Tom right at home in the surf

Herald Sun - Switched On - - News - ERIN McWHIRTER

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.

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