Saturday, April 7, 2012

A New Golden Age

Submitted by Syx Toshi

June 23, 2003, it’s been a while! For all that don’t know that date, it's the day Second Life (SL) was launched by Linden Labs (LL). Now I’m sure the world that came into existence that day was very different from what we see today. Like SL itself, our little community of surfers and beach loving avatars have changed over the years.  Our waves, boards, even appearances only have a passing resemblance to their predecessors.

I first experienced SL in the Beta phase.  Hated it and didn’t try it again until 2007. Recently I have been away from the surfing scene and SL as a whole for over 6 months, just popping in here and there when my schedule would permit. It seems like a lot of my oldest friends and acquaintances are doing the same. Upon my return I was hit with the terrible news that Tsunami Beach was being retired. Tsunami was one of my very favorite places and Colleen (Brennan) made me feel welcome from the moment I met her.

We, like all of SL, have seen highs and low, but one thing is constant is evolution. Old friends return to the beach less frequently, but we also meet new eager friends discovering SL and surfing in SL for the first time. Can you remember when you saw your first wave? You were probably as mesmerized as I was. I had explored the many landscapes and worlds here in SL and couldn’t believe it when I stumbled on a beach where there were waves, and then spotting someone paddling out on a board I almost jumped out of my avatar skin!

Surfing in SL is where I found my home, the beaches, waves, boards and most importantly people were what I was looking for. Even with the drama of competitions, organizations, creators, you name it, one thing is constant; we all live and breath SL surfing. We love it!

Returning to SL has been somewhat melancholy for me. I am sad to see great beaches and people no longer here. I was feeling really down and was really thinking about packing it in. I have been coming in world here and there talking to a few friends, but I was so down about “how it used to be”, I didn’t even like going in my own shop.

This past Saturday the Second Life Surfing Association (SLSA) had a surf competition at Monkey Cove. Although I couldn’t be at the competition past the opening heat, something I didn’t expect happened; My mood changed! It was a simple thing really, just talking here and there with the surfers competing really made me feel happy. For me there were names I had never seen before and new surfers truly excited, and some nervous about competing.

This was a great experience for me. There are certainly people in surfing that have been here and involved much longer then me, but my AV’s also no spring chicken. I’ve seen what some have said was the apex of SL excitement. I recently read an article that SL is primed for a renaissance. With changes in management and the in-world experience, some are saying LL could see an influx of new users and in turn new exciting advancements.

Slowly I’m starting to feel the same about my own SL experience. I feel some sort of small energy out there that if nurtured could explode into a new golden age. This isn’t only for SL but for our own little corner of the world. With new beaches and new surfers dipping their toe in the virtual water, it’s up to all of us to welcome them into the pool. The more we can look at our sport and favorite pastime in new creative ways, the more people we can include. Just like everything that exists or ever existed, we must evolve or go the way of the dinosaur. I would love to hear comments from everyone and as always I enjoy the negative as much as the positive.

1 comment:

Kantbe Thursday said...

Great to hear from you Syx. As some of you know, I bounce around to all the public surfing beaches I can find. I too have noticed changes. We've lost many of our old hangout spots, and surfers don't just hang out like they used to (at least not in the timezones when I'd stumble across them). But, I do see new faces on the beaches… people excited about surfing when they discover it's possible. We have challenges for sure. I'm not sure what's going to happen with wave and board development, but I can't help but feel we're on the cusp of some new, exciting developments.

LL has changed some of the things they've had for community development, but we do have new ways to let each other know about things that are going on and we have a new Destinations Guide category specifically for surfing sims. The Lindens are interested in helping us use some of the current ways they prefer to get the word out about things.

If any of you are hosting surfing sims and events on those sims and don't already know how to get the word out through what LL has set up, drop me an IM and I'd be happy to share with you some of the ways you may be able to use some of the things like Destination Guide Featured Events.