local legend to be the voice of first-ever Olympic surfing competition | Sports
Local announcer, DJ and broadcaster Brad Jay will be the voice heard by millions of people in a matter of weeks as he takes the mic for the first-ever Olympic surfing competition at Tsurigasaki Surf Beach in Japan.
“It’s pretty cool, I grew up as a kid loving the Olympics,” Jay said. He has been involved in surfing and skateboarding most of his life, bombing the Californian hills at the age of six; he said he remembered watching alpine skiing competition – his favorite event at the Olympics – on television as a child.
Although there have been 28 Summer Olympics since 1896, this year will be the first time that surfing will be included, marking a new level for the sport.
“Never in a million years would I have imagined the two would meet, but that makes perfect sense. The Olympics want younger viewers, surfing wants more visibility,” Jay said.
This isn’t the first time Jay has called an Olympic event. He began working at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City as a Music Director before becoming an on-air snowboard commentator in 2010, 2014 and 2018.
Jay said the progression in action sports has increased tenfold recently, with athletes regularly performing maneuvers that would be rare a decade ago. Spins and tunes were typically performed at the end of a race, where they are now performed early in a display of confidence and control.
“It’s as if the boards were almost glued to their feet. Gabriel Medina, Filipe Toledo, these are guys who just spin and spin, ”he said.
As surfing progressed, the culture started to change from the past, he said, going from a van with your friends and crashing the waves to a strict diet and exercise regimes. “Right now the athletes are just in better shape, in better physical condition. They have strength trainers and nutrition trainers, ”Jay said.
Jay’s trip to the announcer booth at the biggest sporting event on the planet is a testament to his ability to adapt and find a way to make a living doing what he loves most.
Jay lost his job as an on-air DJ with KJEE in 1999, and this low point led him to seek new options. “It threw me for a loop,” he said. With experience as an MC, announcer, and competitor in amateur skateboarding competitions, he found himself one summer afternoon watching the X Games and thinking he might be the man on the mic. .
“I thought I could really do this for a living. I am an advertiser and I love the sport, ”he said. He started working for the X Games, eventually making more connections and running contests across the country. In addition to action sports, he has also found jobs at reputable organizations such as the Los Angeles Clippers and Dodgers. Finding his place in the advertiser’s booth was a life-changing experience for Jay.
“Traveling the world and having a passion for what you do doesn’t sound like a job. Once you’re seated the mike turns on and you just fire up the contest, love that, ”Jay said. “It’s one of those things, if you love what you’re doing you won’t be working a day in your life.”
Jay has just returned home to La Conchita after six weeks in El Salvador, broadcasting and covering the Olympic qualifying event and spending his time off the mic on a mountain bike or on the waves – which he says reached 10 to 12 feet high. His passion for adrenaline-filled experiences hasn’t faded, although he said he’s a little more careful now.
“I’m still in it, I’m a little smarter now. I don’t want to be broken, ”he said. “I’m 57 and still charging it.”
Jay plans to be in Japan from July 17 to August 3 and has said that traveling during Covid-19 comes with its own set of obstacles. “There’s a lot of protocol, you have to jump through a bunch of hoops,” he said.
While he enjoys his job a lot, he also strives to provide the most in-depth commentary possible, spending countless hours researching and finding bios and trivia for each athlete. “For me, preparing and knowing as much as possible about the event and the athletes is essential,” he said. “To not prepare is to prepare to fail.”
Jay is used to making his voice heard across the world, from the Winter Olympics to the X Games to Red Bull Signature Series events, but covering the very first surf competition for the Olympics will expand. even more its scope.
“What I do on television will be heard in 171 countries,” he said. Jay’s call will be broadcast on Olympic broadcast services, as well as the NBC Sports mobile app in all countries with an option in English. The program for the event is an open format, which means that the competition can take place anytime between July 26 and August 2, depending on the surf of the day. Check the official schedule each day for exact times.