The tour's best commentator on life "inside the hurricane" that is the WSL…
There’s a split in the electrical current in BeachGrit‘s twin bureaus, Sydney and Los Angeles. In the noted writer Chas Smith’s city of angels, the World Surf League is, “Maybe the worst thing that has ever touched the Internet. Watching professional surfing is a tremendous waste of time, especially during the early rounds. The commentary, new starlet Chelsea Cannell aside, is utterly asinine. So bad that it is an assault on the decency of human speech. The waves very rarely put on any sort of display and the surfing, while clearly exceptional, rarely wows. Especially at stops like the Gold Coast and especially two days ago.”
In Sydney, meanwhile, I’m beguiled by every feint of the World Surf League, every bold stroke of its monied masters. When God awakens me with his hot minty breath breath during the contest waiting period, I pray a little swell will kick down Snapper’s famous bank.
Combine new signing Chelsea Cannell (a queen of the television set!) with the former Slater-slayer Ross Williams and the beautiful Ron Blakey (who makes me want to anchor his thumb in my mouth), and you have broadcasting perfection.
I recorded this interview with Ross Williams at 11:58am, this morning, just prior to the Roxy Pro.
BeachGrit: You came out of the gates, swinging. Tell my why…
Ross: Oh, on that first day of competition it was so easy to be a commentator. The waves were really fun and everyone was surfing the best they’ve ever seen for Snapper. Yeah, I know it’s cliched to say that, but every year they seem to get a little better. And that was one of the finest days to watch small-wave stuff.
What turned you on?
I did four heats of the men and Dusty really, really impressed me and then I was really psyched on Mick Fanning even though he didn’t win his heat. Girls? All the hype is on Silvana Lima and deservedly so. She has all the big rotator clips online and she backed it up by smashing Steph. There’s old school in her, too. She’s got her swagger. She’s come to compete and she’s letting everyone know.
How does she broadcast this intention?
She’s been firing vocal shots across the bow about how she wants to win. More often that not, you hear competitors talk about how humble they are and how they want to give credit to their opponent. Silvana doesn’t. She seems like she wants to destroy ’em. And that’s cool.
“That was straight gangsta.” So bold! So African-American of you! I loved it when you used it to describe a Mick Fanning turn. What’s the genesis of the phrase?
I grew up listening to nineties rap. It means someone who’s not messing around, somehow you can compare it to competition, and it means someone who is really bringing the heat. Y’know, I just wanna mix it up. I don’t wanna overdo it but it’s nice to hang a cheesy phrase on an event. I don’t wanna be repetitive. I’m like anyone else. I love to tune in to sports and I try not to be redundant.
“Buttercup manoeuvre”. That was sublime…
Half the time, stuff will come out of my mouth and sometimes it’s cool, sometimes I sound like an idiot. “Buttercup” came out of my mouth, I think, to describe a really smooth Matt Banting air 360, meaning, really smooth, too easy. In my weird little world, it seemed to come out ok.
Tell me about Chelsea? Is she simply the most beautiful gal ever on television?
She is definitely a breath of fresh air on our crew. She’s so at ease, really good, spot on. She’s really good at interviewing and we’re all really, really stoked to have her on board.
Is there anything in the world that hits a man right there in the heart than a smart, beautiful gal?
I’m a married man so I wasn’t looking at her that way. But, uh, yeah, she’s beautiful! And more importantly, she brings it, man. She’s a great reporter.
My partner Chas and I have a different electrical current on the WSL. I love, he don’t…
You know, I get really stoked to hear what people’s opinions are outside of the bubble. We’re so in it, and when you’re inside the hurricane, you can’t what the hurricane’s effect is. I love to hear feedback, good and bad. Everyone takes their job seriously, here, and is passionate about providing a good show.
Where’s Pat Parnell?
Um… that I won’t answer, I don’t know if I’m at liberty… obviously, he’s not here, I’m not going to say he’s off and lo and behold up in the office they decide to bring him back. Ronnie’s stepping in the booth with me… he’s fricken way too easy to work with. He’s naturally funny, doesn’t push it, he’s extremely surf savvy and he knows what he’s talking about. I will say about Pat, he’s sorely missed here. There’s a lot of fond memories being recited about Pat. He’s a fucking epic human.
Is he dead?
No, he’s not dead! He’s just sorely missed. It’s a big deal that he wasn’t here