cream color, yellow color, it's sort of like your organic coffee filters. They're, you know, unbleached. This is – Nothing's added to make it white. So – And if you use a natural cloth, if you replace bamboo – fiberglass with bamboo, for example, again, it's not a disappearing cloth. You can see the fabric. And the same is true for the resins. They're a little bit of a brown or green tint, they're not water clear like we've gotten used to. So esthetically, that's another thing that surfers in general have to get their head around because they're just not – You know, everything's been bright white and water clear.

CAVANAUGH: Right, so it's sort of like also a fashion issue, too…

MCMAHON: Sure.

CAVANAUGH: …a little bit.

MACHADO: You got to – you got to look good, right?

CAVANAUGH: Let me ask you, Ned, there's not – There are other people doing sort of the same thing you are, trying to come up with these more environmentally friendly surfboards?

MCMAHON: There's a lot of people working in lots of different ways to do this. I think we're the only ones working with the foam, really. But there's some guys that are making, you know, headway in lots of different areas. Because a surfboard is made up of many components…

CAVANAUGH: Right.

MCMAHON: …and it's trying to get the right mix. And there's – You know, when you go to the pro level, someone like Rob, he can feel every little difference. If you put bamboo on a board and it feels stiffer, maybe that's not what he wants to feel. Or you put a linseed oil resin and it feels softer, and it doesn't have the springy feel that he's looking for. So all of these things, it's a long testing period because you've got to go through these combinations and it just takes a while.

CAVANAUGH: We will continue our conversation after a short break. We're talking about environmentally friendly forms of surfboards and also about the Rob Machado Surf Experience, and Cardiff Green Expo that's taking place later this month. And we will get Betty Steele into this conversation when we return. You're listening to These Days on KPBS.

# # #

CAVANAUGH: Welcome back. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. You're listening to These Days on KPBS. We are talking about the – an upcoming surf competition, the Rob Machado Surf Experience, and Green Expo that's taking place later this month. The Green Expo is urging surfers to become even greener than they already are. And my guests are Rob Machado and Ned McMahon. We're going to be speaking with Betty Steele about that Green Expo. And we're taking your calls at 1-888-895-5727. Let's hear from Greg in Oceanside. And good morning, Greg. Welcome to These Days.

GREG (Caller, Oceanside): Good morning. Interesting show.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you.

GREG: To be honest, I think you're kind of beating around the environmental bush. If you really want to be a surfer, then you don't even use a board, you body surf. You completely eliminate all those toxic aspects of it. Another thing is, and I've body surfed for about 55 years and I've board surfed about 45 years, I've never bought a new board in my life. Now that's anathema to the surf industry. I've gotten some of my best boards out of dumpsters, fixed them up, and have ridden them, some of them for 40 years. Another thing that's interesting to me as far as surfers and the environment that I don't hear mentioned, surf trips. A lot of surfers drive thousands of miles a year. They'll get on a plane, fly halfway around the world, fly halfway back around the world, get on diesel boats just to go search out waves. They're creating a lot of pollution. Personally, I walk to the beach, I body surf about 60% of the time, and it keeps me in way better shape.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you, Greg. It sounds like Greg is really green to begin with. Would you like…

MACHADO: It's awesome. I – It's – Body surfing's amazing. I – I hear you.

CAVANAUGH: Well, you know, one of the things Greg mentioned is finding surfboards in dumpsters. And I want to welcome one of our guests on the phone. Her name is Meghan Dambacher and she is co-founder of Rerip.com and it – Rerip specializes in figuring out what to do with used surfboards and how to dispose of them in a nontoxic manner. And Meghan, welcome to These Days.

MEGHAN DAMBACHER (Co-Founder, Rerip.com): Thank you.

CAVANAUGH: Now what happens to those surfboards that are in those damp – dumpsters, I mean. What should people be doing with surfboards if they don't want them anymore?

DAMBACHER: Well, they should do what Greg does and just pick them up and try and fix them up and reride them.

CAVANAUGH: Uh-huh.

DAMBACHER: And that's pretty much the essence of what we do at Rerip, is we have different locations where surfers can go and drop off old boards that they don't want and then we kind of just go through and see which ones are still surfable, which ones we can repair, which ones can be used for certain projects. A lot of artists like to paint on them or…

CAVANAUGH: Right.

DAMBACHER: …make showers out of them, be creative. And then we're experimenting with chopping some of them up and using them as a concrete filler.

CAVANAUGH: Now you've actually set up a bin at the Miramar Landfill, right?

DAMBACHER: Yes.

CAVANAUGH: And is that easy to find when you're up in Miramar? I mean, are there signs that point to it or something like that?

DAMBACHER: Yeah, there's the signs out in front. It's bottles, cans, cardboard and then surfboards, so it's pretty clear how they do it.

CAVANAUGH: Now…

DAMBACHER: And you can see big ones sticking out and they're right there. I mean…

CAVANAUGH: Yeah, they're hard to miss. Is it just surfboards that you're trying to collect? Or other surf-related materials or equipment?

DAMBACHER: Well, eventually we want to be able to do stuff with the foam because that's probably the biggest supply that we would have, would be the excess foam after you're done shaping the board. But right now, all we can manage is just the boards.

CAVANAUGH: I see. Okay. Well, in that case, either paint on them or take them to the Miramar Landfill or use them up. Meghan Dambacher, thanks so much.

DAMBACHER: Umm-hmm.

CAVANAUGH: And I want to get Betty Steele in. She's been waiting here patiently. She's co-creator of Cardiff Green Expo, and co-founder of the San Diego Chapter of Surfrider Foundation. Betty, welcome.

STEELE: Thank you.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you for being here. Yeah, you know, what can you tell us about this Green Expo that is part and parcel of the Rob Machado Surf Experience that's taking place this month?

STEELE: Well, it's going to be a pretty exciting event I think, and I'm so excited to be at the table here with both of these guys. I'm just – feel very honored because they are very supportive of the green movement. It's going to be real exciting because we're going to be educating the public about construction materials for your home and for your garden and for the – also products that we go and use at the beach like the sunscreens that actually affect the ocean, the reefs, and some fish. So we're trying to educate people about that. I think it's going to be real exciting. We're going to have a kids art section and it's going to be recycled art. And I wanted Ned to talk a little bit about the booth that we have for the shapers, the green shapers and the surfboards.

CAVANAUGH: Go right ahead, Ned.

MCMAHON: Well, one part of the event for the weekend is a gathering of shapers presenting surfboards and it's – all the boards are donated. They're going to get purchased by the public and all that money will go to Rob's foundation. And the theme of this year's event is to have each shaper discuss how their board is either made a little bit more environmentally responsible and since that's still a tough thing to do, the other parts of it is something that Greg alluded to is, you know, do you walk to the beach? Do you ride your bike to the beach? You know, what are the other things that you're doing in your life to just create a little bit more environmental awareness about what you do on a daily basis. And I think it's really important that we acknowledge every little step. It doesn't – You don't have to make a 180 degree turn in your life, you can take a little five degree turn and, over time, that has a big effect. And then the more awareness that happens, if we collectively take those little steps, we can have a really big impact. And that – I think that's the whole mission for the event.

CAVANAUGH: And, Betty, what – was this the original idea to bring back the surf competition and put a green expo at the same time?

STEELE: Yeah, we thought that was perfect because Rob has been out of the loop for a little bit and the event, we've missed it. And so Cardiff really wanted – the Cardiff Chamber, Cardiff 101 Chamber wanted to bring it back, so we thought it was a great marriage, having the green with it and it was just so perfect. So we're really excited about it. We're – I just want to pitch that we're going to have live music and we're going to have real healthy food, and we're also – all the vendors, we're asking them to bring compostable products so that your forks and your – everything that you use will be able to be used in the compost, hopefully, and if not we're going to have kids standing by the trash bins educating people when they throw away things so they know this is compostable and this will have to go into the landfill. So we're hoping to really educate.

CAVANAUGH: Now from what I've read, this Surf Experience is going to be a little bit different from the get-togethers of past years in that it seems like the other ones were more focused on, you know, just partying.

STEELE: Right.

CAVANAUGH: And I'm wondering if this – combining this with a message is – you know, were you leery about that at all, Rob? Or is this something you wanted to see happen?

MACHADO: No, it's definitely important. You know, like you said, the event before kind of grew into something that, yeah, it was kind of a little hectic down on the beach, but it was, you know, it was fun. But now it's kind of taken a whole different turn and with the Green Expo being involved, and the contest is really focused, I think, more for the kids too…

STEELE: Umm-hmm.

MACHADO: …and it's about the kids and educating the kids and, you know, hopefully, the kids will bring their parents down and it just goes full circle.

CAVANAUGH: Yes.

STEELE: I just wanted to add that even like our snow cone machine we have…

CAVANAUGH: Uh-huh.

STEELE: …is all organic syrup. So we're trying to make sure we don't get those kids…

MACHADO: Wow.

STEELE: …too excited out there and to get them to listen a little bit. Yeah, I think it's going to be fun.

MACHADO: Snow cones.

STEELE: Yeah.

CAVANAUGH: Let's take another call. Jack is calling from Carlsbad. Good morning, Jack, and welcome to These Days.

JACK (Caller, Carlsbad): Hi. Thank you for having me. I just wanted to say good for North County for representing the environment for our kids. Also, I just wanted to make a comment. We're going to be working with Rerip building some concrete planters and maybe possibly an artistic element for the show so we can, you know, show people what the possibilities are with those old boards.

CAVANAUGH: What have you seen, Jack? I don't know how long you've been involved with Rerip, but what are some of the creative things people do with old boards?

JACK: Well, one of the neat things that we're doing is we grind up the board. We put it through a large planer and we get a specific size that we're looking for to put into the matrix of the concrete and then once we do that, we put it in the mixer and it acts as a filler so you don't have to use as much concrete and you get to take something that would go to a landfill and put it in a really cool architectural detail.

CAVANAUGH: Okay, well, thank you so much for calling, Jack.

STEELE: I…

CAVANAUGH: That sounds like a – Yeah, go ahead, Betty.

STEELE: I just want to add that we also have an artist that's going to be using some of the leftover resin and making jewelry out of it. So it – We're trying to use up the material…

CAVANAUGH: Is this…

STEELE: …instead of going to the landfill.

CAVANAUGH: This – When you're saying Green Expo, you're not kidding around, are you?

STEELE: Yeah.

CAVANAUGH: You know, Rob, I wonder, do you feel now – You know, I introed you and we talked about, you know, world-renowned and we talked about Surfers Hall of Fame and is it a deliberate attempt on your part now to use your celebrity to help create change?

MACHADO: Wow. You know, it's – I never thought about it that way. But it's – it's just something that I feel that – feel good about doing, you know. I mean, it's just kind of a natural thing. You know, like I said before, I spend a lot of time in the ocean and it's a big part of my life and it's kind of given me what I have and got to me – got me to where I am today, so naturally I want to like protect that environment and try to expand that into other people so…

CAVANAUGH: Yes, Betty.

STEELE: I just wanted to say one more thing. You're going to have to stop me now. No, I really want to push that this is really – it's not a – we're not perfect in that if anybody comes there and thinks that, you know, we're trying to say that we have all the answers, we don't. But we're just trying to make people aware that just a small change can make a difference. So if you come away from this event just learning about one thing that can help the environment, we've succeeded what we were trying to get the message out about.

CAVANAUGH: Let's take one final call. Gary is calling from Pacific Beach. Good morning, Gary. Welcome to These Days.

GARY (Caller, Pacific Beach): Hey, thanks a lot, guys. I'd like to say that the truly original surfers, as related to Pacific Islanders, were environmentally friendly and they did so out of environmental influence. I think getting back to this mentality is not only possible, it's a moral imperative. And I'd also want to say that I take my sack lunch with me every day.

STEELE: Great.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you so much for that phone call. I'm wondering, you said, Betty, what it is that you want people to take away from this experience if there's just one thing. I'm going to ask Ned, what is it that you want people to take away from the Green Expo that's coming up?

MCMAHON: Well, I think that we have to take the first step, that's one, and then, two, think of in terms of what we can do collectively. There's a guy I know, a famous surfer from PB that every day that he goes to the beach, before he goes and surfs, he takes out a little rake and rakes the sand and cleans up the trash just right around his car or his area. And just think of the impact that would have if we all did that. So it doesn't take a big change in lifestyle. One little thing can have a huge impact.

CAVANAUGH: And, Rob, I'm wondering, when people go to this Surf Experience and they go to the Green Expo, what do you want them to think about when they're driving or cycling home?

STEELE: Cycle.

CAVANAUGH: Let's hope they cycle.

MACHADO: Well, I think it just goes back to you hope that you can just inspire someone, you know, to go home and do – if it's, like Betty was saying, if it's to inspire someone to change something in their life or make that little turn to do something different, that's a step in the right direction. And, you know, we're not perfect. We're all like – We're all trying to help each other and if you can present things to people in a way that is going to inspire them, then that's – You're doing it right.

CAVANAUGH: And my last question to you, I wonder, just in dealing with the whole surfing world—and I don't want to get you in any trouble, Rob—but is there something that surfers do that you would really like to see them change?

MACHADO: Well, gosh, that's a tough one.

STEELE: Don't snake.

MACHADO: Yeah, don't drop in on Betty.

STEELE: Yeah.

MACHADO: She's pretty aggressive, you know. I mean, just starting with surfboards, since we were talking about it today. It's, you know, the construction of surfboards is 50 years old and that's the one thing that is probably the most toxic thing in the industry and I think could be changed. And I think we're moving in a positive direction, so it's cool. It's – For everyone to kind of open their mind and not be scared to try new things.

CAVANAUGH: Okay. All right, well, we'll end it there then. I really want to thank my guests. Rob Machado and Ned McMahon and Betty Steele. And we did speak with Meghan Dambacher from Rerip. And I want to let everybody know, I want to get this out to make everybody know – aware of the fact that the Rob Machado Surf Experience and Cardiff Green Expo will take place during the weekend of September 26th and 27th at Seaside Reef in Encinitas. Thanks so much, everybody, for coming in. I appreciate it.

STEELE: Thank you.

MCMAHON: Okay.

MACHADO: Thank you.

CAVANAUGH: You've been listening to These Days on KPBS.

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