Sal Masekela – The Voice of Action Sports on Telling Better Stories


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Sal’s Wild Idea: To tell the stories of life through athletes, sports, and music, and share them with the world.

If you have ever watched action sports on TV, there’s a good chance you’ve heard or seen Sal Masekela. With a rich, deep voice and a gift for gab, Sal’s been a beloved commentator, journalist, musician, producer, and philanthropist for over a decade. He hosted the X Games for thirteen years, VICE’s World of Sports, E!’s Daily 10, the FIFA World Cup when it was in South Africa, and he currently hosts NBC’s Red Bull Signature Series, has his own production company, and is working with National Geographic.

Sal is an amazing storyteller, which you’ll get a taste of in this episode. From moving to San Diego from New York and discovering the world of surfing, paving a path for himself as a commentator in the world of action sports, and deciding to make his own music, Sal’s stories draw you in.

We talk about being an outsider, his relationship with his dad (South African jazz icon, Hugh Masekela), why he decided to make his own music, and how you can pursue your passions. I have always admired Sal’s career and looked up to him since I was a kid, so I hope you enjoy this show as much as I did.

Listen to this Episode if

  • You’ve heard Sal’s voice before (or even if you haven’t)
  • You love action or adventure sports.
  • You love music.
  • You enjoy good stories.
  • You want to have an epic career.

Key Takeaways

  • 4:50 – How Sal first discovered surfing.
  • 10:10 – Sal had to play catch up to learn how to surf like the kids at his school.
  • 11:00 – How Sal learned where the waves were good before the internet.
  • 16:20 – Why being the odd man out was a good thing.
  • 20:00 – How Sal got a job at Transworld.
  • 25:00 – How much money Sal charged for his first hosting gig.
  • 30:40 –  How he gets his awesome voice (hint – he doesn’t do vocal exercises).
  • 31:20 – When Sal started getting paid to do what he loves.
  • 33:10 – How to ask for what you know you’re worth.
  • 34:50 – Why music and surfing go hand in hand.
  • 39:10 – Sal’s relationship with his dad and with music.
  • 45:00 – When Sal started making his own music.
  • 49:10 – Where Sal finds inspiration for his stories and songs.
  • 53:20 – What Sal thinks the future of storytelling is.
  • 59:00 –  What music Sal listens to when he wants to get pumped up or to chill out.
  • 1:01:20 – How Sal prepares for an interview.
  • 1:02:20 – What Sal’s favorite Crossfit move is.
  • 1:09:00 – Advice Sal would give his younger self.
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