Saturday, May 31, 2008


31 May 2008 -- SurfWatch is reporting live from the Majini Island on the VSA Surf Jam 4 -- Starting Saturday 31May 2008 from 1200 hrs Second Life Time (SLT or PDT) or 1900 hrs GMT.


This is the fourth VSA Surf Jam of the year, which takes place today on Majini beach's Epic wave break. 17 surfers are expected to take part in the competition.
SurfWatch will post the competition heat draws, semi finals results and finals results only for Surf Jam 4.

SurfWatch Results is also available on the mobile (cellular) Internet via SurfWatch Mobile

Friday, May 30, 2008

INTERVIEW - Heather Goodliffe

By Tauri Tigerpaw. Exclusive to SurfWatch.

It's no exaggeration to say that without the
legendary Second Life surfing wave and board developer known variously as The Big Kahuna, the mother of Second Life surfing and sometimes just as Heather Goodliffe, Second Life surfing simply wouldn't exist in its current form. SurfWatch got to talk Heather about the impact of the Havok4 server update, the surfboard exchange program and the current state of Second Life surfing.

SurfWatch: When did you create the first surfable wave in Second Life?

Heather: Lets see, I think it wasn't too long after I came to Second Life, probably February or March 2006. I spent a little bit of time exploring and learning about scripting and building. From the start there were certain things I just felt were off in Second Life. Not having waves was one of them. I think it was
Sebastian Saramago who actually bought the first set of waves. He's definitely the one who really motivated me to make them surfable, working together we made the very first set of surfboards that actually interacted with the waves.

SurfWatch: You've done all this in that short amount of time. Incredible...

Thanks. I've had a lot of help and collaboration from a lot of talented people. [smiles] Seb, Keala, and Poid, just to mention a few, as well as a lot of great customers who've pretty much funded the development with the waves and boards they've bought. There have been a few in particular who have really invested in our work and really helped to drive it that way.

Any feeling for how Second Life surfing has faired since Havok4?

It's an on-going pain, but it has been settling down. I'm now bracing myself for the upcoming Mono release which I'm sure will be just as fun. But as far as the surfing goes, we haven't really done a whole lot on the boards themselves. The effort is more in following up with Linden Lab to make sure they're fixing problems relevant to surfing and setting up a system by which we could efficiently exchange boards for people. I've also made rounds to all the Epic and pipeline wave sites to make adjustments to the waves.

So the current upgrades fix the old board floatation issues?

Well, I also did some other minor changes I'd been working on for a while based on feedback from surfers: such as setting the camera to be zoomed in or out via the dialog. And the automatic sit target adjustments so that people aren't floating over the boards or have their feet through the boards so much.

So are there any issues with maneuvers and riding on waves after the upgrades?

Well, they may ride differently. Some people have reported that the short boards go a bit nutty when people do flips. I did mess around with making some adjustments to how the boards ride, but the experience is that people like how they ride pretty well already, and it's pretty hard to improve on. Or at least not many want it to change much.

So are you getting good input from surfers on the new beta boards that are being tested?

Yeah, I've gotten some great feedback on some experimental things, but we probably won't be touching the way the boards surf for a while. The experimental boards are a bit more realistic in some ways, but it kind of trades off on the fun in some other ways. So, we're going to opt for more fun!

Surfwatch: WOOOT!!! So any updates on how the current board exchange program is going?

Well, just a big thanks to Abel Halderman! [smiles] He's done many many board exchanges and made a lot of people very happy.

Any updates to future board upgrades? You mentioned last time that you were working on a more efficient way to upgrade old boards...

Yeah, I put together a script that I think will do the job but it relies somewhat on a backend server. I still need to test it to make sure it works reliably and intuitively.

Any insight on how boards sales have been effected? Have they picked up post Havok4?

I'd say they're doing very good. [smiles] Poid's also put out some new windsurfers which people have really liked as well. Earlier in the month was pretty bad for board sales and just for Second Life in general, I think. We still have daily asset server problems and various other issues, but there were a couple weeks there where I think a lot of people pretty much just lost faith in Second Life transactions working at all.

We heard from Linden Lab that the waves have a high impact on sim performance. What can you tell us about that?

Heather: Yes, with the foam waves in the open water sims and not the pipelines waves, the sim stats would look fine in the void sims, but according to the Lindens they were dragging down all the sims hosted on the same machine in some special Linden Lab stats only they could see. Unfortunately, it looks like we're pretty dependent on
Linden Lab to fix this one. Meanwhile, Maggie Linden has been visiting sims and 'helpfully' returning waves, which understandably upset a few people. I've done an alternative work-around version of the waves until the underlying problem is resolved, but haven't heard from the Lindens what effect it has on their Linden accessible stats.

SurfWatch: So Linden Lab is working on that issue currently?

Heather: Yeah, it sounded like Simon Linden was working on improving the rezzing of objects under Havok4 which I suspect is the bigger problem. Maggie seemed to think it had to do with H4's handling the movement of the specific the shape.

SurfWatch: Any updates that you know about that Linden Lab is working on?

Heather: Well, I believe they're in the process of rolling out an updated sim version. I'm not entirely sure what all they got into this update, but I believe it's supposed to have improved the issue with the foam waves.

SurfWatch: Anything else you'd like to add that maybe we didn't ask?

Heather: Poid probably wouldn't mind me mentioning the phosphorescent waves. I think you did a piece on the ones she set up not too long ago (see SurfWatch 9 May 08). You can see we've incorporated a script into the pipelines running here at the SSi beach. She's a creative one. They do make for a very cool effect. [smiles]

Monday, May 26, 2008

Surf's up at Kahuna Beach!

By Ashleigh Dickens

Favourite surfing spot for Second Life surfers Kahuna Beach reopened this month at Hedonism Estates after several months off the grid. Many surfers will remember Hedonism's twin surf beaches from last fall and early winter: two surf breaks, one with a sim-wide Epic wave, the other with a rocky cove with pipes and fluffies.

Kahuna Beach's fabulous beach break

"There were a lot of sad people when we closed the [surfing] sims," said Phelan James, owner of Hedonism Estates. "Financially they were not feasible, so some hard descisions had to be made and sadly they needed to go. I was being asked regularly if the waves were coming back. With Linden Lab created new pricing structure and with the successful restructure of Hedonism we could do just that: bring them back. And here they are!"

The main surf beach at Hedonism had been named Kahuna Beach by the late surfing legend Thor Bishop. However, early in this year the two surfing sims vanished off the grid. In recent weeks, Hedonism reopened Kahuna Beach, which is very similar to the beach surfers will remember, with it's long Epic wave and thin strip of sand. The landscaping and atmosphere has changed a little, but the name has not.

Hedonism is a clothing optional island and so too is Kahuna Beach, however, as Phelan is keen to point out that with freedom comes responsibility. "If someone is not able to act like a responsible adult they are banned. I am often known to be running around naked. I have even surfed that way. It is fun. As long as you act responsibly anything goes. Just do not hassle other people. Hedonism is not a sex sim: it is not our focus. We are about adult fun. So why restrict it? There is plenty of other restricted places to go for that."

Hedonism is a community of 7 sims and there are plans to expand Hedonism Estates to 18 sims in total. Hedonism Estates has also recently announced plans to link-up with TCH Estates and Wilder Estates to form a new mega-estate called the Broadwater Antilles (see SurfWatch 23 May 2008).

SLURL: Kahuna Beach

Sunday, May 25, 2008

QUENCH wins big day at Neart

Neart's competition wave break

It was a big day for QUENCH Spotter at the Reaction Longboard Epic on Saturday as he upset the rankings by coming through from the bottom of the SLSA table to win a semi-finals tie-break heat at Neart and then continued on to win his first ever SLSA surfing competition.

"I knew where my weaknesses were on the wave and managed to avoid them. The conditions at Neart were fab and I felt good about most my rides in the final heat," said QUENCH after his win. "You get that tingle inside that you know -- oh yeah baby! This wave wants me! And then you go for all!"

29 surfers competed in seven qualifying heats at the
Reaction Longboard Epic, out of a total of 35 registered, sending 15 surfers through to the semi-finals. However, two of the semi-finals produced two second place ties, forcing the judges to call a semi-final tie-breaker heat with five surfers to decide who would join semi-finals winners Christine Daffodil, Pova Rustamova and VW Sands in the final heat.

"QUENCH came through from a highly competitive semi-finals tie-breaker heat," said Sally LaSalle, SLSA director and one of the three judges at the competition. "And the tie-break had the highest average scores of any heat of the day."

Desne Aabye, Paeida Allen, Desirae Beaumont, Abel Halderman and QUENCH Spotter all faced off in the tie-breaker, which saw Desne, Paeida and QUENCH go through to the final. "I was so stoked to make it to the semis: that alone to me was an achievement," said QUENCH. "Once I passed that and found out that I was in a tie-breaker heat, I was in Second Life shock!"

QUENCH shared the winners podium with second place VW Sands and third place Christine Daffodil (see pic above). SLSA Marshall Tauri Tigerpaw was awarded the Surfcamp Outstanding Sportsmanship Award of the event.

The Reaction Longboard Epic at Neart was the fourth competition in the SLSA calendar and the SLSA season's first competition with Epic waves. It was also the first surfing competition to be held applying the SLSA's new 'wave count rule' in the event's semi-finals and finals heats, allowing all semi-finalists and finalists to catch four waves each.


1. Quench Spotter (17.83 points)
2. VW Sands (17.50 points)
3. Christine Daffodil (17.16 points)
4. Pova Rustamova (16.66 points)
5. Paeida Allen (16.5 points)
6. Desne Aabye (16.0 points)

SurfWatch: LIVE RESULTS -- Reaction Longboard Epic (24 May 08)
SurfWatch: SLSA draws Neart heats (24 May 08)
SurfWatch: Lady in red (21 May 08)
SurfWatch: Surfing Calendar May-June 2008 (19 May 08)
SLURL: Neart, West of Ireland