Tom right at home in the surf
THE ocean means a whole lot more to Tom Williams (above) than chasing swell. As he sits quietly waiting for the next set to roll in, Williams can often be found having a chat with his dad, David, who died of cancer when Williams was in his teens.
‘‘I speak to him all the time,’’ Williams said in a recent interview, ‘‘but especially out in the surf when the waves are non-existent. Then I’ll really speak to him.’’
Given his affinity with the water, Williams, 38, was the perfect candidate to host the new season of Channel 7’s factual series Surf Patrol. Being a surfer there’s probably no better job than this. It’s a good fit. I have competed in surf lifesaving for 16 years at Palm Beach, which was the first club I joined. I also spent two seasons at Manly Surf Lifesaving Club. You spent five years officially patrolling the beach. What was that like? Me and my mates all joined up after we finished school and we loved it. We’d stay down there at night. During our probationary years and throughout the years of patrolling it really was a second home. The ocean can offer up some sticky situations. Have you had any close calls? Palmy (Palm Beach) is a pretty good beach and it’s a safe beach, especially in the southern corner. But when you do get a big swell coming through, it can get dangerous, and countless times I’ve had to bring people in on boards or inflatable boats. Do you consider it a stroke of luck that you rang Merrick and Rosso on Triple J 10 years ago (and launched a career in showbiz)? Totally, yeah. I never expected to have the career path I’m on now. It’s complete luck. Right place and right time. I remember my first TV gig. I was as green as the spinach I am looking at on my plate. Very, very fresh. Do you still do carpentry work? Definitely. It’s something I studied for seven years and hold to my chest. I always look on it as a nice thing to be able to do.