The ASP has announced the names of the nine commentators that will be calling the webcast for the upcoming 2014 season. The international commentary team will be composed of Pat Parnell, Joe Turpel, Ross Williams, and Martin Potter and will be supported by Peter Mel, Rosy Hodge, Todd Kline, Strider Wasilewski, and Ronnie Blakey.
The announcers will be joined by regional experts throughout the year as the Tour makes its way across the globe. In the past, the commentators varied between events, making it difficult to find a unifying tone for the webcast. The move to create a stalwart team falls in line with the ASP’s push to add cohesion to the webcasts this year. At one point last season, the ASP removed two of the commentators, Damien Fahrenfort and Jake Paterson, for what they deemed to be “inappropriate” commentary after the duo joked about betting beers on a heat and that Parko had received “world title points” at the Quik Pro France.
“For the first time in ASP history, we’ll have a dedicated and consistent team for the sport,” said Jed Pearson, SVP of content and programming with the ASP. “In addition to our core team, we look forward to utilizing regional resources around the world to ensure that the broadcast is the best possible quality for the fans.”
Noticeably absent on this list is Sal Masekala, who has worked extensively on the Tour in the past. It’s not clear if Masekela—along with the likes of other regional commentators like Dave Wassel, Sean Doherty, Reggae Ellis, etc.—will be making appearances as regional commentators.
What do you think of the new commentary team? Who would you like to see in the box next season? Who will you miss? Leave your answers in the comments.
Born and raised in Southern California, Pat Parnell has been covering action sports for over two decades. He joins the ASP team as host and play-by-play commentator. Parnell’s Career highlights include a long tenure at NBC covering five Olympic Games, the Vans Triple Crown and the network premier of the Mavericks surf competition. He has also hosted an array of shows including eight seasons of the Emmy-award-winning World of Adventure Sports, FUEL TV’s The Daily Habit, as well as Surfer Poll, Billabong XXL and the NSL California Cup. He boasts several production credits including co-producing Paved New World for ESPN as well as producing segments for J.W.A.S. on NBC Sports and Surfer Magazine TV. In addition Parnell has worked in various roles with MTV and ESPN on both the summer and winter X Games.
Joe Turpel started surfing on the South shore of Oahu, Hawaii. His dad, a former lifeguard, surfer and sailor began pushing him and his sister into waves on the weekends. When Joe turned 13, his family moved to Laguna Niguel, California where he joined the high school surf team. He later went to the University of California, Santa Barbara where he competed on the surf team and clinched a national title. While studying Communications and Dramatic Arts he interned at the ABC affiliate, KEYT, in the Newsroom and Sports department. After graduation, he got his first announcing job working for the National Scholastic Surfing Association, and a year later in 2007 he delivered his first broadcast in Brazil. Turpel is entering his fifth year calling play by play for the WCT. He has also been the play-by-play voice for the Billabong Pipe Masters, Vans Triple Crown, Rip Curl Search Events and the Volcom Pipe Pro amongst others. Turpel has published work with Surfing Magazine and worked as the Associate Editor at Surfline.
Originally born in England, Martin Potter moved to South Africa aged two. Potter has been involved in the sport of surfing for 38 years. He started at age 10, turned professional at 15 and competed in his first WCT event at 17. He came 8th in the world during his first year on Tour went on to win 16 WCT events and the World Title in 1989. He still holds the record for the largest winning margin to date (3800 points) and was the innovator of the aerial maneuver. Since competing in the WCT he has worked within the surfing industry as a coach, commentator, brand ambassador and mentor for numerous companies. Potter is married with three children and lives in Australia. He is still as passionate about surfing as he was aged 10 and surfs almost every day. Potter joins the ASP as an analyst.
Ross Williams starred in Taylor Steele’s Momentum Series and became a professional surfer in 1990. He spent 10 years on the WCT, four of which he spent in the top 16. Following a broken foot in 2001 Williams retired from the Tour and, on recovery, became a free surfer and an ambassador for Reef. He has been married for 10 years and has three daughters. Williams will join the ASP team as an analyst. “My goal is to shed light on all the beautiful intricacies of competitive surfing with a passionate effort”.
A legendary big wave surfer and 2012 Big Wave World Tour (BWWT) Champion, Mel will join the ASP as an analyst and reporter. Mel has been a professional surfer for 25 years, both on the BWWT and the ASP Qualification Series. A Santa Cruz native, Mel has been at the forefront of big wave surfing for nearly two decades. He’s surfed some of the biggest waves ever ridden and was part of the inaugural mission to Cortes Bank in 2001. Mel has also made a name for himself on the big screen starring in several documentaries, including “Step into Liquid” and “Riding Giants”, as well as the film “Chasing Mavericks”. In 2010 his candor and charm fueled a secondary career as an online personality hosting ASP webcasts. He lives with his wife in Newport Beach and has two sons and a stepson.
An experienced WCT competitor turned commentator, Hodge’s winning personality and surfing insight will ensure she is a great attribute to the ASP Broadcast team working as a reporter. Hodge grew up surfing the right-hand point breaks of east South Africa and managed to qualify for the WCT just one year after graduation from high school. After four years on Tour, from 2007 to 2010, she moved to the other side of the camera and has been commentating on surf competitions around the world for the past four years.
Todd Kline is a former professional surfer who grew up in Florida. He surfed professionally for five years and achieved four wins on the ASP Qualification Series during that time. He also served as Quiksilver Marketing Director for 16 years. He now lives in San Clemete with his wife and son and competes in bass fishing tournaments when he’s not surfing. Kline has been interviewing athletes on the beach at ASP events for the last several years and will be a host and reporter as part of the ASP Broadcast team.
Strider Raspberry Wasilewski
Strider Wasilewski is a California native and professional surfer known for his a big-wave riding of Pipeline on North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii and Teahupoo in Tahiti. He will join the ASP commentary team as a reporter and analyst. Strider claimed his first surfing victory at the age of 12, winning the NSSA National Title, and continued to successfully compete throughout his teens. Following this Wasilewski took a different route to professional surfing, doing film and photo trips around the world and choosing to compete in contests only in Hawaii and Tahiti, where he still surfs. In 1994 he landed the cover of Surfer Magazine. Wasilewski has served as Team Captain, Team Manager and Marketing Manager at Quiksilver, during which time he discovered and signed Dane Reynolds and created the now legendary Quiksilver Pipe House. He has also produced and directed his own films including Circle One and Clay Marzos’ Just Add Water. He lives with his wife and two sons in Malibu, California. Wasilewski is excited to be part of the new ASP Broadcast team and bring his knowledge of the sport to the viewers in a unique and colorful way.
Ronnie Blakey started his career in surfing in 1997 as an assistant editor at Tracks, Australia’s biggest surfing magazine, a position he held for two years before launching the magazine’s website as online editor. During his tenure the Tracks website quickly became one of the top five sport sites in Australia. In 2003 Ronnie became editor of Waves magazine, and, after three years began working as a freelance journalist contributing to various publications, including Surfer, TransworldSurf, Stab, Surf Europe, Zig Zag and Surfline. Since 2006 Ronnie has worked on many ASP event broadcasts and called over 20 WCT finals. Articulate, thoughtful and entertaining, Ronnie delivers expert analysis and unique insights into the strategies, elite athletes and world-class locations that make up professional. He will serve as analyst and reporter as part of the ASP Broadcast team in 2014.