Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Surfing on Snow and Ice: Winter Sol

pics by Sunshine Zhangsun

SurfWatch recently sat down with Jac Mornington and Sunshine Zhangsun and talked about their Winter Sol creation and the Season Opener for the SecondLife Surfing Association

SurfWatch: Surf sims are predominantly tropical in nature. What inspired you to create an arctic surf retreat?

It all began with the change to our full sim. We had both always lived in a tropical area and had been utilizing Sunshine's amazing Patch Thibaud compound since we created Sol. Heck, Sunshine had been using the home for over two years! We were both ready for significant change and decided we wanted a seasonal mountain environment. The full sim was recreated first with the mountain range, the home site, the forest, the meadows and the iced over ponds and lakes. The surf sim re-design came soon after and here, we went full arctic - a seal colony lining the shore; ice forming as the waves hit the shore; orcas breaching, just hoping for one of the many seals to come into the water; narwhals rising up to the surface; polar bears stranded on the icebergs; floating ice and the HP Joaquina wave crashing into the icy shore. Neither of us had seen this done in SL and decided it was time for something new and different.

SurfWatch: How long will it be available?

We re-designed Sol back in November and this unique surf experience has been available since late November 2010. As the Northern Hemisphere Winter in RL fades, so will the Winter SOLstice and Arctic Sol environments... so expect the thaw to begin in late March 2011.

SurfWatch: What kind of activities and features do you have available?

Of course, we have surfing on the Arctic Sol sim to the West...it is the primary attraction. On the full sim, we have sledding, ice skating, ice fishing and just plain, exploring. We have many animals in meadows, in the rocky hills, and in the woods. If you visit, be sure to have your sounds turned on as we also feature natural sounds of the environment as well... the seals, the orcas, the wolves, the wind...

SurfWatch: What is your favorite feature?

We enjoy the whole environment, both sims - the snow falling, the water rushing under the ice, the seals yelping, the whales breaching and the view. The surfing in this environment has provided some of the best rides that we have experienced in SL, too. The lag has been minimal even when we have full weather systems going...it is always a good day for surfing at Arctic Sol.

SurfWatch: The SLSA 2011 Season 1 surf comp is taking place here, what kind of challenges does this create compared to other surf competitions held in the past?

The Sculpty Creations Arctic Challenge kicked off the SLSA 2011 Season 1 comp series with a huge success. When we were asked to submit the sim as a competition site, we let the SLSA Directors know that we would make only minimal changes to the sim. Our sim was selected and we did exactly that... only thing we removed was the weather system. The sim performance for both weekends held up better than any surf competition that I can remember and provided excellent conditions all day for both. Every surfer and staff that participated commented on the positive experience here at Sol for this competition. And the best part? We did not perform any restarts for days before the actual comps, so no risk of getting a bad server on a restart on Comp Days! And keep in mind, the sim has been on SL Showcase/Destination Guide since early January and our visitor count stays on the high side...and still, no need for a restart!

SurfWatch: What would you like people to know about the sim?

Jac and I have always provided nature oriented, realistic environments for everyone to enjoy. We would encourage others to follow our lead and step out of the box now and then...not all surf environments in the real world are tropical, not all are even sandy, and not all are in warm environments. Do what you enjoy most, experiment and make it the best you can within the virtual world we share. Visit our Winter SOLstice sims and surf in a low lag, optimum surf environment...and enjoy the cold, exhilarating experience that only be found for a few more weeks on Arctic Sol...but be sure to wear your warmest surf gear!

And be sure to keep your eyes open and ears to the ground...we are in the midst of researching our next surf environment...!

Be sure to check out these great vids shot by Sunshine on their sims and get there before Spring melts it all away!

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