by JENNIFER FRAKES | photos by Soul of Photography

Supporting Sustainability

volunteer_tkacs2When Darren Tkacs was 21 years old, he left the East Coast and moved to Southern California. The natural beauty, his love of surfing, and his passion for the environment have kept him here and inspired him to make a difference in the local community and beyond. “Where we live gives us so much beauty, and that beauty should be cherished. It only makes sense to me to give back,” explained Darren when asked why he volunteers for the Rob Machado Foundation. The Rob Machado Foundation was established in 2004 with the primary goal to educate and empower young people about being environmentally conscious and making the right choices for the earth. According to Darren, the foundation also takes on the task of raising money to provide funds for environmentally conscious projects or events.

Two important programs provided by the Rob Machado Foundation are water filling stations for schools and public spaces and innovative trash and recycling solutions at beaches, schools, and surf events. The water stations provide a clean, healthy drink option for children and community members while simultaneously eliminating the need for single-use plastic water bottles. The trash and recycling solutions protect waterways from waste and save recyclables from entering landfills. “I enjoy being a part of what Rob stands for because not only does he exemplify surf culture, but he is also a committed environmentalist,” revealed Darren, who cites the garbage can installation at Cardiff Reef as one of the most impactful projects in which he has participated. Darren encourages all those interested to contact the Rob Machado Foundation to find out more about the foundation’s many programs and events, including monthly beach cleanups and the Rob Machado Bro Junior Surf Competition and Concert.


Name: Darren Tkacs
Community: Encinitas
Volunteer Affiliation: Rob Machado Foundation
Profession: Works with California State Parks
Hobbies: Surfing
Favorite Local Spots: Sambazon, Cardiff Seaside Market, Pipes Café, and Lourdes Mexican Food


Darren also advocates for the humane treatment of animals, including those who live within the depths of the ocean. In addition, he is passionate about healthy and sustainable food sources. “I grew up in the lawn and landscape industry, and I love making things green and healthy. It would be nice if all of us had the good fortune to grow organic foods in our personal gardens. Unfortunately, many of us do not have the option because we lack either the resources or the space,” said Darren. When Darren is not volunteering or surfing, he can often be found gardening and composting.

Group: Rob Machado Foundation
Mission: The Rob Machado Foundation’s primary mission is to educate and empower young people to make sustainable choices.