Monday, June 28, 2010

Surf Fest 2010 Featuring Sally LaSalle

photo courtesy Bobbi Laval

Saturday, June 26, 2010, Sally LaSalle was asked to be a special guest speaker at Surf Fest 2010. Following is a posting of her talk:

Hi, I am Sally LaSalle.  Mick and Revy asked me to give a short talk today on supporting your surfing community, so here I am.  This won’t be a talk about me and what I have done, it won’t be a talk about the SLSA, it won’t be a talk about judging or voting machines, this is a talk about *YOU*, the SL community.
So ….

The world turns, the seasons change, off-shore may be two hundred miles away, a storm whips up winds, and those winds make ripples on the ocean’s surface.  Those ripples grow and combine, and two hundred miles later, they swell and rise and curl and crash against the shore.  Standing on the shore at first staring out across the green blue ocean, men and women leaning on their boards gaze in wonder.  This confluence of air, water, and earth ignites a fire in the soul - all elements combine and “surf’s up!”

Paddling out what is to come is a mystery, how will that next wave rise and how high?  Will it run long and smooth or will it top over early?

Will I ride it all the way, or will I wipe out and get churned up with the sand as tons of water tumbles me like a rag doll in a washing machine?  And that sound!!  Standing on a beach hearing even a modest 6 foot swell breaking is like thunder, and the scent of salt in the air, and the feel of the water even in the shallows, dragging around your feet, urging you in.  Yes, I’m talking about real life.

And as you may imagine reading those words, the SL experience, while getting closer every year, is a long way away from reality. (Though reality is the goal of SL surfing developers old and new.)  So why support the *SecondLife* Surfing community?

SL to me has always been a place, literally, in which to ask “what if” questions. What if, I could catch that perfect wave, (while stuck in the middle of a desert)?  What if, I could nail that aerial loop holding the rail (without falling off the board)?  What if, I could sit on the beach with my brahs, telling tall stories and sharing the experience of that “perfect wave” (while stuck on the 30th floor of my apartment building)?   Well guess what? You Can! ... Here, in SL, the surfing community is a place for living that dream, for that Endless Summer of Perfect waves, dodging the sharks and huddled laughing with you mates on the beach afterwards.

“But wait!”, I hear you ask,” I’m not getting wet, I’m not wiping out, I’m not flying”?  No, you aren’t, but that’s where your avatar comes in.   Putting on your avatar should mean in your mind, you slip inside it and feel what it feels, put a little of your *soul* in there, a little of your *heart*, take a risk, catch a wave and transport yourself into the curl.  Ripping and carving on these SL waves, is sometimes criticized for being just “a bunch of finger tapping”, but those critics miss the point!  It’s way more than that!

To surf well in SL as in RL, you need to have a sense of timing, you need to have an understanding of the waves, you need to have developed your sense of balance and equilibrium, your kinesthetic sense, your directional sense, your choreographic sense.  In other words, to feel the waves in SL, there is a lot more going on in your brain than just pushing buttons!!

So yeah, if someone surfs well here, it’s not an accident.  Those folks have practiced their hearts out to develop and coordinate all those senses.  So try it out, be a part of it, feel it, enjoy it and have fun!!  Some folks are so competitively driven, and so focused on winning comps, that they forget to enjoy *the journey* and the mate-ship of their surfing buddies.   And it’s that mate-ship that can truly enrich your secondlife, the friendships and the companionships and the shared experience, that SL Surfing can give you.

And that’s why; you should join in and support the SL Surfing community. But what does “supporting” the SL Surfing Community mean?  The key words in there are “community” and “supporting”.  The word community derives from the Latin terms ‘cum’ (together) and ‘munus’ (gift). And it generally refers to a bunch of people that share a set of common values or circumstances that bind them together.

One thing the SL scripters will likely never simulate is the flat out exhilaration of riding a wave in RL. That is the secret glue that binds the RL surfing world together.  No matter what happens in RL, at the end of the day, you share that common experience, every surfers knows it, every surfer feels it, and it’s like “woah dude” something almost spiritual is going on.

So what’s *our* SL Surfing secret glue?  That’s where the second word comes in, *Supporting*, in RL surfing the word “stoking” is used, and translates roughly into “encouraging”, “feeding the flame”, “giving the good vibes” …. So supporting has nothing to do with cheerleading your team, it has nothing to do with giving money, it has nothing to do with volunteering for event jobs, it has nothing to do with winning!  It’s all about just encouraging your mates to have a good time and then sharing that good time with them. That is how we build a community in SL, and that is the kind of community that I’m sure you will agree, you would like to be a part of.

So, wax down your board, hop on and go catch a wave, but most of all, do it together!! Be that ripple in the storm, and combine with your fellow surfers to create a wave of good will that sweeps thru SL. Make sure you talk to and stoke one person you have never spoken to next time you go out to surf. Don’t just sit in the line-up waiting for your next wave, notice the surfers around you, talk to them, stoke them, watch them on *their* wave!!

And that is one area where SL clearly wins over RL!!, in RL we don’t have built in “cam-lock”, here in SL you get to watch all the way if you want to, up close and personal, and you get to experience each wave in the mind of your surfer mates. That’s what can make SL surfing a great experience for you and the community.  I really hope *you* do! And I Hope to share a wave with you all! Mahalo, Namaste, Shred it! And Party On Dudes!! Thank You.

1 comment:

Jimbo said...

Well said Sally, a little act of kindness can have big positive impact!