The Rose of the Triple CrownDec 18, 2016
Rosy Hodge and I are from the same hometown – a small city called East London on the Eastern Cape coast of South Africa. It’s a city known for empty right hand points, great white sharks and a producer of some world-class surfers. Former WCT stalwart Greg Emslie calls ‘Slummies’ home as do underground talents like Royden Bryson, Wayne Monk and the Malherbe family to name a small handful. It also just happened to produce the countries most successful competitive surfer in four-time world champion, Wendy Botha. (Even though 3 titles were as an Australian citizen – most Saffa’s still claim them.)
That’s where Rosy comes in. With Wendy as a role model growing up, Roseanne’s dream was to follow in the footsteps of one of South Africa’s favorites. And follow she did, competing successfully on the World Championship Tour for a few years, and while she might have not quite have achieved her goals competitively or won a world title, one gets the sense she is extremely thankful for the opportunity. But the story doesn’t end there.
Rosy Hodge enjoying some Honolua Bay shade during her competitive year. Photo: WSL / Towner
I watched Rosy grow up from a wide-eyed grommet that I once had to save from the rocks in giant surf at Victoria Bay when she was maybe 10 years old. I’d seen her honing her surfing skills on the chunky walls of those right hand points, and then witnessed her blossoming into the young lady she is today.
She fell off the tour a few years ago, and she picks up the story from there. “I got knocked off tour back in 2010 and I was hanging out in Hawaii. I was kind of bummed, we had just finished up the year and I was going for a swim at Rocky Point. When I was coming out of the water I bumped into Kate Bain and she asked me if I wanted to commentate at the Roxy Pro on the Gold Coast. I was like – OK, I’ll give it a go!”
When the event is not on, it's time for Rosy to enjoy the perks of the 'Dream Tour'. Photo: WSL / Cestari
One thing lead to the next and Rosy found herself commentating at multiple events that year. It wasn’t all easy from the start either, but it was something the tall South African grew into and when the new WSL was formed and took over the events, she was offered a full time roll. And it’s one she has since made her own. One could say she’s the rose among the thorns – no pun intended – but as the quality of the WSL production improved, so did Rosy.
“I love it” when asked about the full time gig. “It’s so much fun! Getting to travel and surf and have the whole experience without the stress of competing is awesome.” She doesn’t even mind watching the surf when it’s pumping anymore and would rather be behind the mike than slipping on the contest jersey.
Rosy’s African roots run deep, but she now resides in San Clemente, California and had even more reason for celebrating just last month. After getting engaged to her long time boyfriend Ian Foulke, she also landed a new deal with Rip Curl as a headline sponsor. She is still living the life – probably far beyond her initial dreams and expectations she had as a kid.
Rosy with her fellow commentators on set at the Billabong Pipe Masters. Photo: WSL / Cestari
She has that signature dimpled-smile on the outside that has her won thousands of fans the world over but also possesses an incredible humility and grace that precede her no matter the company she’s in – and that’s the quality that really endears the people to her.
I asked her if she was the happiest woman in professional surfing right now? She just laughed and rather than blurt out a predictable response, she retorted with something a little more philosophical. “We all go through things, and there are challenges but when things work out how they are supposed to and the timing is right, everything just falls into place.”
And us pro surfing fans are all are the benefactors of Rosy Hodges’ life falling into place. I think she is the happiest woman in professional surfing and she plays a key part in the commentary team. Quite simply the webcasts wouldn’t be the same without her.