NewsRosy Hodge

Rosy Hodge, Off Duty

Despite being off the broadcast for the last three events of the Championship Tour season, analyst Rosy Hodge has been busy. She married her longtime partner, worked on moving into a new home, and even got a puppy. Visa considerations have kept her off the road -- she'll be back for the Outerknown Fiji Pro at the end of the month -- but time at home has been a welcome change.

Rosy Hodge about to test the conditions before crossing live for the call. Naturally shy, Hodge has had to work to put herself out there on camera. WSL / Kelly Cestari

We spent one of those rare mornings off with her in San Clemente to see what daily life is like (when she's not living out of a suitcase).

World Surf League: You're originally from South Africa, but you're now a homeowner in San Clemente. What led you there?
Rosy Hodge: Aside from Hawaii, San Clemente is one of the farthest places from my home, in South Africa. It's funny, I've been traveling from such a young age. When I first came here, I was actually in Manhattan Beach [about an hour north], my sponsor had a house there. So as I was traveling back and forth, it just made sense to stay in California, and obviously it's easier to travel anywhere from here than from South Africa.

After being on the road and living out of a suitcase for the last 10, 11 years, to actually having a home base and putting down roots somewhere is a welcome change.

And my now-husband grew up in San Clemente, and I ended up spending a lot of time here. One thing led to another, getting a house here and setting up a life here. After being on the road and living out of a suitcase for the last 10, 11 years, to actually having a home base and putting down roots somewhere is a change, and a welcome change. So I like this town, and dreamy California.

What is daily life like for you?
When we're on the road, it's super hectic. But when I come here [to San Clemente] I find that routine that I sometimes crave. I get to go surf every day and go to yoga and walk the beach trail and go to Bear Coast Coffee, see my husband in the evening. You get into that groove and normal life routine.

My husband and I surf a lot together, I think that's one of the things that can connect a couple.

My husband and I surf a lot together, I think that's one of the things that can connect a couple, is when you get to do those activities together. At the same time, also realize that when he wants to surf crazy waves and I want to surf little four-foot waves somewhere, he can do his thing, and I can find baby waves and longboard, too.

OK. Except, you're the former pro surfer...
That's one of the things since transitioning from being a pro surfer to how I enjoy surfing and interpret how I'd like to surf every day, right now I'm in this phase where I'm really enjoying longboarding and surfing fishes. And stepping away from shortboard, performance surf all the time. It's been fun trying different crafts and enjoying surfing in a different way, apart from my competitive side.

Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic 2010 Before joining the broadcast team, Hodge competed on the women's Championship Tour. Above, surfing the Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic in 2010. WSL / Steve Robertson

Your transition from competitor to broadcaster looks like a dream life from the outside. What has it been like for you?
In terms of being where I am today, it's about making the most of opportunities when they come your way. It's always scary chasing after something that you're really passionate about and that you love because there's always that fear of not accomplishing what you set out to do. But at the end of the day, even if the perfect plan changes along the way, it's so important to set your mind to do what you're passionate about, because that's where you find the most fulfillment.

At the end of the day, even if the perfect plan changes along the way, it's so important to set your mind to do what you're passionate about, because that's where you find the most fulfillment.

It's all about a learning curve. There's always going to be times that seem super hard and then you come out of those experiences, and you learn a lot and you carry on your way. I've been fortunate to have these opportunities to surf and travel and do something I love. And then, to transition into commentating for the WSL, is something that I didn't know that I wanted to do until the opportunity came along, so it was about facing the challenge of being shy, or traveling, or doing things that you're uncomfortable with, so that you can learn and grow and enjoy it.

How did you cultivate journalistic skills?
It's been interesting, because, being a professional surfer, I know what it's like to compete and be in that headspace - the high when you win or the low when you lose - and try to put myself in a surfer's position when they get out of the water. It's also been a huge learning curve, with some training, but it's also been on the fly and being a sponge. Learning from guys like Ronnie Blakey and Joe Turpel, and taking what they know, and watching them and the way they work, and being willing to learn and not be stubborn and think you're getting it right all the time.

It's hard to watch yourself on a playback and just cringe, but it's important to get a feeling for what you're doing and how you can improve.

It's hard to watch yourself on a playback and just cringe, but it's important to get a feeling for what you're doing and how you can improve.

Former CT surfer turned WSL commentator Rosy Hodge enjoys a few small waves on a lay day at Cloudbreak. Her new gig does have its perks. WSL / Stephen Robertson

Of course, everyone makes mistakes at work sometimes. What was one of your biggest on-camera flubs?
This year at Pipeline, it was my first interview with John John Florence after he had become the World Champion. I had everything sorted - before you interview someone, or you try and get an idea of what's going on in the heat, and try to pick up on key points. Obviously, his being the World Champ, and being one of his first interviews at a CT event after becoming a World Champ, you have an idea of what you want to say. But I had so much that I wanted to say all at once, that I just kind of went off, and was like, ‘Uhh [makes noises]...' It was basically a statement, but I threw a question mark at the end of it.

I had so much that I wanted to say all at once, that I just kind of went off, and was like, ‘Uhh [makes noises]...' It was basically a statement, but I threw a question mark at the end of it.

It was pretty funny, because I think he laughed at me. It was embarrassing. Also, when you watch a broadcast, it's interesting seeing everyone's personalities come out anyway. I mean, you want to be super professional, and get it right and look confident, and act like you know what you're talking about. But it's inevitable that you're going to mess up every now and then. So, that was one. I apologized, but we laughed after.

John John Florence wins heat 6 round one of the billabong pipe masters Even pros make mistakes sometimes. WSL / Tony Heff

During the broadcast, what's happening when you're sitting on the desk and all your interviews? You're walking around all day with a walkie talkie tucked in at your back, and an ear piece in your ear, so you can hear the programs, and what the commentators are saying. You're listening to that, but the producers and director can also talk to you. So you're getting feedback as you're listening to that and trying to talk to people.You're constantly trying to stay on top of what's happening at all times.

How do you decompress at the end of those days? That was one thing, when I first started, and we've have these long days, as soon as wrapped up, I'd just want to sit on the couch and not to talk to anyone and be mute. The best thing now, though, at the end of the day is to jump in the water, or go for a run and get rid of some of that energy.

Lastly, congratulations on your recent marriage. Apart from the wedding itself, did you have time to celebrate?
A couple of my friends organized to go out on the Wednesday before we got married, and that was so much fun. It was ridiculous that people managed to make the time on such short notice and make us feel so special and loved. We ended up going to this little wine bar called The Cellar, and they dressed me up in ridiculous stuff, and the usual shenanigans. I think Ian came off the worse for wear, he went out with the boys. We'll probably have a bachelor-bachelorette party in the future, an excuse to have a fun weekend with our friends.

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