Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Legends Series: INTERVIEW -- Sebastian Saramago (originally published 10/6/2008)

Within the pages of SurfWatch is the rich history of Second Life (SL) surfing from the mouths of the surfers that created or developed or promoted or excelled in this virtual sport over the years.  Enjoy these interviews and the perspective from these surf legends as SurfWatch begins "The Legends Series":

By Tauri Tigerpaw. Exclusive to SurfWatch.

Surf Systems Inc.'s Sebastian Saramago talked to SurfWatch recently about Second Life surfing's early days, the birth of the Second Life surfboard and his famous collaboration with leading wave and surfboard script designer Heather Goodliffe.

So, how did it all start?

Sebastian Saramago: Not long after I started in Second Life, I was building my dream home and shopping for textures at a local store. I met another chap who just happened to be named Sebastian as well. We started talking, and he ended up inviting my girl and I to his place to see his new build. We were checking out the area and the first thing I noticed was something in the water... something moving... OMG it was WAVES! A little figure hovered over the sea with her arm outstretched as if to summon the Second Life waters to rise and roll into shore. That was when I met Heather as she was making the first set of waves. She was a friend of the Sebastian I had just met. It was wonderful. I needed them... but
Heather was not selling the waves yet as she was still developing them. I invited her back to my mainland sim to test how the waves would work on my land. I wanted to support what she was doing because I believed in it. That's when I bought one of the first 'wave rocks' sold.

At this time she had a surfboard that was about like a hover board, and you really had to almost sit on the wave to move to shore. We talked about how best to make them surfable within the first week of having the waves up and running. I got some old hover board and started picking it apart and stripping the script down and removing prims. When I had done as much damage as I could, Heather began adjusting and adding to the scripts to make it float, make it smooth. This was the birth of virtually simulated surfing in Second Life. Over the months we developed many improvements and tested countless configurations. Man... looking back that was a lot of fun.

SurfWatch: Who opened the first surf sim?

Sebastian: We moved from our first home to Siberian sim. Half a sim with a nice white sandy beach. I soon build the first surf shop there on that beach. We sold two types of boards. The first was the surfboard Heather had just made that works with wave push. The other was a less costly board that was stand only. We called the advanced and basic. Later of course we added that feature into one board.

SurfWatch: So how did it get from there to where Second Life surfing is now?

Surfing as we know it nearly never happened. There was a time when Heather kinda fell out of Second Life due to her disappointments in some practices of other sellers. That, along with many Second Life issues at the time, kept her constantly fixing the broken scripts. Most of it was word of mouth and I ran ads and listings. Heather had turned over the scripts of the boards to me and I was fumbling along with them for a while.
I basically begged Heather to keep working on them. I knew that if she could get the right balance of board and wave that people would love it. She had wanted to come back and really put her all into it.... so, she did and started working very hard on improvements. That's when the model of the current scripted board was born.

Not long after that I sold my sim there and bought Quan Li. We set up the second surfshop. But still there were only 4 or 5 across Second Life. Thats the place most of my very fond memories of surfing took place. I met so many great people. We really had a feeling of close, personal connections. It was truly great. No politics, nothing but fun, surf and parties. I never cared about the money or biz of it. Heather is the brains in that area. I came to Second Life to have fun, not to make money or run a shop.

SurfWatch: So your vision was more in terms of creating a fun sport in Second Life?

Sebastian: Everything I did was to help Heather make something people would love. Indeed, that was Heather's goal, too. Perhaps that's why we were not bulldogs in marketing and development. We did not try to swarm in and push surfing on Second Life. We enjoyed it. We both had real life jobs and did the Second Lifething when we could.

SurfWatch: Seeing where Second Lifesurfing is now, how does it make you feel in terms of reaching your goals?

Sebastian: The goal was to keep it working. Second Life had so many issues at the time and it kept breaking everything. Many great builders and scripters left. By the way, that first surf shop is the place we met Poid [Mahovlich] and Nora. They are still around today. At that time we agreed that it would be good to have a few designs of Poid's added to our sets. That was the first time we let other people's art on our boards and gave them a cut for it.

Some time after, on Quan Li, Heather met Keala Mimistrobell. Heather looked at some of her grahpics and really liked them. Heather and I talked about it and decided it would be great to let Keala do a set of graphics for 10 boards. Of course, things started to pick up and trafic was near 8 to 10k each day. More and more people thought it would be so cool to stick a graphic on a board and have a line. Bad thing is, with as unstable as things were, it was simply not worth it for us at the time to do the work to set up vendors. People did not feel they should pay, and really almost no amount of money was worth the extra headache to us.

But that started Heather working on a way to make it a bit less time consuming to do vendor sets for others who wanted a line of boards. Over the next many months, she had that system in place. I guess that was really the start of the 'franchise'.

SurfWatch: Is Second Life surfing where you thought it could be? Better, worse?

Sebastian: I believe the passion and dedication people have are amazing and really inspiring. People are people and many things will happen you don't agree with, no matter what business you are in. We take things very personal here... for me it was a hobby to start with, not a business so, when people cross you and betray you, it hurts. Its personal to me, not business. But for the most part, people love the sport. It adds something to their lives, not just the surfing itself, but the great community around it. To tell you the truth, having a few friends around the camp fire at Quan Li and enjoying the surf would be fine with me.

I don't really find a place in the current surfing community, mostly due to staying out of political issues... and not wanting people to feel some people have an unfair advantage for whatever reason... this kinda leave me on the outside of things. Ironic really.

SurfWatch: You still surf?

Sebastian: Of course. When it's not a competition, I like to go out to Weather and teach the noobs. I also like to show the new school kids a thing or two once and a while [laughs]. I just like helping the noobs have fun and see what there is in Second Life to enjoy.

SurfWatch: Can you give us a taste of what major things are in development?

Sebastian: I can't really say what's in development. I can tell you that riders will really enjoy the range of control. And we hope that wave systems under development will give surfers the fresh breath they have been looking for. All I can say is that we have been at this for as long as we have for a reason. We love it. And we will continue to develop cutting edge products for the sole propose of giving our devoted surfers the best that Second Life constraints will allow us to produce.

SurfWatch: Anything else you might want to add that I forgot to ask?

Sebastian: Only that if anyone would like to speak to me about anything, needs help or just someone to talk to, that I am here for my fellow surfers. I support my family of riders and will always continue to do so.

Useful links
SurfWatch: Interview -- Keala Mimistrobell (25 Aug 08)
SurfWatch: Interview -- Heather Goodliffe (30 May 08)
SLURL: Surf Camp
SLURL: Sebastian's Surf Shack (Weather Island)
SLURL: Quan Li

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Second Life Surfing Association (SLSA) Top 3 2017: Interview with Moira

SurfWatch recently caught up with Moira (venera74) at Bundy Surf Beach, ranked top 3 in the SLSA standings in 2017 and SLSA Director, to get to know her and share her thoughts on Second Life (SL) surfing.  

SurfWatch (SW):  Have to ask, how did you find out about SL surfing and how did you get started?  Where, who, when all the details lol!

Moira:  I have to go a little behind with my story.  I live in a seaside town in Italy, a small town, but great for surfing.  Here everyone surfed and competitions are organized at European level.  I started surfing when I was child, about seven years, but at 10 I had an accident and health problems related to it.  After recovery, really long, I tried to surf again, but understanding, I  never can surfing again.  It was really hard to accept.  The sea, surfing, is my passion.  I live them as if they were part of me.  It is my lifestyle.

I was really down.  My sister told me about SL and surfing.  She told me that I could ride again.  So she gave me her avatar, and I entered in SL for the first time.  It was June 20, 2015.  I had search with her the sim for surfing, and the first I found that inspired me was Tsunami.  And I went and WOW, the waves.  Could not believe my eyes.  Took a board and threw myself on the first incoming wave.  I stood up on a surfboard, and I was again surfing.  It was a wonderful feeling.

While I was surfing, I saw someone waiting sitting on the board.  Petra Xaris.  I began to talk to her, knowing her, and she spoke of how it worked, SL surfing, the various differences of surfboards, showed me some waves.  And I stood ecstatically - really, you could do all this in SL?  She spoke to me about surfing competitions, inviting me to attend the LSD competition the following Saturday.  I went there and it was beautiful.  I decided then to want to compete.  Petra and I became friends and I asked her if she wanted to become my coach.  She accepted and so it all began.  Time later, I met MaryAnn Maa, owner and team captain of the Team Tsunami
She spoke to me about her team, and asked me if I wanted to join, I thought about it for a few days and finally accepted her invitation.
I'm glad I did it, I immediately felt in a family with her and all the team members.

SW:  What made you want to surf?  How hard was it to learn?

Moira:  What made me want to surf?  Passion!  That fire inside which does not make you stay away from the surfboard and the waves.  In every way you can have it, even behind a monitor, that sense of freedom I feel when I'm surfing, the chance  to do and making it true, and not just a memory.

How hard was it to learn?  Well, really good question.  I don't know.  I surfed a lot.  In the break between the 2015 season 1 and season 2, I was in the water every day trying again and again all the surfboards and many waves as possible.  Petra was an extraordinary coach, gave me advice I tried to put into practice, trying to do what I liked.  And was good for me, surfing the waves in a way that felt right and that gave me pleasure.

I practiced a lot, every day, even for 8 - 10 hours a day, but without all that was or is a burden.  I can practice for hours, days, weeks and months without never getting tired, because each wave I surf is a world unto itself that begins, ends, and begins again the next wave.  Understanding what can I do with a surfboard and what the surfboard can do for me, adapting to my style, understanding how my style can be adapted to a specific wave and what I have to change to make it effective.

Arrived on the day of my very first open competition, I did not know how I was surfing.  Petra said it was good, but I was not convinced.  So I did the first heat and got a good score of 15:00, second high score of the comp. Qualified for the Pro competition where I arrived fifth.  I realized what I had done was good and the way I had followed was right .  So I can't say was hard, it was just fun.

SW:  Did you know anything about real life (RL) surfing?

Moira:  I was a RL surfers and I am in love with surf, so I think the answer is ...yes.

SW:  How did you get involved in competition surfing?

Moira:  I wanted to surf, and I was happy to do it again in SL but I knew nothing about comps and SLSA. When I was child, I attended many surfing competitions, saying to myself, one day I will compete. Petra told me that in SL were surfing competitions.  I quickly realized that I wanted to participate, and  I wanted  be able  to do it soon.  I'm very competitive.  I love the competition and especially love surfing, the perfect blend, and it was easy to decide to enter in the world of surf comps.  I saw the last competition of the season 1, 2015, and, like I said, it was the right push for me want to participate in the new season.

SW:  What are your favorite competitive moves?

Moira:  I love to be smooth and fast, not, like, just press the keys trying to make mechanical moves or combinations like a video game.  I like to try to adapt my style to wave I'm surfing and to the board I'm using, trying to do something can be nice and effective, but overall can be nice for me and I like (not sure if was this the question, lol)

SW:  What do you get out of competitive surfing?

Moira:  A lot of satisfaction, not for the results I got, not only for those, but to have had the opportunity to meet many wonderful people, and know a beautiful world where I feel really at home.  And overall for having had the opportunity to realize my dream of being able to compete in the surf when I was convinced that would never be possible and I had lost hope.  Surfing competitions gave me a new life!

SW:  What's your favorite board?

Moira:  I like each board I use because are different, but maybe my favorite is LSD.

SW:  What music, if any, pumps you up for surfing?

Moira:  I don't have a favorite music.  Much depends on how I feel and my state of mind.  I usually listen to old rock, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, for example, but I can listen everything.  It depends on what at that time give me the charge.  I love classical music and the great composers, Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi, etc.

SW:  Is there anyone in the past or current surfing world that you admire their style and try to emulate?

Moira:  Well, I think everyone have his own style, different from each other, and I think everyone deserve to be admired precisely because of this diversity.  Regard to emulate someone, well, I prefer to be Moira, with my style and my way for doing things.

SW:  What advice would you give new surfers about how to start?

Moira:  The only advice  I feel I can give is this: be passionate.  With the passion and dedication you can get all results.  Do not rush, take your time trying and trying again.  Try to figure out what is your style without want to look like someone.  And over all, have always fun in every wave you surf.

SW:  Where are your favorite places to surf?  What's your favorite wave?

Moira:  Think I have not a favorite place for surfing and I have not a favorite wave.  I am happy when I surf in every place on every wave.  Nothing else matter.

SW:  What do you imagine SL surfing will be like 5 years from now?

Moira:  Surfing in SL, it is a reality, established from years.  There been and there are people who have committed their time, their desire, and why not, their money, to make surfing and competitions possible, to make it known, giving  to the community of surfers, something really great.  I think  by continuing with the same commitment and the same desire, surfing will become more, a solid reality in SL.

SW:  What else do you like to do in SL in addition to catching a wave?

Moira:  After discovering the surf and have surfed for days, I realized that SL was truly immense and you could do a lot of things.  I discovered my best friend years ago  made an avatar and using it for a few days, I convinced her to come back in SL.  And with her we explored a lot of places and is still one of the things we like to do. We found the clothes and shopping * sighs *, and  became the main activity.  I spend every competition prize in clothes and hair * sighs again *.  I even convinced my mother to be in SL, too.  My sister gave her second avatar to my mom, so I spend a little time with her, too, considering  she complains because of school and everything else,  we never have time to be together talking.

SW:  Anything else you want to add?

Moira:  I would just like to add a big thank you to all the people that have made and make it possible, who dedicate their time, and their commitment to serve the community of surfers, and their fun, to all those who have passed, but have left their mark, and to all those who today continue on this way, doing something great.  I'm really happy to say, to be part of that, too.  And I want say a big thank you to my team Tsunami, for all the support and for make me feel always a member of a family.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Surf Cove, Playa Perdida

Submitted by Opal Rivers
Photos courtesy Austin Novaland

Landmark:  Surf Cove at Playa Perdida (148, 7, 23) Adult

There is a new beach in town and the creator, Austin Novaland, is a long-term resident of Second Life (SL).  In SL, you can usually find him surfing, sailing, and attending live music performances.  He is a self-described SL explorer, creator, and relaxer who is passionate about growing the sport of surfing in SL.  His profile claims he is dumb and has no sense of humor.  However, I have found that his profile and his sim’s informational notecard are written with a snarky intellect.  By the way, the notecard provides a complete explanation about the sim with pictures provided.   Additionally, the notecard gives links to other information and is an interesting read for someone looking to learn a bit more about surfing and the etiquette.  There is no group needed to join to enjoy the full benefits of this well-made sim.  However, this privately-owned sim does have rules that one must be aware of before proceeding.  The sim greeter gives the highlights of them upon arrival.  Please refer to the notecard given for specifics.

Austin finds his inspiration in the creation of sims that are virtual wonders that has been discovered during his time in SL.  His first whole sim creation, Surf Cove at Playa Perdida, is certainly very inspired.  The sim is a mature surfing sim that exists in the timeless harmony of blissful surfing, adventure, and nudity.  He honestly represents what an island surf beach can be filled with to make one want to stay for the day.  The large dark lava rock cliffs are balanced by several oasis of lush green tropical beauty that certainly make a huge initial impression.  Austin reflects that he wanted the sim to have the feeling of a newly created volcanic island.  The recent relocation of Surf Cove at Playa Perdida allowed him to fine tune his creation through textures and animations.  Austin shared that the sim is work in progress and is ever evolving.

The sim’s surf waves are found just around the corner from the landing spot on the sim.  The waves used here are Maoli – Tahiti Break waves.  Since there are large rocks in the path of the wave, there is a good amount of surfing skill needed to not crash into the rocks.  There is no 911 in Second Life, so surf with caution. There are convenient surf viewing chairs that are located just in the water to cool you for those hot tropical days.  The clubhouse also has a nice place to socialize with friends and watch the surfing slide show.  However, there is lots more to be discovered in this creative sim.
Not only can one enjoy surfing, the sim also provides opportunities for exploration, cliff diving, yoga, and Tai Chi.  If you like cave spelunking, this is your place.  Above ground and undersea caves are interesting to explore.  As you progress deeper into the cave, you will receive positive affirmations along the way.    The undersea cave opening has a rope climb located nearby that will hoist you up near the zip lines.  The rope climbs are a fun animation addition.  Make sure you have your AO off to enjoy the climb up.  Seriously, could that zip line be any more fun?  The zip line will locate you near the yoga mats, so you might as well grab some namaste.   As the day turns to night, you might want to slow life down.  There are a few quiet spaces to share with someone special romantically or to reflect on the day solo.  No matter what you choose to do on this sim, I am sure you will not regret making Surf Cove at Playa Perdida a favorite in your list.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Remembering: SurfWatch In World - Volume 1

Click the application to view larger! Contact Tauri Tigerpaw or Ashleigh Dickins in world for your copy or a kiosk set for your land!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Oh no, Kono

Kono and an unidentified friend in a serious stand-off at Monkey Cove.

The goal of SurfWatch is to promote virtual and specifically Second Life (SL) surfing, along with promoting the sims, the competitions, the surfers, the designers and creators of boards, clothing, waves, the organizations and groups that support SL surfing, the events, things that are of interest to SL surfers. Join us.