Wednesday, August 1, 2012

20 Questions: Surf Perspective - Lissa Sands (Pinion)

Submitted by Zelda Zimberman

20 Questions: Surf Perspective is part of a continuing series SurfWatch will be running as participants respond to Zelda's questionaire.

1. Name: 
Lissa Sands (Pinion)

2. Team: 
No team although you might call me the mascot (aka nag) for Vibes.

3. Surfing Since: 
5/2007...omg I'm old!

4. Favorite Board and why?: 
You mean we should have a favorite board?! I prefer the SSi scripted boards but my favorite designers are FAKT! by Doxx Dryke, Sands Surfboards by VW Sands, SurfCrazy by Mick Lunasea, and Namiko.

5. Favorite Wave and why?: 
My first love and I still love it, is the Epic!  My first taste was on Majini and Weather Island. I loved just getting on that wave and just skimming my fingers along the wave from one end of the sim to the next. Majini's Epic, for you youngun's, ran the full length of the sim.

7. Are you involved in the SLSA (second life surfing association) in any way? (competitions, events, etc.): 
I left the group after the last season of the last year to pursue interests closer to my heart. Before that I was a member for 5 years,  primarily a Judge or Head Judge, and Marshalled and worked Security a few times as well and it was rare that I didn't work a comp. I was on the Board of Directors for little over a  month to finish up a departing director's term and a member of the Advisory Committee and member of 3 Disciplinary Committee's.

9. What do/did you find positive and negative about it? How would you like to see it improve more?: 
I'm going to start with the negative only because I like to end on a positive note. The group is large at 900+ members (taken from just before I left the group). While many have heard of the SLSA, few know what the true mission of the group is. To promote surfing in SL.  In the beginning we did just that.  Now the drive seems to be to get as many people signed up as members rather than cultivate the members currently in the group. Communication is important. Last minute moves/decisions that affect group owned assets, or that affect the group as a whole needs to be communicated before the decision is made.
The positive spin is there are 900+ members who can be and should be handled in such a way as to educate them on what the SLSA really means and stands for. There is always room to change course direction albeit in small steps to bring the organization back around to a more positive position.

10. Do you compete in any surfing competitions SLSA or non?: 
I surf but I don't compete.  I chose to work comps so that another surfer had the ability to compete.

11. What do/did you find gratifying and dissatisfying about competitions?: 
I enjoyed the joking and teasing with the riders and the staff conferences were a blast!  The length of the comps was the hardest part. I'm not talking about the riders. Riders can come and go during a comp. The average staff member logs on a minimum of 30 minutes before the comp (some staff positions put in way more work than that before the comp day and the day of, are logged in much sooner) and is glued to their seat for sometimes more than 8 hours. Quick runs to the bathroom or to grab a snack means the comp can be put on hold. You like to pee under pressure?  A huge bone of contention for me was hunting down staff. Everyone wants to ride, no one wants to work. I get it but its abused and those who work are abused due to the selfishness of so many. Comps became work and I work in rl. I come to sl to get a break.

12. How do you feel about the SLSA using non SSI boards for competitions? (ex; HP5, LSD, Action): 
I prefer the SSi boards because of the lack of huds and just a more rl feel. You have to figure out keystroke combos or no dice. Unless we have a way to know if someone is using a hud or unless the board has a way to turn off the option to ride waves without a wave, what is the point? Course, times change and if there is a way to level the playing field a bit, then go for it.

13. If you are currently inactively involved in competitions (surfing, judging, etc.) what was the reason for leaving? Would you want to come back and participate? Please explain your answer: 
I left for a lot of reasons that eventually created the straw that broke the camel's back. For a group with 900+ members, only about 20 are active. By active I mean, working comps, voting, running for the Board of Directors, trying to make a difference as well as riding in comps. It is the same people over and over who give up riding in a comp, who give up hour upon hour of their day to work these comps. In the "good ol' days" we joked staff and riders alike. By the time I left, I had been told many times to stop joking around, stop talking to the riders other than to say good luck (good thing I have selective hearing when it comes to that). I worked nearly every comp for 5 years and was reminded many times that I don't count because I don't compete and I'm not the only one who was told that. Some of us chose to support the SLSA in different ways. We are sponsors, we donate time and money, we staff events, we open our sims to competitions that sometimes results in the loss of income, having to revamp our visions, or deal with upset tenants who cannot access their homes/business's for 2 days. Some have been told that their lifestyle doesn't fit in with the SLSA. Just because a  handful of us do not compete, does not make us any less a member to be respected or included.
My biggest concern has been since the two comp format took over, we have seen the decline of surf groups having their own comps, parties, impromptu surf events, less time for newbies to be shown the stoke and that SL surfing is so much more than just SLSA comps. Folks used to hang out at their favorite surf spots, dancing, chatting, surfing together. They pulled together in times of need. All it took was a call and help arrived. All in all, this is the biggest reason I left. I miss the chatter, I miss the surf group comps, the parties, I miss Surf Jams, Surf Safaris, calls to come surf, I miss the feeling that we are all a family and not just people who surf in SLSA comps. I miss helping a newbie learn to surf and watch them get excited while not telling them they have to surf in SLSA comps.
I can't see myself coming back any time soon. So much to do to see if we can repair the damage and so many new folks to teach about surfing and the stoke.

14. What are your thoughts on the team dynamics? Is there a team you particularly like? Why?: 
I am partial to Vibes of course but I like the teams as long as they get along.  I do wish there was less pressure to join teams on those who chose to remain Independent and surf to their own wave. While teams can be great for tips and tricks, solidarity, and having a home base, they can also add a great deal of drama and pressure that really isn't needed.

15. Is there anyone on here that particularly had an impact when it came to surfing, mentoring, and overall being a role model for you? Who and why? Please explain your answer: 
This is a no brainer...VW Sands gave me my first board at Quan Li then took me to Bishara where he and Robin Choche grew gray teaching me to surf pipes and fluffies. VW and Robin Mapp taught me about the surf culture and slang then shook their heads in disbelief as I butchered the slang badly. Mick Lunasea, Thor Bishop, Flynn Sheridan, Dumisani Ah, Devinna Toll, Robin Choche....all showed me a new world of surfing that this cowgirl had never seen before. I was immediately accepted and while teased, learned that the stoke is what matters. That while we may be as different as night and day, all that matters is we are surfers.

16. What was your favorite moment or memory on surfing here?: 
I have so many!  My all time favorite is when Vibes bought Mori Pwani and Tuli Bahari for VW after I put a call out. Both sims were dedicated to surfing. The owner, Dawnevea Destiny, was hit hard by the early economy crash and while V and I researched ways to buy the sims, we just couldn't do it. Soooo, while V left to go fishing for 2 weeks, Dawn and I had an idea. I called up QUENCH Spotter, Triston Mayo and Asyah Thorne and together we sent a note card to over 600 Vibrations members letting them know what was up and how they could help if they wished. Before we had finished dropping all the note cards, donations and stories came in. In less than 2 weeks we had raised enough to buy the sims from Dawn and present them to V on his return at a party (who says surfers don't cry?). The Deck on Alliance still bears the names of all those who donated and I took all the stories and put them in a book for VW to keep always and I know I for one will never forget that accomplishment.

17. Is there anyone you know or knew that isn't active as much in surfing and would like to see come back? Who and why?: 
Most that I know that are inactive are inactive for many of the same reasons I am and we surf together, we have comps, we party, we hang out. Life is good.

18. Many people have strong opinions when it comes to SL surfing and RL surfing. What is your take on the comparison?: 
I have never surfed in RL. I'd love to some day but until then, this landlocked girl does like many others and surfs here in SL. While the debate has been hot and heavy for years, I like a balanced ride. I don't like the constant tricks that SL allows for but I don't like strictly RL riding either. Balance is important.

19. Do you have any advice for new SL surfers on here?: 
My biggest advice for new surfers. Surf because you love it. Be open to new things and opinions, and keep the stoke going. Life is a circle. What you put out comes back to you.

20. Any other thoughts?: 
Not to sound like a broken record but....Sim owners with full sims pay $295USD a month (Homesteads about half that depending on if they got a grandfathered one or not) to keep that sim going. Not to mention the landscaping, waves, vendors, etc that adds up to more money. A true surf sim has little on it but the wave in order to make the sim perform top notch. True surf sims make little to no money at all. That owner is paying $300 a month from their own rl budgets.  PLEASE if you have a sim you love, DONATE!!  Every $Linden counts and takes pressure off the sim owners. We don't do it for fame or fortune. We do it for the love of surfing until reality hits many of us in the rl pocketbook. The last 4 years has been hard on sim owners. If we all do our part, we can help keep our surf spots.


Anonymous said...

Liss, to me I would go to comps to compete and the one person who was "always" a constant was you. I never saw you compete but I respected you immensely for the time you spent making S.L.S.A. a better place, if I failed to thank you then, please forgive me, want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for making virtual surfing so real xx

Mick said...

BRAVO! We loves ya kid!