Saturday, February 2, 2008

ONeill Crowned VSA Surf Jam champ!

Competitors shred the beach's big EPIC II wave (photo: Seb Saramago)

Pushing off at 12 noon SL time on Saturday, the VSA Surf Jam brought dozens of SL surfers and surfwatchers down to Majini Island beach for the first VSA competition of the season. Organised by the nearly 200-strong Vibrations Surf Alliance, the competition drew a big home crowd, who were not disappointed to see Vibes surfer ONeill Auer walk away with the Surf Jam crown!

A Surf Jam field of 18 competitors took full advantage of Majini beach's big EPIC II wave, which crashes across most of the Majini Island sim making it one of the most exciting for both surfers and spectators. Four preliminary heats of big-wave surfing helped to sort out the men from the boys (and the women from the girls!), allowing three from each heat to go forward into the semis. If the Surf Jam heats were simmering nicely, the semis were positively boiling!

Surf Jam time! Kitty cuts back on a big blue Epic (photo: Seb Saramago)

ONeill Auer's natural flair and dedication to the sport paid off with him edging out Timbo Flanagan and Jaqueline Infinity, to take the Surf Jam's number one spot. Timbo took second, while Jaqueline third place, making it a big day for the ladies on Majini beach.


1. ONeill
2. Timbo
3. Jaqueline
4. Buffy
5. Kitty
6. Matt
7. Coz
8. Tony
9. Pinky
10. Kage
11. Curt
12. Vic
14. ATown
15. Fin
16. Lollypop
17. Bodie
18. Abel
19.Lopez (NS)
20.mao (NS)

Photo credits:
Seb Saramago, Jaqueline Infinity

SLURL: Majini Island

SURF REPORT-- Bundoran Reef: surf, grass & Guiness

Above: Pipeline wave breaks on Bundoran Reef

Home to the Reef Rider Surf Team, Bundoran Reef is nestled between the West of Ireland to the South, Crab Island to the North and the big wave break of Neart to the East. Named after the surf capital of Ireland (RL) in County Donegal, Bundoran Reef offers some of the best mixed-wave surf in Second Life and as the name suggests, the waves break over a rock reef and then roll in for about 210 yards onto rocky beach. Bundoran Reef has a striking green coastline, which gives its own special ambience, distinctive from SL's many golden sandy tropical beaches.

Surfers can teleport into Bundoran Reef and paddle out past the break, but its also possible to TP into the ajoining Crab Island which is near to where the waves begin. A good variety of pipeline and ocean foam waves with good frequency break down most of the length of the beach. Bundoran Reef offers some interesting terrain and features for spectators. A green headland juts out about 40 yards on each side of the reef break, providing a raised platform to watch the surf. The West headland also has a medieval stone lookout post which is ideal for surveying the surf below. The East side has a semi-submerged rocky headland which extends almost to the end of the sim: good for taking a short break from surfing the waves, but you wouldn't want to have a party on it! An eternal wood fire burns on the main beach suitable to gather round for after-surf story telling.

Just inland, bordering Neart, Bundoran Reef has an inlet which provides anchorage for a recreation of a 16th century Spanish galleon. Surf shops on Bundoran Reef beach sell Heather Goodliffe and Namiko boards and wetsuits (no doubt essential, for Bundoran Reef's temperate climate!). A few steps away in West of Ireland are more shops (including Analog Surf) and Nancy Blake's Irish pub, ensuring the sim's flow of draught Guiness continues uninterrupted.

SLURL: Bundoran Reef

Second Life Surfing 101

If you are new to Second Life (SL) or new to SL surfing, here is a Q&A covering basic questions about surfing in SL.

What is Second Life Surfing?

There are many beach sims in Second Life with virtual waves coming into the shore. Orginally developed for their aesthetic appeal, Second Lifers soon identified waves as a source of potential fun. Today there are a variety of wave types, which have characteristics that allow surfers to ride them. Different waves have different characteristics. Different boards have different scripts, allowing them to perform different maneuvers on Second Life waves. Second Life surfers try to perform many of the same maneuvers that surfers execute in real life.

Where is it possible to surf?
To surf in Second Life, you need surfable Second Life waves. Most beaches with surfable waves will mention this in their profiles or on notices on the beach. If in doubt, look for surfboards on the beach and ask the regulars. Check out Socks' Rough Guide to Second Life Surfing for the full run down of surfing sims.

Is Second Life surfing difficult to learn?
Fortunately for many, Second Life surfing is much easier to learn than real life surfing. For one thing, you don't have to hold your breath for long or be a good swimmer! Second Life surfing is easy to start, but remains difficult to master.

What do I need?
Many surfing beaches have established beach clubs and club boards available for use by novices and regulars alike. Other beaches have surfboards for rent. Frankly, we suggest that you try using a club board a few times and see how you get on. If you like Second Life surfing, then buy your own board.

Can I surf anywhere in Second Life that has waves?
It's possible to surf most waves in Second Life, since the majority of waves on popular beaches are now surfable. However, as with other sims in Second Life, some beaches are private or members only and its not possible for visitors to surf. You may also come across beaches that do have public access, but don't allow you to use your own board. Read more about some of the best surfing locations in Second Life in SurfWatch Surf Reports. For a full guide on Second Life surfing spots read Socks' Rough Guide to Second Life Surfing.

Where can I buy a board?
There are many, many surf board shops in Second Life. Major surf beach locations generally have several surf shops offering a variety of boards and accessories. So, there are basically two ways to buy a new board: 1) find a popular beach location and check out the surf shops 2) search for surfing or surfboards in Second Life search (inworld).

Are boards expensive?
Boards range from L$ 450 to L$ 2,000, although most seem to be about L$ 555. Prices depend on how new the board design is, the features included in the board's script and the manufacturer.

Are there different types of board?

Yes. There are long boards and short boards. Some boards have scripts that enable more maneuvers than others. And then you have a myriad of graphic designs. The majority of surfboards in Second Life use animation scripts developed by Heather Goodliffe. However, you will also find i) non-HG boards that use scripts created by other developers (eg. Action Surf & Skate, HP Surf Boards and Rob John,) and ii) hybrids that use HG scripts, but also incorporate some extra scripts of their own for special features/functions. Custom board designers can create surfboards to your own specifications, with a unique design and sometimes with customised scripts.

I have a surfboard but it looks like its sinking: why?
Linden Lab updated the software server code for Second Life sims in April 2008 and the new update changed the 'physics' of how objects behave in Second Life. As one consequence, surfboards made before the update rezz a few inches below the water instead of on top of it. See the SurfWatch article on Heather Goodliffe's board update program.

Are there rules for Second Life surfing?
Not rules as such, although each sim will have its own rules, but there is a generally accepted surfing etiquette, which is much the same as real life surfing. In brief, the key points in Second Life surfing etiquette are:

* Line-ups -- Get in line and wait your turn in the line-up (queue to catch waves)

* Rights of way -- The surfer closest to the wave has the right of way

* Drop-ins -- Don't catch a wave already being surfed by another surfer (this is called 'dropping in' and is not polite)

* Paddling out -- Paddle in either side of the surf (via the 'channel') not straight into the waves

How do I meet other surfers?
Most Second Life surfers are friendly people! They are all to happy to meet other surfers (and wanna be surfers). Identify the surfers, go up, say hello, ask about the beach and the surf. Surfers are usually pleased to help and give advice.

What is the difference between the types of Second Life wave?
There are three types of popular surfing wave at the moment: 1) Ocean foam or 'fluffies': these are white waves that sit low on the water and are easy to maneuver on; 2) Pipeline waves: these are rollers that have a curved shape and allow surfers to surf up and down the face of the wave; 3) EPIC: this is a big, tubular wave that provides the closest thing to a tube riding experience in Second Life , allowing surfers to surf inside the tube.

Are there any surfing clubs?
There are a growing number of surfing clubs, competitions are becoming more frequent and more and more Second Lifers are taking up virtual surfing. Many core surfing beaches have members surfing clubs, so go to the beach and ask!

What is the best way to learn Second Life surfing?
As with many new pastimes inside Second Life and out, you can learn by trial and error (simply start surfing and find out first hand what works and what doesn't work) or you can get lessons. Some Second Life surfing beaches have beginners surfing lessons to help you fast track your learning process. Majini Island has a surf school.

Where can I find out more about Second Life surfing?
Come back to this blog! And often! Also 1) check out the Second Life Surfing Association site 2) join an Second Life surfing club 3) talk to other Second Life surfers.

First published 27 February 2008. Updated 21July 200

Useful links
SurfWatch Surf Reports: Socks' Rough Guide to Second Life Surfing (9 Jul 08)
SurfWatch: Heather Goodliffe announces board update program (5 May 08)
SurfWatch: Surf Reports
URL: Second Life Surfing Association (SLSA)