Saturday, July 12, 2008

What makes a competition surf sim?

With the first Second Life Surfing Association competition season behind us, the SLSA is busy planning the next season of surfing action and has invited sim owners to apply to become competition venues for Season Two. Majini Island, Surfline, Monkeh Barrel, El Corazon and Neart provided the venues for Season One. We already know that Monkey Barrel and Surfline will not be around for the second surfing season, which means that the SLSA must find at least two new venues by default just to hold the same number of competitions. Which begs the question, what makes a good surfing competition sim? And how will the SLSA choose?

“The basic criteria for an SLSA competition sim are all performance related,” Sally LaSalle, SLSA director told SurfWatch (see pic right). “We’re looking for class 5 sims, probably not class 4 and performance comes down to a few elements: prims, textures and physics. However, what makes a good surf sim is more subjective than that. The sim needs to have some atmosphere, a feeling if you like and, where SLSA competitions are concerned, it needs to provide a challenge.”

VW Sands, Bishara Resorts Estates Manager who runs Majini Island surf sim agrees. “A full spec sim with very little prim-traffic and nearly no scripts! And a full spec adjacent sim to swallow spectators. However, atmosphere is a whole new challenge. Either a place has it or it doesn't in my opinion.”

“Well perhaps the most important thing is that there is a joining sim to hold the spectators on, this helps spread out the strain that a contest puts on a sim,” comments former SLSA director Craig Stallion. ”The only exception to this would be perhaps venues that have access to their own server. Certainly full prim sims are better able to handle the strain all things being equal as they tend to have more access to server resources.”

“What makes a good surf sim? Well the closest you can get to a full sim with zero lag,” said Pova Rustamova, the SLSA 2008 Season One champion. “Surfline, may it rest in peace, was beautiful. El Corazon had so many scripts on the island that when competition started it was like surfing in molasses. And then Monkeh Barrel surfed great, but broke down on competition day. Although, I love surfing them all! Of course, we always forget that simply having people on a sim cause problems too.”

The SLSA has already received a dozen offers from surf sim owners to host SLSA competitions in Season Two. "We want to give sim owners the ability to register their interst and have a fully open process," explains Sally. "This first step really is just about gathering basic information. The decision making process on choosing the final competition sims will also be open."

Other than having a full spec surf sim, all that is required of the sim owners is for them to dedicate management resources to work with the SLSA organisers and to turn the sim over to the SLSA for a day. However, whilst there is no financial requirement made of sim owners by the SLSA, surf sims must also take the SLSA competition sponsorship package if they want their brand to be associated with the event.

Sim owners wishing to offer to host an SLSA competition in Season Two should complete the application form available via the SLSA Forum as soon as possible.

Useful links

URL: SLSA Competition Sim Application Form
URL: SLSA Season One Contest Calendar

Friday, July 11, 2008

New kid on the block: Shark Surfboards

By Ashleigh Dickins.

“I wanted to surf a retro fish, and as no one did one, I decided to make one myself,” Paeida Allen (see pic, left) told Surfwatch when asked what inspired him to start Shark Surfboards. His main surf shop has opened just recently at Sunset Bay with examples of the company’s custom work on show, as well as vendors selling the 10 varieties of standard production board currently available.

Shark Surfboards' current board shape offerings include a big wave gun, a hybrid shortboard and Paeida’s beloved fish; in a variety of designs old and new. “I think in the future I will offer more shapes,” said Paeida. “I’m working on shapes all the time, but it’s not easy to get a clean shape into Second Life.”

One of the future shapes he is working on is a 50’s style gun, inkeeping with the retro style designs already featured on the shortboards. You won’t find a longboard in the vendors currently, but they are offered as a custom style and examples are leaning against the shop wall.

Buying one of the shortboards from the vendors will only set you back L$555. However, if you want to stand out from the crowd, or get a longboard, you'll need to go custom. Shark Surfboard's custom boards start at L$2,000. All of the boards sold by Shark Surfboards feature Heather Goodliffe's Epic board script.

Whether you pick a retro fish, or a smooth and modern design on a gun, Shark Surfboards have bite. “The two shortboards are very fast; they are more competition boards,” said Paeida, a competition surfer himself, ranked 20th in the Second Life Surfing Association (SLSA) Season One table. Look out for these speedy predators next time you’re surfing.

Useful Links

Shark Surfboards

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Socks' Rough Guide to Second Life Surfing

By Socks Clawtooth, Senior Furry Correspondent.

One of the things I've noticed recently is a lack of an updated surf spot list. The most modern one I could find was about January... of 2007. One of the things I adhere to in life is that if you see a problem, you fix it if you're able. And after the 'Where the Hell is Socks?' video, I apparently have developed a reputation as a sim hopper.
And I guess I am.

So I began a project called simply 'The List', but it's been called Socks' Rough Guide to Second Life Surfing by enough people I'll let that stick. It sounds less sinister too. The guide lists over 60 sims that offer surfing waves of all types, with landmarks and where to find the waves. It also has some notes from myself about the waves, where to rez, size of the runs, and so on. All of the things that I wanted when I started looking for surf around here.

The guide is free in world, anyone who has it is free to copy/transfer. I'll also be putting them in 'give boxes' wherever I have a store, and I'll make it available to anyone who wants one. It's also available on Surfwatch Surf Reports, following the link at this end of this review. The idea is it's a live document, and will ideally be updated quarterly. Second Life beaches come and go so fast that sometimes a list is outdated a week after it's out there.

Surfwatch asked me for a review of the list. So I chose 7 surf sims to highlight. Let's face it, we all know the big ones. Manjini, Neart, Chi, Surf Camp, Boneyard, Tsunami. And those are fantastic locations well deserving of the reputations. But I want to turn you all on to a few other locations that you may not know about, all in the Guide and, as a side note, I know there's at least two beaches I missed. If you want yours in
Socks' Rough Guide to Second Life Surfing, send a notecard to me in world and I'll check it out and add it!

Weather Island's original Epic wave

Xenox Harbour - Surf next to an aircraft carrier!
The TP point puts you on a pier overlooking a nice fluffy run. To the South-West you'll see an aircraft carrier. Fly up and over it to hover over the fluffy run at (25, 141, 25) Rez your board, get on, and enjoy. Or, if you want more of a thrill, rez on the carrier deck, get on and push over the side for a 'woo-hoo' freefall! And it's not a "privateer" ride, I talked to the guy who owns the sim, it's cool!
SLURL: Xenox Harbour

Nymph's Beach
- a must surf spot!
Underloved, but a must surf spot!
Sim long, some loaners on the beach near TP point. Plus a spectacular bonfire on West side of the beach!
SLURL: Nymph's Beach

Moana'Ina Beach @ Weather Island
- the orginal Epic
For the history and for new folks it's got
. One of the oldest epics on the grid(in fact, the original), still running the old version pre Havok 4, so be warned. She's not the ride she used to be. TP takes you to the Weather Island visitors center, but should highlight the beach area. Great for new riders, lots of freebies all over.
SLURL: Moana'Ina Beach

Hana Aloha
- one of the stranger spots!
One of the stranger surf spots I've seen. TP point is at a fluffy run running 2/3 the sim length N to S, which intersects a Pipe run running 2/3 E to W. If you do it right, you can catch the pipe on the corner and have a double length run
SLURL: Hana Aloha

Japanese Sunset Beach*JSSA
- full of Eastern promise!
For a more Eastern take on surfing, visit Japanese Sunset Beach*Japan Second Life Surfing Association. I can't find a public rez area here, and all the boards seem to be "group only". The group you need to join is "Japanese Sunset Beach". Multiple staggered pipes and fluffies in a dedicated cove setting. Freebie wetsuit if you look on the W side of the beach.

Japanese Sunset Beach

Playa Escondida
- longest three-wide pipe!
Perhaps the longest synched three-wide pipe (no fluffies), on a full sim. It's almost, but not quite, like riding an Epic. Board rez area is a few steps north of TP point.

SLURL: Playa Escondida

Pondi Beach
- shortest pipe ever
An almost unknown fluffy ride
. A beach sim. Pipes and fluffies are separated here. Rez area is a pontoon out on the water (251, 181, 21), where you can find beginner board loaners. Fly over, I wouldn't trust the in-sim teleporter. Sales on beach area. And. The. Shortest. Pipe. Ever.
Pondi Beach

I hope that I've now whetted your appetite and inspired you to surf some new sims and check out the full version of Socks' Rough Guide to Second Life Surfing

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Action appeals for beta testers

New board and wave concepts in development

SurfWatch can reveal that Action Surf & Skate has spent the last few months developing a new range of surfboards and surfing waves and is now appealing for volunteers to help test its new HUD-controled surfboards. Action is currently conducting beta testing with a number of Second Life surfers, but now aims to expand the beta testing program prior to the launch of the new product.

"We have been working on a private sim for three months solid trying to develop the new surfboard and waves," said bobn4uyes Winkler, co-owner of Action Surf and Skate (see pic right). "We've had a team of four people working both on new boards and new wave shapes. The boards have been in beta for two months and we're currently going into the final beta phase. We are trying to do something new and are asking for the assistance and feedback from the Second Life surfing community."

The new boards include a control HUD, that allows the rider to adjust the surfboard to surf on different types of Second Life surfing wave and even make adjustments for laggy surf days. According to Action, the HUD controls all the functions of the surfboard entire the board from paddle speed through to surfing speed. The boards also boasts three cams: 'tele' (simulates TV view), aerial view (or 'chopper view') and 'tube' (for the 'real life' experience). There is also a full trick set HUD still under development, which has not yet been released to beta testers, with surfer and board animations.

"The idea is that surfers can have more control over their surfing and really surf in their own style," said bobn4uyes "Many people complained that the first board I made was too stiff, so I wanted people to ride like in real life, the way they prefer. One of the innovations we've included, is that the board will throw the surfer off the board when he fails during a hard maneuver. Yes, we added wipeouts!"

However, according to Action, surfers will not have to wear the surfboard HUD the whole time. Once the surfboard is set up for your home wave and with your preferences, you do not need to wear the HUD to surf. However, if you lose the board you will have to wear the HUD to program in your settings on the new copy of the board.

Second Life surfers interested in participating in Action's surfboard testing program should contact 'bobn4uyes Winkler' via IM.

Useful links

SurfWatch: Action board burning (16 Feb 08)
URL: Action Surf & Skate
SLURL: Action Surf & Skate

Monday, July 7, 2008

Surf's Up at Sugar Beach!

By Ashleigh Dickins.

A sweet sunset at Sugar Beach

Sugar Beach is an amazing new pipeline surf break, with double pipes running diagonally across 80% of the Bounty Reef sim, making it one of the longest wave runs in Second Life.

"We wanted to have a long run," says co-owner Desirae Beaumont, who is placed second in the Second Life Surfing Association's (SLSA's) first 2008 Season. And they do have a long run, lasting about 40 seconds and breaking North West to South East into a little cove beside the Sugar Dolls Beach Club. "We also wanted to have an open sim to surf and hang out," Desirae explains. "It should be all about fun."

"Each space was made to be special," says co-owner Bobbi Laval, who is also a SLSA surfer, and a talented builder. "Some of it I built, some is pre-fab." If you enjoy one of the relaxing loungers or other buildings at the beach, look for Bobbi's shop (called Bobbi's Bits) nearby to see if it is available for purchase.

The Sugar Dolls Beach Club is a great place to relax straight off the waves, feeling comfortable and casual. If you're lucky you'll catch a live musician. "Tone Uriza has been a regular for us, playing live blues," Bobbi told Surfwatch. "We will book bluesman kelvinblu Oh," Desirae added. "And I am trying to get Micki Underwood also," (a popular female guitarist that plays classic rock). In addition to the beach club and waves the surrounding islands feature a couple of shops, an exotic club in the South West corner and numerous secluded areas to lounge with a loved one.

All in all, Sugar Beach is as sweet as it's owners and worth the time to give it a shot. You never know, you may find that you have a sweet tooth.

Useful links
INTERVIEW -- Desirae Beaumont (19 Jun 08)
Sugar Beach