Thursday, July 16, 2009

Xtreme Surf Alliance - XSA Hits Braata

SurfWatch recently caught up with Kristoffer Juneau, co-owner of JJ Lane's Furnishings, Braata Beach sims, and now co-founder of XSA, to find out more about this new surfing organization.

SurfWatch: What's the name of your new surfing organization and where did the name come from?
Kristoffer Juneau: The Xtreme Surf Alliance - XSA. We wanted a name that brought together the power and excitement of cutting edge surfing with the tightness of a community of dedicated surfers. Once we heard the name, we immediately knew it was perfect. Website is http://surfxsa.com/ and our HQ is on Tortola.


SW: What made you want to start a new organization at this time?
KJ: We have been laying the groundwork for our own competitions for some time now, going back to last summer with our first SLSA comp on Morant Cays. As surfing in Second Life and soon other grids has been growing rapidly, competitions in other organizations are getting to capacity. Surfers are looking for new and exciting venues and that is exactly what the XSA will deliver. The SLSA has had tremendous success and has built a solid organization, but our thoughts on direction differ slightly from theirs. Not that our ideas are better, they are just different, and we want to offer options to the community.

The cutting edge developments in boards lately, such as the wipe-out feature and realistic tricks in Action boards, is opening up for major changes for surfing in SL. We are seeing boards being developed that are much more resembling RL surfing, and that is what has really pushed us over the edge to do this now. We felt we needed to take many ideas people have and put these ideas into action and lead the way. Also, we wanted to start this organization to be able to hold regularly scheduled comps at Braata Beach and use what we have built for the community. It's a natural progression for us.

SW: Give us some background on the steps you took to start it, who is involved, etc.
KJ: The XSA founders are Aurora Jacks and myself. We have been talking with many people in the surf community and have been gaining so much insightful knowledge from so many experienced individuals. Our goal is for the whole surf community to be involved, tho we are looking for a group of dedicated supporters and encourage anyone to IM us who wants to either surf or help run the organization. So far, the response has been wonderful, and we have been assembling many people. We are building this organization the same way we have built our business - thru dedication, hard work, and setting achievable goals.

SW: What are the goals and philosophy of this new group?
KJ: Our main goal is to offer surfers the ability to be free from constraints and freely participate in a vibrant and passionate community. We aren't looking to bite off too much, and our first goals are to have a good foundation with our website, forums, and home base at Braata Beach and get our first comp running. Historically, many surf sims have come and gone due to lack of funding. We feel this is where we can set ourselves apart and leverage our seasoned business with JJ Lanes and our partners' affiliations to be a solid anchor for the XSA and Braata Beach. These marketing channels offer our sponsors unique advertising and marketing opportunities. Not only will sponsors receive advertisements the day of a comp, but also in the weeks leading up to the comp in multiple strategic high traffic areas.

SW: You said the new group will be holding competitions. Tell us about that - circuit comps, locations, rules, etc.
KJ: The XSA will be holding comps and tentatively has the first one scheduled for August 15. Initially, comps will be held on Tortola at Braata Beach. Braata Beach has been designed to be a premier surf location for large venues. We held the largest SLSA comp, and I believe largest ever in SL, this past April with the JJ Lanes Longboard Epic. We had 60+ surfers and 125+ total people at the peak spread across 3 full sims to reduce lag. With our 3 full sims and 2 homesteads, we are the ideal large venue hosting area and are quite proud of that. In addition, we are open to hosting XSA sanctioned events at other locations as well, and the use of our sims is always open for anyone to use. We have a new scoring system under development that will offer unique ideas not yet seen in surfing competitions. Some key features are instant scoring after a run, competitor involvement in judging, and eventually, scores immediately posted to the web. We are aiming for this to be ready by the 15th, but RL commitments may delay that a bit.

The rules are a work in progress at this point and initial drafts can be found on our website. Our focus is one step at a time, and that begins with the basic groundwork and having our first comp. From there, we want to bring in more of the community to help form the XSA so it is by the surfers, for the surfers. Equally important in this ideology is protecting what we have built and helping to keep those ideals on track. This is the tough balancing act we are struggling with in the beginning.

SW: Will the new group be affiliated or sanctioned thru the SLSA at all so currently ranked SLSA surfers can use points towards their rankings? If not, will this new group have a ranking system?
KJ: The XSA will not be affiliated with the SLSA and will be a completely separate organization. The XSA current structure does not have a ranking system in place, but it certainly is in the long term goals of the XSA. Initially, we will just be holding single competitions with the aim of large prize payouts for the top 3 finishers.

SW: Is this open for anybody? Are there fees? Restrictions on boards?
KJ: It is open for everyone, and there are no fees for surfers. The idea is for open board competitions, but we may try to bound that somewhat and are discussing this, for instance, bounding this to just commercially available boards possibly (Action, HP, SSI). Another area we want to look at is requiring boards for some comps that have a wipe-out feature enabled and also a true long board competition. Some of these ideas do put some restrictions in place, but they don't restrict to only one vendor. Any board meeting the requirements of these type of comps would be eligible. The XSA wants the community to help form these standards, and it is important to let competition drive innovation in the marketplace.

SW: Will Braata be participating in SLSA events in addition to this new group, or focusing on just this group's activities?
KJ: Braata Beach will not be putting in to be a host site for an SLSA venue this upcoming season. Their competition format doesn't fit in with the open board format that Braata Beach wants to promote. Instead, we will be focusing our efforts on comps for the XSA and for organizations wanting to hold open board type competitions such as MUST. JJ Lanes/Braata Beach will be sponsoring a surf team as we did last season with Team Piranha and members of the team, as always, will be sponsored to surf in any organization.

For more information, stop by our headquarters at http://slurl.com/secondlife/JJ%Lanes%20ll/131/253/23 and visit our website at http://surfxsa.com. Site content is still a work in progress and rules being finalized until one week prior to the first competition. If interested in joining, you can sign up for our forums at http://surfxsa.com/forums and join our in world group "Xtreme Surf Alliance". Interested in forming a team, sponsorship or any other questions, please contact Kristoffer Juneau.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

RfaC Open and Heroes Beach Preview

by Socks Clawtooth, Senior Furry Correspondent

On July 11th, surfers gathered for the "Riders for a Cure Open" at Tsunami beach. The format was simple. For a 250L donation to Relay for Life, surfers had three minutes of time on the water to show their stuff. The judge, Lissa Pinion, was open to donation bribes for a higher score. It was an open water format meaning literally anything was legal. Any surfboard, windsurfer, boat, jetski, or in fact anything that floated, was legal!

The event had a lot of interesting water craft out there, including a sailboat and some interesting hovercraft. The winner of the event was Abel Halderman. Second went to Sunrize Mornington. And third, based solely on bribery alone, went to WickedV Carver who had a special benefactor behind her who wished to remain anonymous. Mostly.

The big winner was, in fact, Relay for Life. RfaC raised over 40,000L during the event, pushing the team total to above 110,000L over the last few months. In real world terms, the surfing community has raised $450 USD thru a few events and kiosks on several beaches.

This has all been leading up to the real "Relay for Life" event. Since March of this year, teams have been fundraising and have raised (at this typing) 43,909,435L (Source: http://www.integratingsl.com/teamtotals.php). That's over $220,000 USD from the online community! Every fundraising record has been not only broken, but shattered and rewritten. And this is all before the actual event has taken place.

The RfLSL event is taking place on its own dedicated cluster of 37 sims. Theme builds include Mars, a metropolis, a dedicated sailing sim, and for the first year ever, there is a dedicated surfing area. RfL is no stranger to surfers, but this is the first time its a featured activity on the route. There will be an estimated 3,000 walkers this year passing by every campsite for the 24 hours the event will be held.

What follows is a quick photo tour of the beach, enough to get you ready for the weekend. We would still like to find volunteers to help man the beach to help new riders, greet people, and have some fun showing people in Second Life what surfing is all about.


The entrance to Heroes Beach. The sign is right along the sim border and it's actually not ON the route. It's a slight detour. But as you're walking, just follow the boardwalk! We're easy to find, just off one of the main hubs.




This is the boardwalk area where we will have stuff for sale to benefit Relay for Life. We already have some swimwear items for men and women as well as more casual apparel. There's also some simboard items out there, too! We would love to stock this spot with dozens of swimwear choices, so if you own a shop and would be interested in donating apparel, contact Socks Clawtooth in world. Behind that you can see the pyramid that belongs to our neighbors, the "Ministry of Dance".


These huts serve a special purpose. This one is the "Learn to surf" hut. Next to it is a small msueum of surf history in SL. The third hut will have some photos from the RfaC events from the last few months and be a nice chill-out area.





Lifeguards may be on duty if needed. Probably not, tho - we like to surf, too!

The bonfire is big! It's also next to a dance ball, so people can hang out here and dance if they'd like. We're not the Ministry of Dance, but we're not so bad.




Our "Freebie shack" has some stuff from surf places as well as some RFL logo wear people can puck up and wear instantly. Grab a t-shirt! You can also see the halfpipe, too. Why is it somewhat transparent? When you ride, you'll understand.






Our site even features camping! Just not what you think it is in SL.







Here is where the pier is a nightmare for surfers! The wave is a dual pipeline with a fluffy down the middle. And the pipeline straddles the pier! Yes, you can surf between poles, and yes, you can hit them, too. It won't stop your wave, but it'll give you a headache, that's for sure!








Monday, July 13, 2009

Surfers As Talented Off the Waves as On

If you missed out on the grand opening of Laval Gallery, you sure missed out! Not only was blues musician, Tone Uriza, there pleasing the crowd and making us sway, but artists Bobbi Laval and Bonheur Cheneux were on hand to greet guests and discuss their art.

"Bobbi and I have very different styles which I think makes it nice, to see how people view things differently," Bonheur told SurfWatch. While the two artists may have different views and styles, they both have talent. The amazing photography was a centerpiece that Tone had to work hard to compete with, though he did admirably, setting a wonderful mood for the party.

Tone Uriza serenades the crowd.

Many faces familiar to SurfWatch were spied wandering through the gallery and dancing on the deck, including Aries Ashton, Robbin Ember, and Brigit Ranger. Bobbi was a gracious hostess, sure to greet each attendee and thank them for coming. Bonheur was just as hospitable, answering questions with more than a hint of humbleness.

Both women's photos showed a visible love for the art of photography, with painstaking detail. "[It] is a definite labor of love for me. Surrender took me 10 hours to complete," said Bonheur. It was time well spent, as the photos are thought provoking and evoke an array of feelings. "I dont want to just take a photo, anyone can do that," Bonheur said. "I want it to be something you can't take your eyes from but wonder if you should be looking in the first place."


Bonheur Chenaux answers guest questions (left); Bobbi Laval enjoys the music while greeting guests at the door (right)

Judging by what what shown at the grand opening, she succeeded in that goal, and both women have a promising future. Make sure to visit Laval Gallery in St. San Gabriele (209,28,22)