SurfWatch (SW): How did you get involved with SL surfing way back when?
Bodhi Lowtide: I always wanted to live a simple life on the beach. Then I learned I could do that in Second Life. At that very moment I was pretty much rebirthed as Bodhi Lowtide. About a week after that I was surfing at Braata Beach and a chick named Candywhite Compton started talking to me and asked if I wanted to join a surf team she started called Montego. I said, sure, why not? Been surfing Second Life Surfing Association (SLSA) competitions every couple years ever since.
SW: How did it feel when you first hit the SL waves? Describe the feeling it gave you when you first hit the wave on an SL board.
Bodhi Lowtide: Hard to describe, other than just saying it felt "right." I still surf SSi because of that very first wave.
SW: So how long were you away from SL and what drew you back?
Bodhi Lowtide: I don't know the answer to that, exactly. I've always left for periods then came back. I think the last time I was active in SL was about 3 years ago, but it's been a lot longer than that since I was an SLSA regular. Usually it's long periods of time away from real life (RL) beaches that bring me back to SL's beaches. I've been away from the beach too long in RL, so here I am, looking for the best waves again.
SW: What are some of your best memories of the early years?
Bodhi Lowtide: Waking up at Braata every day and surfing with the locals: Rory (Aurora) Jacks, Kris Juneau, Sean Azambuja, Lynda Mimulus, Aldo Courtois (RIP), etc. Later in the day I'd go surf with the Mori Pwani/Tuli Bahari locals. I think my all-time favorite memory might be the PCX Tandem competition at Tsunami Beach. I came in 2nd place with Markfoo Waverider. That was just a real fun event. The early years with my Montego teammates have to be mentioned, too. The community is what makes SL surfing what it is for me, so in the end my favorite memories are always the party waves.
SW: How has surfing changed since the early years?
Bodhi Lowtide: The answer to this question could be a book in itself -- I try not to view it so much as 'changes' in SL surfing as they are 'evolutions' in SL surfing. Nothing has really changed, it's just all grown up now, and will continue to grow as long as people are still willing to put a board on water and ride it.
The most obvious evolution, and arguably the most positive, is the new diversity in boards and waves. There is really something for any type of surfer in SL now, from casual to competitive, and I think that's really cool. The sims I once knew and loved are all gone, and replaced by new sims I've come to know and love. Same goes for the people. Aside from a couple people who still hang around SL, I've had to make all new friends to make new memories with.
While we're on the subject of sims, there are hardly any board shops anymore, or clothing shops -- they've been replaced by homes and board rezzers. Back in the "early years" (or "earlier years"?) every surf sim had a board shop. It was like an unwritten rule. Now, I guess, every sim wants to have the appearance of a "locals only" secret beach. Is that a bad thing? I don't know, I'm still debating that with myself. My least favorite change is how hard it is to find a surfer actually on a wave. That is definitely an SL-world problem I wouldn't complain about in RL.
SW: What is your favorite board now?
Bodhi Lowtide: It still is, and perhaps always will be, my custom modded SSi boards. I'm reluctant to really get into the new boards, but I made a deal with Solsty Kismet I'd give them a chance. So, there's that. But I love the constant button mashing of an SSi, I love the feel on a wave and how they react to my button mashing. Maybe I'm just ignorant on the other boards, but they also feel the most competitive, because of the constant button mashing. Sure, you can't hang ten with them, but that's a ridiculous trick anyway. The other boards are cool, but I just haven't came around to really liking them that much yet. Like I said, I'll give them a chance.
SW: Favorite wave?
Bodhi Lowtide: Definitely subject to change, but right now my favorite wave is the Maoli Swell (64m). The look and feel is, to me, incredibly realistic. It's also extremely challenging with my SSi board. Can't just drop in on the wave and be a one trick pony spinning like a ballerina, like a lot of SSi riders will try to do. You have to actually maneuver like a real surfer or you'll wipe out. And even though I consider every wave a party wave, you also can't be a hard knock stealing everyone's wave or you're probably going to hurt yourself. This just adds to the challenge that I love about The Swell.
As for the old school waves, the HG Epic waves, as ugly as they are, will always be my favorite.
SW: Favorite competition maneuver?
Bodhi Lowtide: I'm a fan of the 360. It's pretty much my routine to start off every wave with a 360. There's really nothing more exhilarating than getting a bunch of air and landing perfectly. It's like fighting the force of nature and winning, even though we all know nature is the real winner. But I can feel like I won, right? Or do I mean to say, feel like I'm one? Nevermind, the point is I like to get a bunch of air.
SW: What music pumps you up for surfing?
Bodhi Lowtide: Lately I've been listening to a lot of hip-hop packed with bass while I surf. I'm just gangsta like that. Also like listening to hard rock, dub, or roots reggae. Just depends on what the mood calls for.
SW: Is there anyone in the past or current surfing world that you admire their style and try to emulate?
Bodhi Lowtide: No. I barely even watch other people surf, and I really don't like to take their advice. But as for surfers I admire, I do have RL crushes on Quincy Davis and Imogen Caldwell. They are the definition of girl power.
SW: What advice would you give new surfers about how to start?
Bodhi Lowtide: I would say learn to turn your board and then do whatever feels right to you. There is really no right way or wrong way to surf. Just boost yourself up, get some confidence, learn to love yourself and don't give up. Fight the wave and don't let it win. Don't watch the veterans shred the waves and think you can't do it too, because I promise you can if you don't give up. Give surfing a chance -- give yourself a chance -- and you will love it. Remember, the best surfer is the one having the most fun. The second best surfer is a two-time SLSA Hall of Famer.
SW: So you like to say your av hasn't changed since your early SL days - will you ever make the switch to mesh? Why or why not?
Bodhi Lowtide: It's true, my avatar has been literally the same since my first month in SL. But, nothing is permanent, and I think it's finally time to make a change to keep up with the rapidly evolving SL world. I caved in and got a mesh body the other night. Pretty soon I'll have a mesh head and mesh hair. Maybe even a pair of bento testicles. (Just kidding, sheesh, lighten up!)
SW: What do you like to do in SL now in addition to surfing?
Bodhi Lowtide: I try to do other things every now and then, but I always end up back to surfing. Sometimes I will hang around meditation sims or other sims that have some type of virtuous education material I can read/hear, contemplate and apply to my RL. I was at one time quite active in SL's Buddhist community. Other than that, I like going to concerts. My brother-in-surf, Tukso Okey, just rocks, okay.... Also, I have a boat I ride around on every now and then, plus a motorcycle. And I like to sit on the beach with my friends, or go to their house, invade the fridge and leave a mess. Some times I even go to clubs. But.....as cool as all that is, it isn't surfing, so I don't do it that often.
SW: Anything else you want to add?
Bodhi Lowtide: Yes: Spread the good news of SL surfing to all sims across the SL universe. Teach your non-surfer friends how to surf. Encourage them not to give up. Invite them to join the SLSA, or just join you on a party wave. Don't leave the burden of surfer recruitment to everyone else. We are all responsible for making this community what it is. Most importantly, through your actions spread the peace and love rooted in your heart to the world. Cast a light on those in darkness, and share your greatest positivity with your worst enemy, and never question if they deserve it.