Cyrus: I don’t think you’d find a lot of argument there. Would you call Melali a sequel to The Drifter, or is it its own film?
Machado: No, it’s definitely not a sequel. It’s kind of an offshoot. I had all of these amazing surfers come down and hang out. Dane (Reynolds), Kalani (Robb), Mike Losness, Dan Malloy, Kelly (Slater). They just didn’t fit into The Drifter. It was hard to tie other surfers in, and there wasn’t a lot of surfing in The Drifter. So we were left with all this extra footage, and it would have been a shame to have it go to waste. Their time, their efforts and all of this beautiful footage would have been left on the floor.
Cyrus: So Melali is more like your stereotypical surf film?
Machado: Yeah, it is more like a surf movie. It’s sessions with guys set to music. There’s no real talking. There’s no storyline. It’s just, “Here’s some cool sh*t.”
Cyrus: In your competitive days, you were phenomenal. What were the injuries that derailed you? Did injuries take you off the tour?
Machado: That was kind of an interesting year. It was 2001. My wife was pregnant and there were some complications with the pregnancy. I broke my hand, which caused me to miss an event. Then I applied for an injury wild card and they didn’t give it to me, so I was pretty bummed out for a while. I felt like I was betrayed, because it’s the surfers who vote on it. And then Gotcha went bankrupt and I didn’t have a sponsor. Fast forward six months, Hurley comes along and says, “Hey, we want to sponsor you.” And I’m like, “Really? What do you want me to do?” And they say, “Just go have fun.” I didn’t really know what that was. I was so focused on being on tour. It took me a little while to figure it out.
Cyrus: Was there any resentment toward your peers shortly after that happened?
Machado: Yeah, I was totally bummed out. They gave me a wild card to another event, and I just remember walking around, looking at everyone. I couldn’t really look anyone in the eye and people couldn’t look me in the eye. But I have no resentment anymore, of course.
Cyrus: Yeah, because there’s no way you’re going back on the ‘QS, so it did work out in the end. You’re doing exactly what you love.
Machado: Yeah. Now I get to do projects like this. This was something I dreamed about. Even when we were making The Drifter, I knew there would be this movie. I knew we were going to have so much stuff and that we’d take it, pull together some incredible musicians, make music and play it while showing the film.
Writer Mia Sullivan contributed to this story.