B.O.B: Can you tell us how you originally got into surfing?
ROSS: My father used to take my brother and I to Manly beach pretty much every morning since I was three months old. We moved up to Terrigal when I was 10 and I remember winning a red and white foam surfboard in a random competition. I snapped the nose off it on my first wave while laying down on it, then I eventually stood up on it regardless of it having no nose. I remember claiming it, raising my hands in the air – no one was watching.
B.O.B: Who were your childhood surfing heroes?
ROSS: Michael and Shaun Tomson and then later Gary Elkerton, Cheyne Horan and Tom Carroll.
B.O.B: What do you think about the WSL big wave tour?
ROSS: I think it’s awesome that Gary Linden’s idea that originated around 2006 has evolved into what it is today. Gary asked me back in the day if I would be interested in getting involved, however, the last thing I wanted to do was go back on a tour. I originally did it for the lifestyle and that was really the only way to do it. I’m fortunate enough to partner with Red Bull and Quicksilver and they encourage me to ride big waves as a free surfer.
B.O.B: You are an avid auto fan. What’s scarier – 300km/h at Nurburgring or riding 30 foot+ waves?
ROSS: In my mind a 30 foot+ wave I can handle but if I smash at 300km/h I’m pretty sure that would be the end of me. So obviously the Nurburgring.
B.O.B: How did you originally get approached to do storm surfing?
ROSS: After producing The Sixth Element with Red Bull’s Chris Mater, narrated by Dennis Hopper and directed by Justin McMillan and Chris Nelius, we formed a production company called 6ixty Foot Films. We pitched the Storm Surfers idea to The Discovery Channel and they went for it. It originated as a documentary for a mainstream audience to explain the science and the adventures of two big wave surfers with the help of a meteorologist. We started with a 10-part TV series, which evolved into an award-winning 3D Feature film.
B.O.B: As one of the original OG’s of the big wave surf game, where do you think the progression can go from here?
ROSS: I think tow surfing for big waves is the future.
B.O.B: Nazare is now probably known as the pinnacle of big wave surfing. How did a wave of that magnitude stay off surfing radar for so long? Do you think that it’s possible to find a bigger wave than Nazare? Perhaps in the southern ocean? A place no one has discovered yet?
ROSS: It didn’t really stay off the radar – locals have been surfing it for years. One of them, Jose Gregorio, showed it to me in 2005, I’ll never forget that day, it was perfect! In regards to other waves, I may have just found one, I’ll let you know once I surf it.
B.O.B: What do you think about the Red Bull Cape Fear concept?
ROSS: It’s fantastic that Mark Mathews and Ryan Hipwood have collaborated with Red Bull to bring this concept to life. It’s such a unique and exciting event.
B.O.B: Do you think the results will be different now that the location has changed from Ours to Shipsterns Bluff?
ROSS: No not really. I think all the competitors have the skill, experience and courage to adjust to any wave that is dished up to them.
B.O.B: Who outside of surfing influences you in life?
ROSS: No one really… Maybe the weathermen?
B.O.B: Who’s your money on to win this year’s event?
ROSS: Honestly, a natural foot surfer, I can’t imagine what it’s like to ride it backside. Really though, I would put money on a local surfer.
B.O.B: If the world was to end tomorrow because of an impending apocalypse and money was not a factor, where would you go and what would you do in the remaining 24 hours?
ROSS: Go to VEGAS!
B.O.B: Can you tell me what’s the key to ballin’ on a budget, living a rockstyle life without a shitload of money? Give us some life hacks.
ROSS: Book the President suite in the worst hotel, pre-plan all your trips. Know people that know people that can get you into any and everything the world has to offer – this helps. The most important thing, just be kind and nice to people and give them the time they deserve.