"Surfline has seen many wonderful moments and I know each visitor and guest will agree with me that it certainly was one of the best surfing places in Second Life," said Gweneth Lange, Surfline Brand Manager on Saturday. "However, Rezzable is still very much here and there's always lots to do."
Rezzable is renowned for creating engaging content-rich experiences in Second Life and its new Surfline sims were certainly rated highly by the surfing community. Now it seems surfing is coming off the map at Rezzable forever and according to industry sources, we can expect to see more surf sim closures due to the harsher economic realities of Second Life.
Maintaining a surf sim is expensive
"When the the bulk of the surfing community is spending time at only a couple of surf locations in Second Life, those locations that don't see traffic will close down," said ATown Fall, owner of TCH Estates. "Cuts need to be made somewhere and, it's sad, but it's often in places that are fun but with low income draws. And there is no reason to offer something that is expensive to run when people are not using it. For the record, TCH Epic Surf zone will remain open and fully operational."
Maintaining a surfing sim with waves that perform well is an expensive operation, particularly so given the state of the Second Life economy. Many Second Life businesses witnessed a sharp downturn in April due to Havok4 related disruptions and average land prices dropped by half in the second quarter forcing Linden Lab to freeze land supply earlier this month. A full-spec surf sim costs US$ 295 per month in tier fees, before looking at other costs associated with surf sim management.
"It's a shame that Surfline is closing and this is something a lot of surfers don't realise and appreciate enough: sim owners have to pay about US$300 every month to keep the sim alive," Radical Twang, co-owner of Reaction. "Full surf sims don't generate income, people just see it as "yeah sweet.. cool surf spot". I certainly wouldn't have a full beach sim without my store to cover the costs. I foresee more closing due to financial issues, not everyone can afford to provide something so expensive, without any real return"
Lack of support from the community?
"It is a real shame to see Surfline go, it was one of my favorites," laments Bishara Estate Manager VW Sands, who is also ranked 6th in the SLSA season competition table. "Most people do not understand what a full spec sim costs. Add to tier fees the costs of running contests, gifts, prizes, activities, staff and so on and you can see that this costs a fortune. Majini is no exception. We rely on the guests to help us pay for all this, either through sales of surf related products or direct donations. For sims like Majini to live on and remain great places to hang out and surf, the surfing community is going to have to help out or more and more sims will pull the plug. Simple economics."
Carenahh Kuu, owner of Helio Estates, which combines surfing, water sports and residential sims, agrees "It is hard to keep surfing sims going for the public, since they are not revenue makers and now there is more economic pressure as well. Surfline is a great loss to the surfing community; it has been around from almost the beginning and I hate to see it go. I can relate to how hard it is for Gwen and her team, having had to give up Monkeh Barrel myself earlier this year."
"We all want great places to surf, but have become spoiled or perhaps just unaware of the economics of what these sims actually cost the owners. Let's hope that the really great surfing sims don't just turn into ad-farm, Zingo center, commercial, 'legal gambling', neon-glowing, shady, money-first billboards as some already have, just to stay on the grid!" adds VW.
One last surf
Meanwhile, surfers have already begun heading down to Surfline to pay tribute and surf the waves there for the last time. "Surfline was a fantastic place to surf," said Pova Rustamova, SLSA season one champion surfer. "I loved it and its a crying shame we can't keep it open."
For those that want to paddle out for the last time at Surfline, the last day open day for the sim will be Monday 30 June 2008.
Updated 4am SLT 29 June 2008
SurfWatch: Rezzable changes Surfline venue (17 Apr 08)
URL: More images of Surfline on Flickr (courtesy of Socks Clawtooth)
SLURL: Surfline Aloha Rezzable