Saturday, July 7, 2012

20 Questions: Surf Perspective - VW Sands

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:
VW Sands

2. Team:

3. Surfing Since:
June 2007

4. Favorite Board and why?:
OLD pre-havoc scripts in SSi sculpty.

5. Favorite Wave and why?:
Sunset. No wait....Old Pipeline! Er......Epic! On second (third) thought....Fluffs!

6. How did you come across surfing on SL and what was your first initial reaction to it?:
I TPéd blind and landed on a surf sim (Bishara) and my initial reaction was "farkin cool beens!"

7. Are you involved in the SLSA (second life surfing association) in any way? (competitions, events, etc.):
I was heavily involved in the SLSA for a few years but now I´m a bum.

8. What are your thoughts or opinions on the direction on the SLSA from 2012 and beyond?:
I´m sorta outta the loop I´m afraid so I don´t really know how things are going just now.

9. What do/did you find positive and negative about it?: Again, not really fair for me to say because I´m a bum. Er beacause I´ve exile ;-)

How would you like to see it improve more?:
Yet again (read above) on the other hand there is room for improvment in most all things.

10. Do you compete in any surfing competitions SLSA or non?:
I compete on rare occasions, usually after a fall that causes head trauma.

11. What do/did you find gratifying and dissatisfying about competitions?:
"Competitions" are gratifying cos you get to surf with all your friends. Dissatisfying for me personally because some folks get lost in trying to win instead of just screwing off.

12. How do you feel about the SLSA using non SSI boards for competitions? (ex; HP5, LSD, Action):
Was inevitable I spose. As long as ALL the riders are on the same board and the SLSA has judging sorted it will be fine (?)

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:
After serving several terms on the SLSA Board of Directors and countless hours judging, EC'íng etc, etc. it was time for me to step back and just screw off and surf. I suppose I could hop in now and again in the judges chair or as an EC but I sure enjoy screwing off. Er I mean........surfing.

14. What are your thoughts on the team dynamics? Is there a team you particularly like? Why?:
I´ve been away from the SLSA for awhile ( I said that earlier I think ) so I don´t know how the "Dynamics" are these days but as for my team, if you can call it that, is just a bunch of friends that all enjoy each others company in the water. Nothing more nothing less. We don´t really take any of this stuff very serious ;-) I like my team cos we really don´t take any of this stuff very serious. LOL

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:
I surfed with a gal named Robin Choche back in the old days. We helped each other alot as we kinda leaned together. Later, I loved surfing with Craig, tried to copy Pova and Flynn and always wanted to ride like TK. Those guys had an impact on me.

16. What was your favorite moment or memory on surfing here?:
One day, the last day in fact that Flynn´s La Bahia was on the grid, I got to ride with Flynn and a crew of surfers and it was the best day of SL surfing I´ve ever had. We had so much fun ripping the pipes on Bahia, Craig, TK, man was so long ago I don´t remember who all was there. It was Kahuna packed though :-)

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?:
Would love to surf with Robin Choche again, Craig, Cip, Milo, Dumi, Rad, Rani, Socks, theres just to many. So many that I got to ride with back in the old days, back when things were simple. Surf, tell bad jokes, surf. Miss that.

18. Many people have strong opinions when it comes to SL surfing and RL surfing. What is your take on the comparison?:
What I can´t figure out is WHY folks are even trying to compare? Look, if your looking for a Surf-Simulator go to a RL waterpark. Who gives a rats ass if SL surfing "scripts" is not lifelike? When I Jones for a RL fix I toss a board on the roof and hunt waves. In the meantime SL surfing ( a GAME people ) is fun for entirely different reasons.

19. Do you have any advice for new SL surfers on here?:
Yes in fact I do! Take it all with a pinch of salt ;-) Just have fun with your friends. Thats all that matters. Ya do that and you´ll be a better "surfer" in SL.

20. Any other thoughts?:
You now owe me a keg of room temp Guinness. That was the deal! Right?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Nominees Requested for SLSA End of Season Awards

It's the end of the season and time to nominate your candidate for the Second Life Surfing Association (SLSA) Angel Award and Sportsmanship Award. As stated on SLSA forum the "requirements" are:

The Angel Award - who did the most within the community cheerfully and selflessly this season
Sportsmanship Award - who displayed selfless or self-sacrificial sportsmanship or sincere heartfelt encouragement

To nominate someone, go to the SLSA forum. "All nominations must be posted and seconded no later than MIDNIGHT MONDAY, JULY 9TH."

Moments from SLSA Final Competition Season 1 2012

Photos courtesy Dax Verlaine
Submitted by Cierra Theriac

If you can identify the participants in these photos from the final SLSA competition Season 1 2012, please add in the comments!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Virtual Highway Surfing Association "Waves of Courage" Surfing Competition!

Join the Virtual Highway Surfing Association (VHSA) and get your rashie today!!!

Virtual Highway Surfing Association (VHSA) will be hosting its very first virtual surfing competition, Waves of Courage, during the Second Life Surfing Association (SLSA) off season! SLSA seasoned judges and Directors Sally LaSalle and Bobbi Laval will be judging! Kayaker Magic, creator of Virtual Highway surfing, will be marshall/back-up judge!

Fantastic prizes!!
1st place: V$5000
Top 3: BombOra surfboards and custom Vogati kinis and boardies
All competitors receive a Vogati kini or boardie, SurfWatch backpack and Hair Affair hair just for competing!

Don't wait until the last minute to create your avatar in-world and start practicing! Get started in the Virtual Highway welcome area! Registration is limited to first 10 sign ups (with back up list), so contact Marianna Monentez and sign up today! Deadline for registration is July 18!

Date: Saturday July 21
Time: 11 AM PST
Place: Breakers Point, Virtual Highway

For more information, contact Marianna Monentez in

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

In Memory of Surfing Sims We've Lost

This list is intended as a time for thoughtful reflection of the sims and the generous individuals whose time and money provided these for all of us.  This list may not be exhaustive.  If you see one missed, please add a comment.  Remember too that surfing sims are expensive and you should support all of your favorite surfing spots in whatever ways you can.  'nuf said...

Competition sims:
Pacific Coast
El Corazon
Monkeh Barrel
Surf City
Morant Cays
Playa Santa Teresa
Bundoran Reef
JJ Lanes (JJ Lanes II is still open)
Sol Mananero
Azure Northwest
Montego Beach
Mori Pwani
Monkey Cove
Playa Sol Manañero
Kapu Kai

Other Surf Sims:
Panda Bay
Canary Island
Monkey Tail
Onyx Cove
IRELAND - Kilkee
Pelican Bay
Syx Monkeys
Surf Camp
Surfside Hideaway (Volim Te;  Surfside Hideaway is still an active live music venue)

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Special Thank You from Mari

Submitted by Mariana Monentez

I want to take a moment to thank a few very special and wonderful
surfers who have been the backbone of the surf community for many
years.  Since beginning V.H.S.A. (Virtual Highway Surf Association),
there have many come and check out what surfing in opensim is like,
those I say thank you for your courage.
There are a few though that I want to publicly thank, first is Tauri
for her undying support for me.  It has been Tauri who
inspires me to do great things, she is the most positive person I have
ever met.   Wil Decuir is a friend who comes by and supports whenever he can, thank you Wil.  Sal LaSalle has embraced V.H.S.A., given
support as a judge in the coming up “Waves of Courage” surf comp
slated for July 21st 2012, thanks so much Sal.  Bobbi Laval too
expressed support and would judge if she is free that day. Bobbi, your help is so appreciated. VW (Sands) and Lis (Pinion Sands) made an appearance and gave it a shot too!!  Kantbe Thursday you too, coming out and taking on the
opensim waves and as usual make it look simple!  Thanks you.  I just
recently met Cierra Theriac and Flynn Sheridan, two of the most
wonderful people you could ever meet.  Cierra has signed up to compete in the “Waves of Courage” comp.  Thank you Cierra for your courage.

These are the people that are the true “backbone” of surfing, what
gives it life and what keeps it living.  There are many more who have
given surfing life to those I will always be indebted.

Mari "The art of surfing gradually becomes a masterpiece"

A Celebration of Monkey Cove

photos courtesy Dax Verlaine

Surfers celebrate the sims that were Monkey Cove as it winds to a close in its final hours.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Meet the SLSA Directors - Melian Catronis

I got the chance to talk to Melian Catronis, one of the newest directors for the Second Life Surfing Association (SLSA).

SurfWatch:  Tell us how you got involved in Second Life (SL) surfing?
Melian Catronis: Last Spring (2011) I was simply bored and wanted to find something fun to do in SL that I hadn't done before. I'd seen some items in the search about Golf and my first thought was, 'There's GOLF in Second Life?' So on a whim I looked in Search for Surfing, just to see. And what came back was entry after entry of surf sims! So I went to place called Hoodoo with one of those beginner boards I found in my inventory, I guess from one of those freebie boxes you get as a newbie, and even without the board doing anything I got instantly hooked.

SW:  What prompted your decision to run for SLSA Director this term?  What qualifications, skills, competencies, traits, etc. do you bring as a director?
Melian: Sorry, this is going to be a long answer, but I wanted to take your through the process.

I've had people asking me for awhile and for a while I didn't think I'd been at it long enough to even consider it, then I wasn't sure I could dedicate the time to it. 

What got me to do it now was when Syx announced he was closing Monkey Cove. It scared me. Because we'd already lost Bundoran Reef and Tsunami Beach (which had just returned). And with  Monkey Cove I knew it also meant Pelican Bay and Bells Beach (Rayzza Rubble's sim) were gone. That was an enormous chunk of surf culture in SL that was going to be wiped out. So I asked some questions of the board in the SLSA forums, and the answers I got back were...strangely reassuring, talking about the number of new surf sims that were popping up and that things really weren't as bad as it may have seemed. That's when I started realizing there was probably a huge disconnect between what the Board knew was going on, and what the surfers in the general membership may have thought was going on.

I don't know if I have any special qualifications other than that I want to help. And if there's something I can do and be in a position to help alleviate any sense of panic going on in the general membership, I'd like to try.

SW: How long have you been competing in SLSA competitions? Do you participate in other competitions? What is your favorite thing about comps and what do you like least?
Melian: I just finished my first full year of competing. My first competition was at Tsunami Beach the final comp of the 1st half of the 2011 season. And I just competed at Encinitas to wrap up the 1st  half of the 2012 season. I like doing minicomps too.

My favorite thing about the comps is getting to ask questions. If I see someone do something in my heat, for instance, like a flip, I love that in the stands afterwards you can usually ask that person in IM 'How did you do that?' and they have no problems with telling you. It's not like they're keeping some big secret. It's the same thing for boards, or swimsuits, or anything, really.

My least favorite thing about comps: ME. I know it's for fun, but I put a lot of pressure on myself to find some level of improvement. no matter how small, and if I can't find that it's crushing. Plus I get very, very nervous beforehand and sometimes I will get very quiet in the stands before my heat and sometimes that can appear like I'm being snobby and not talking to people. I'm not, I promise. Don't take it personally if I don't talk to you before my heat sometimes, or if afterward I don't feel I did that well.

SW:  What areas of improvement do you currently see for the SLSA as an organization and what do you see as your first priority as an SLSA director?
Melian: Communication between the board and the membership, hands down.  #1 issue for me. Like I said before, I feel there is a huge disconnect between what the membership thinks is going on and what the Board knows is going on. I also think there's a disconnect between what the Board sometimes thinks the membership believes are the big issues, and what the membership thinks the Board thinks are the big issues. I think that can lead to people freaking out when there's no need to freak out.  I think a priority for me would be to try and communicate better with the membership in general and hope they don't get a perception that the Board is some House of Lords who won't listen to them.

#2 issue for me is membership participation, especially in elections. I'd like to find a way  to help improve that. The SLSA apparently has over 1000 members, and do you know how many people actually voted in this election? 19, and three of them were the three people who ran for director's positions. That's scary when you have an election where people have up to 24 hours to vote, and only 16 people with no vested interest in the outcome decide who's going to run things in a 6-month block. For not wanting a House of Lords who won't listen to the membership, having that few even bother to vote can create that very situation.

SW:  What do you see as the top issues facing SL surfing in general?
Melian: Some of the issues I see are things that the SLSA Board may have little power to fix. Like the closing of surf sims. The RL economy has finally come to Second Life and people simply cannot pay the tier fees involved in operating a surf sim, especially since much of the sim has to be water and you simply don't have the land space for rentals or merchants to recoup the cost. And if you filled up the land space with those merchants or rentals you create so much lag in the sim the wave can't operate properly.  A couple of major issues that have recently developed that SL surfing has to face is the changeover LL is making to new servers, which has caused vendors to go offline, making if very difficult sometimes to buy a surfboard and get delivery. Not to mention what those new servers have been doing to make the surf sims or boards not work properly at times. The home beach at Solace Estates recently had that issue, which has since been repaired, but apparently not without a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth.

SW:  The SLSA modified the stipulation that a rider could miss one comp each season and not have it count against their rank in order to allow more people to volunteer to judge comps. So if a surfer judges a competition they are "given rank points for that event equal to their averaged surfing place for the season."  Do you feel this will address the issue of getting more surfers to volunteer to judge and how do your feel about everyone still being able to drop their lowest score for the season? 
Melian: I think what will address the issue more would be to offer more judge training sessions. I am a trained marshal, but I've not marshalled a heat yet, so I wouldn't even think of asking to train as a judge. To anyone who's interested in doing a training session, I have been the guinea pig before so the trainees could learn to score, and I can tell you the sessions really are fun and relaxed. You'd have a blast and you'd learn something really cool.

SW: We now have had one event with a non-SSi board (the HP5). What are your thoughts on allowing other scripts into the competition season?
Melian: I love it! I have no problems with SSi boards at all, but there are other boards out there. With the HP5, we got an experience where for the most part, it was an event judging the ability of the surfer, and not just who could learn to do the tricks, because it was such a new experience for many. I'd never been on an HP board before training for Encinitas, and I certainly wasn't the only one. And we got new people to compete because they'd only ever surfed on the HP boards. I'd love to have at least one comp a season (whether half or full) where we can do a non-SSi board. But not against each other in a mix (SSi/non SSi). That's like someone bringing a knife to a gunfight.

SW:  That's it for the tough questions.  (Laughs)
Melian: Well, I certainly didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition....*cue dramatic music and Monty Python actors rushing in wearing Cardinal robes* Wait...NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUSITION! (laughs)

SW: What board is your current favorite and why?
Melian: I have different favorites depending on my mood. I fell in love with my HP5 Gun, it's going to be really fun to see what I can do on other waves with it. If I'm having a real struggle with a wave I'll pull out my Orca board (DW Surf) because it was my first board and it's like slipping on a pair of worn slippers. When I mean absolute business, I'll pull out my  Shark Lemon Stars board. When I have that out, I feel like I'm Tiger Woods with a driver. Or at least Tiger's ex-wife with the 5-iron when she found out about his cheating (laughs). Otherwise, any of my Reaction longboards suit me just fine. I'm developing into a board slut (grins).

SW:  What wave is your current favorite and why?
Melian: When I'm feeling down and blue and doubt my ability to surf, I'll go find a Joaquina wave and pull out the Shark. I can do wondrous things on that board with that wave.

SW:  What are some of your favorite SL surfing spots and why?
Melian: The home beach at Solace Estates is lovely. Nicely laid out and the wave can be changed. What? Surf Park is excellent for the same reason, plus they love running the Joaquina. During the season I will surf almost exclusively at the site of the next comp for at least a couple of weeks leading up to it. It's been awhile since I visited Braata Beach, but I have a soft spot in my heart for that place, it's so pretty.  And the new Tsunami Beach as well.

SW:  Anything else you would like readers to know about you?
Melian: I love taking pictures in SL. I'm not on the level of someone like Bobbi Laval or Dax Verlane, who are both excellent, but there are times when I'll just stop what I'm doing, adjust my Windlight settings and snap away. If you're talking to me somewhere and I suddenly stop talking for a bit, that's what I'm probably doing. Windlight reminds me that there are still times and places when SL can simply blow your mind.

SW: I want to thank for taking the time to talk to us and letting us get to know you a little better.
Melian: Thanks for asking me. Sorry if some of my answers are a bit long or convoluted, but sometimes it takes longer than other times for me to get my thoughts out. And I don't know how things are going to go for me. I'm just glad there are four other board members who can make sure I won't be personally responsible for destroying surfing in SL (laughing)!