A comely blend of intimidation and sex appeal!
Several years ago, while editing a print surf title called Stab, I tried to arrange a photo shoot with the virtuoso of the post-heat interview, Rosy Hodge.
Don’t you even dare tell me you’re unaware of her broad South African vowels and hair that flashes like warped gold or of the way she towers over her subjects, projecting a comely blend of intimidation and sex appeal. Often, and now that I’ve mentioned it you’ll notice it, big names, household names, stare wide-eyed with their very famous mouths fixed open.
“Ah, can you repeat the question?”
Initially, I felt as if I’d over-extended my flank with the offer. A brief email exchanged was followed by silence and then a terse refusal.
Two years later, after explaining that she’d “just got nervous” and that she could be “persuaded to give it a go” Rosy was leaping like a gazelle into my borrowed Mercedes Benz, folding and unfolding staggeringly long limbs into the passenger seat.
“On the beach we bawled our eyes out,” said Rosie. “I ran home crying and hid in a corner cradling myself.” These experiences have given Rosie a constant feeling of attack, by shark, even when she’s many thousands of nautical miles from her home country (Rosie has a Great White tracking app on her telephone).
From four-thirty pm until a fingernail before midnight, I collected much data. While the photographer soaked up what we might call a brazen corn-fed beauty, I learned from my pestering that she possessed an undeniably strong and moving personality.
Rosy said she was reared in East London aka Slumtown, although Queensbury Bay where she learned to lick her chops in the surf ain’t exactly Soweto. That if you stand on the lawns surrounding her parents’ house, you might see giraffes, zebra and perhaps a lion. That the righthand point in front of her house was the stage for a much-viewed YouTube clip where the viewer watches, horrified, but secretly fascinated, as two Great White sharks attacked, but not fatally a pal.
And, where, just three years ago, Rosy watched Greg Emslie, the former South African professional, be charged, bumped and circled by a four-metre White.
“On the beach we bawled our eyes out,” said Rosie. “I ran home crying and hid in a corner cradling myself.”
These experiences have given Rosie a constant feeling of attack, by shark, even when she’s many thousands of nautical miles from her home country (Rosie has a Great White tracking app on her telephone) and says she is much more respectful towards the animals and henceforth never surfs when the sardines are running at her home beach however good the waves might be.
Now let’s examine five immediate impressions.
1. She is taller and slimmer than the squished rectangle of your laptop allows. Clearly, it is the unflattering jackets she wears on the beach in Autumnal France during the Quiksilver events there that gives Rosy a slightly thick appearance, although I had taken it as evidence of a terrific bust. But, in light clothing befitting the last day of summer, I see a woman close to six feet, rather narrow, and pretty as hell.
2. Pretty ain’t the word. When Rosy swings into the Byron Bay rental the producer pulled me aside to whisper, My God, she’s beautiful.
3. She ain’t one to poison her mind with forgettable literature. Within sixteen minutes, yeah, I glanced at my watch, she’d referenced the 1938 travel classic Enchanted Vagabonds, New York writer Juno Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and David Eggers’ What is the What? I could question every single one of my preening writer pals and not get a response half as worldly.
4. She breezy as hell. Most times, it’s the gang behind the camera that slugs the champagne and takes front stage with the wisecracks. Rosy didn’t guzzle, that just wouldn’t be her thing (class!), but her flute was thirsty enough and that mouth of hers held its own in tough company.
5. Adventure, above all. Rosy told the story of how pals of hers rowed across the Arctic Ocean from North America almost all the way to Russia, a thousand sea miles. “Listening to their stories of rowing their friggin’ little hearts out and then getting stuck in a labyrinth of ice and then getting hit by a hurricane is heartbreaking but they still killed it.”
Rosy told me she dreamed of finding a boy whom she could adventure with, ready to take on whatever the world might throw at her (this would happen in Rosy’s thirtieth year when she married the astonishingly attractive and capable Ian Foulkes).
Envision her now, smoking with a contemptuous scowl and yelling derision at you in a rough harsh voice.
You return her gaze with blank and tender eyes.