Pro surfer Rob Machado is known for his Zen-like approach to both life and waves, but that hasn’t stopped him from realizing major accomplishments both in and out of the water. A member of the Surfer’s Hall of Fame, Machado took home 12 World Championship Tour (WCT) victories over the course of his career. After leaving the tour in 2001, he turned his attention to new opportunities and opened the Salt Culture boutique with his wife, as well as an adjoining surf shop, Salty Garage, which sells custom Rob Machado surfboards. But Machado didn’t stop there, expanding his empire from business pursuits to preserving the planet. He founded the Rob Machado Foundation in 2004 with the goal of encouraging young people to live more sustainable lives.  

Machado still resides in the place he was raised, Cardiff-by-the-Sea in North County San Diego. He was recently recognized by his hometown, getting inducted into the Breitbard Hall of Fame by the San Diego Sports Association.  

There is no better person to ask about the best ways to experience San Diego than the sunny city’s native son. And considering Exclusive Resorts’ new La Jolla residences, an elevated luxury experience awaits.  

Favorite Surf Break: I keep my surfs pretty close to home—from Cardiff Reef South to Seaside Reef and north to Swami’s. 

Off-The-Beaten-Path Adventure: On the south end of the San Elijo Lagoon, there’s a great little hike ending at a spot called The Mushroom Caves (aka Annie’s Canyon). It’s about three miles and is a narrow, sandstone slot canyon that used to be closed but is now open to the public. 

Healthy Meal: After a surf, I stop into the Sambazon Acai Cafe in Cardiff. If you like peanut butter, try the Rob Machado PB & Banana Bowl with acai, chocolate hemp milk, peanut butter, granola, and banana.  

Grab-and-Go Eatery: Our friends at Seaside Market (see sidebar) always have something freshly made in the deli. 

Best Little-Known Locals’ Spot: Take a stroll through the gardens at the Self-Realization Fellowship. It’s open to the public and has beautiful views. 

A Don’t-Miss San Diego Experience:  Visit in November 2021 for the Wonderfront Music & Arts Festival. The weather is still nice and it’s a great live music experience.  

Favorite Place to Start the Day: Seaside State Beach, located on the border of Solana Beach and Cardiff-by-the-Sea.  

Favorite Tourist Spot: Del Mar Racetrack on opening day.

Favorite Thing About Living in San Diego: The beaches. 

Thing You Miss the Most When You’re Traveling: All of the above!   

Top Tables

San Diego’s culinary scene is seasonally inspired.

George’s at the Cove. This mainstay overlooks La Jolla Cove, and Chef-Owner Trey Foshee’s modern California cuisine celebrates the finest seafood and locally sourced produce. georgesatthecove.com

Addison. Located in the Grand Del Mar resort, think French Laundry meets San Diego. The high-end outpost dishes “contemporary haute cuisine” by Chef William Bradley and is known for such delicacies as langoustines with parsley and caviar. addisondelmar.com

El Paisa Mexican Grill. This is a go-to for mouthwatering tacos, served in housemade tortillas. Family run and always fresh, El Paisa is the perfect stop en route to a day at the beach. elpaisamexicangrill.com

Cardiff Seaside Market. This upscale grocer has amazing prepared foods for a summer picnic or al fresco dinner party. It’s known for wild caught fish, tri-tip steak, and organic produce. seasidemarket.com

Liberty Public Market. Akin to Pike’s Place in Seattle, this one-stop shop is located in Point Loma’s Liberty Station and features more than 30 vendors. bluebridgehospitality.com

Stay

Located in the heart of the La Jolla Shores business district, the Club’s two new residences feature three bedrooms with en suite baths, chef-grade kitchens, indoor-outdoor living, a subterranean garage accessed by a car lift, and an elevator for exclusive use of the residents.  

Residences: 2 | Bedrooms: 3 | Bathrooms: 3.5 | Sleeps: 6