Get love drunk on the WSL's prize commentator…
She came into our lives just this February, a thirty-something, almost six-feet tall balayaged dreamboat, so able with a microphone… so confident and so wonderfully funny.
Chelsea’s lineage is pure television royalty. Her pops Stephen J. Cannell was an Emmy award winning producer of dozens of television series including The A-Team and 21 Jump Street.
Do you even remember time pre-Chelsea Cannell? Look at the photo above and tell me every single man isn’t in thrall to California’s finest export since the Tesla electric motor car.
BeachGrit: Where did you spring from? Surfing webcasts were so dreary until you came along! Actually, they weren’t. But you make the sublime divine!
Ms Cannell: Awe,Thank you! I was actually a big fan of the webcast last year and have been really fortunate to join the team this season. I’ve been working on a variety of projects over the past few years, one minute I’m covering the BCS National Championship at the Rose Bowl, the next the Billboard Music Awards. So I think the least complicated answer, would probably be to say, Fox Sports. I spent 3 years there and it’s where I think of myself as being “from.” I was surrounded by some of the best in the biz and learned a lot during that time. I even got to cover the 2012 Olympics in London, which is definitely a career highlight so far.
What is your official role on the webcasts? Color, expert commentary? Anchoring?
My official role is as a sideline reporter which, as I’m sure you’ve seen, really revolves around the post heat interviews, injury updates and interesting storylines that might happen during a heat. Not a bad gig, in my humble opinion.
Tell me, what techniques do you employ to appear so natural, so at ease?
That’s very kind of you to say. I’m not sure I have a technique other than just wanting to connect with whomever I’m interviewing, listening and reacting to whatever is being said, and then just following my natural curiosity. I think whatever ease you may be referring to is really just a testament to the surfers on tour and the general vibe at the contest sites, everyone has been really welcoming and that definitely helps.
Who did you fall in love with, instantly, among the boy commentators? My personal favs, among the boys, is Ron (for sheer beauty and skin tones), then Ross (for his mind).
Ha ha, how could I pick? I will admit that I have fallen in love with the entire commentary team, all for different reasons. There’s no denying that they are the very best at what they do, and as a result, there’s a unique level of insight I’ve been able to gain as a result of working alongside them. They are quite possibly the most talented, fun group of people I’ve had the pleasure of working with in quite some time. I feel pretty lucky to be a part of the group, both on the broadcast, and off.
Do you love Joe’s voice, like me? He defines surf commentary for me. Does he dazzle you too?
Joe is really incredible. I do love his voice, but what I think really strikes me about Joe is how much passion he has for the sport and the work that he puts in to really knowing every last detail. Joe has so much knowledge and experience, and it really comes across in his commentary. That, and the kind of guy he is. When I hear him talk about the surfers and say “they have time for everyone” it always strikes me, that’s actually the perfect way to describe Joe.
Who’s your favorite guy and favorite girl on tour to interview and why?
Essentially every interview, in that moment, is my favorite because I never know what the surfers are going to say and I love having the opportunity to get their reactions immediately after a heat. When covering any sport, it’s your job to remain unbiased and unemotional so that you can cover the sport fairly and from all angles and because of that, I really resist having favorites. That being said, and because I realize that’s a bit of a boring answer, I will say, both Tyler and Owen Wright have both been on the receiving end of some of my more “creative” interviews and I always really appreciate their willingness to humor me.
Is Kelly Slater everything you ever dreamed of, and maybe more, or did you know him before you joined the tour?
Of course he is, he’s Kelly Slater! I have so much respect for him, his career, his character, and what he’s accomplished. It’s pretty special, and such a rare thing to be able to experience someone of his caliber in their element. Seeing Kelly surf is not something I will ever forget in this lifetime, that’s for sure.
What has been the most thrilling thing you’ve seen on the tour?
I’d say all the heats at the Box at Margaret’s were really thrilling for me because I’ve never seen anything like that up close. That place is just breathtaking. It’s absolutely impossible to explain in words if you haven’t been there, and the photos just don’t capture the raw beauty. Everyone told me I’d love it, and it did not disappoint.
Are you emotional sorta gal? Do the highs and lows of sport really work you?
I’m not typically an emotional girl, but there have been definite moments this year and during the end of last that have caught me off guard. When I interviewed Stephanie Gilmore right after she found out she’d won her 6th title, she started to cry and I thought oh lord, here it comes, this is going to be embarrassing if I get emotional too, but luckily I was able to hold it back. That moment was really moving for me.
I’m so Brazil, Brazil, at the moment, do you feel it? Do you feel the Brazilian surge on the frontline? Can you describe?
Hard not to be, right? I think what you can definitely feel, is the support the Brazilian surfers all provide for one another on tour. It was really apparent on the Gold Coast when Filipe won, they were sitting together, really cheering for him, and cheering almost as loud as the fans on the beach below. In those moments you can definitely feel their momentum, and desire to bring home another Brazilian World title.