Friday, July 21, 2017

SurfWatch Interview: Johnny Whadd, Champion of the SLSA 10th Anniversary Competition

Read SurfWatch's exclusive surfing interview with Johnny Whadd, Second Life (SL) surfer and hot off a First Place win at the Second Life Surfing Association (SLSA) 10th anniversary competition.                                                                                              

 SurfWatch (SW):  How long have you been SL surfing?  How did you get involved?
Johnny Whadd:  I've been carving it up since shortly after I arrived in SL back in May of 2012.  My first comp was Cape Marauder Open in Dec. of 2012.  I remember it fondly as I finished in 5th place, woot!  I got involved one day after I had landed at Tsunami beach and was strolling around and spotted this board in the water.  I had never seen an actual surfboard in SL so I jump on and start pressing arrows keys and moving about all crazy like.  The wave approached and I really didn't know what to do until some guy on the beach yelled out "hey, get yer own board ya kook!"  That guy turned out to be Rayzza Rubble, and I was on one of his personally modded LSD boards.  The wave was LSD.

SW:  You ever surf real life (RL) and, if so, how does SL surfing rate?
Johnny Whadd:  Nothing really can compare to being one with the waves.  I lived in Grayton Beach, FL (South Walton/Emerald Coast) fresh out of high school and learned to surf there.   SL surfing, for me, is a way to relax and remember how much fun it was to be in the water in RL.  There's so many variations of waves/boards in SL so the possibilities are damn near endless.  SL surfing is a lot of fun in its own way but I'll tell ya, nothing compares to owning a wave, slicing and dicing, dropping in then coming off the lip.  Being in a barrel is like heaven on earth!  I've always said, we come from the water and when we die, we return to the water.  Kinda funny cuz my sign in RL is Aquarius, go figger!

 SW:  What was your first board and your first experience on a wave?
Johnny Whadd:  My first RL board was a longboard that I rented from a surf shack in Panama City Beach, FL.  I drove it back down to where I lived, it sticking out of my t-top, and set out on my first attempt at surfing.  It was a very turbulent day, weather-wise, and the waves were about 7-9 ft.  It was a very scary situation as I had never encountered a rip tide and almost drowned that day after finally getting up for the first time but I was too front heavy so I face-planted into very shallow water, sandbar for lunch pretty much.  With a mouth full of sand, I felt my feet almost smack the back of my head and the board knocking me almost out.  The current took me way down the beach, and I was experiencing what I guess was vertigo or not really knowing where I was. So kids, surfing alone for the first time is a bad idea!  After that experience, I learned a lot about waves, their many different conditions and how to breathe properly.        

SW:  What are you riding these days?
Johnny Whadd:  Eventually, after about three months, I managed to save up for a used 6'2 Rip Curl board that I bought for $150, lol.  That board stayed with me, dents and all, until it finally got waterlogged one day out at the jettys at St. Andrews State Park.  I do not surf anymore, sadly, now that I'm landlocked but do enjoy watching comps and competing in SLSA surfs comps.  As for SL, after that experience meeting Rayzza, I grew to love LSD boards and waves!  It's been a real pleasure to know Luscious (Starship) and Rayzza.  Also, I very much enjoy the HP board.  It's like the Porsche of SL surfboards, and you really have to understand its design and its rhythmic feel to it to truly enjoy a great ride on it.  I've had some of my best times on the HP and it saddens me still that I came along just after Leo (Leogarto Burt) left SL preventing me from buying my own HP so I rely on HP board rezzers throughout the many wonderful surf sims in SL.  SSi, to me, is pretty basic but is what I cut my teeth on learning to get good and get the basic maneuvers down.  It's a shame that Seb  (Sebastian Saramago) doesn't do much more with it as a brand.  Finally, C-3 is a fantastic new board that Shack's (Shapira) done an extremely good job on.  Its interface/menu is very user friendly and its many many tricks are nice and fluid.  Still  kinda new to me but I do enjoy my 4 C-3 boards!

SW:  Where's your favorite surf break?
Johnny Whadd:  This is a very tough one.  It is a toss up between the dearly missed Bisous Bay and Island Sea Dreams.  I was dared one day by Rayzza to go to Bisous and attempt the triple threat as they called it.  It was hilarious cuz when I got there and got the flow of the waves down, I IM'd Rayzza and asked if he wanted pics, lol!  Just a beautiful sim with low lag and great waves, kudos to Nash Laville!  Island Sea Dreams has always been one of my favorite places to surf in SL.  I was taken there by a dear friend once and when I got there, I was just floored by the wave setup.  It was like a whirlpool of different type waves, truly a masterpiece done by Connie (Countess DeCosta)!  So yeah, I have to say those two are tops in my book!  Oh, I almost forgot about Braata Beach and the debaucherous fun I had there!  I grabbed my first top three finish there at an HP comp that I was so nervous about.  Good times man, I tell ya!

SW:  Do you have a fave wave?
Johnny Whadd:  Yes, the Tahiti left/right break.  It has smoothness, a nice little tube, open face, and a very nice lip to catch some nice air off of!  It's also very easy on the eyes, lol.  Great job done by Denise (Foxtrot) on this iconic wave!

SW:  Do you have a trademark maneuver?
Johnny Whadd: I'd like to think so, lol.  It's my triple barrel on the HP.  It's three barrel rolls then I come out doing a handstand.

SW:  How did you get started in competitive SL surfing?
Johnny Whadd:  After my first kinda weird experience which turned into a great one at Tsunami, I got to know the people there, mainly Maa (MaryAnn Maa), Mick Lunasea,  Rayzza, and Shannon Cardalines.  They told me all about the SLSA and their surf team at the time.  Mick taught me how to mod an SSi mod board, Maa is like my SL mom.  I love that woman dearly.  She invited me to be on team Tsunami which I very much enjoyed being a part of. Rayzza taught me all about the LSD waves and boards and of the SL surf lifestyle.  Shannon took so much of her time to devote to showing me all the different boards and different waves.  She is a very dear friend and I can never forget the fun times we shared out on the waves!  These four people are very important to me cuz they helped me cut my teeth in SL surfing.  It's important to always know, and let others know,             where you come from and who helped you get there.

SW:  Where do you see SL surfing in 5 years?
Johnny Whadd:  I see it evolving into a more interactive and graphically enhanced activity.  As long as we encourage new peeps to participate, we will continue to grow, and I say "we" because it's like a huge family.  Creators like Shack Shapira will continue to shape the future of SL surfing, I feel.

SW:  What else are you involved with in SL?  (This is a good place to plug anything you got going on, lol!)
Johnny Whadd: Well, let's see...I do some modeling (was Mr. SL USA 2016) which is very challenging due to having to know how to create unique outfits, styles, and tell about how you got your inspiration for each outfit.  Then there's flying combat air support mission for the SL US Navy 7th Fleet.  We do Vietnam-era RP.  One of my major achievements was starring as a fighter pilot in a war movie made in SL about the bombing of Hai Phong Bay produced by Luke Flywalker.  I flew my F-4 Phantom and had a blast doing it.  Finally, I love to DJ in SL!  Playing good music and watching people enjoy themselves at my sets is one of my favorite things to do in SL now.  Just check my profile for my schedule.  I do a Saturday set at Surfer's Bay from 11-1pm and a Friday night set at Hard Alley Social Club from 6-8pm which we call "Nakie Friday".

Photo credits:
Surfing action pic 1 -  Monq Pinklady
Surfing action pic 2 & 3 - Kendall Rayne

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