Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Legends Series: INTERVIEW - Flynn Sheridan (originally posted 3/22/2008)

Within the pages of SurfWatch is the rich history of Second Life (SL) surfing from the mouths of the surfers that created or developed or promoted or excelled in this virtual sport over the years.  Enjoy these interviews and the perspective from these surf legends as SurfWatch begins "The Legends Series":

By Tauri Tigerpaw. Exclusive to SurfWatch.

SurfWatch was able to catch up with Flynn Sheridan prior to his leave of absence from Second Life to talk about surfing, business and La Bahia.

Well known as a founder and director of the Second Life Surfing Association (SLSA), a surfing old
timer and co-owner of La Bahia, Flynn has been in Second Life for 'a year and some', as he calls it, and has been instrumental in building both the association and the surfing community that stands behind it. We caught up with Flynn before the Easter break to talk about his early days, surfing experience and some of his current projects:

We all know you're a co-owner of La Bahia, but any other projects you want to talk about?
Well, as La Bahia is now about to close, not much to say there. I did open a line of surfboards called wrd Surfboards (yep those are baby letters). wrd stands for wave rider designs, a group (Wave Riders) I founded while I was managing Hedonistic Isles surf area. I am very proud of these designs, because I had to learn photoshop to do them and I think I created a great set of classic designs. And I love the fractals too. Fractals are the geometry of nature.

My favorite board is the Water board, using the Chinese character for water and the slogan "gotta flow". Whether on a wave or as we go through life you gotta flow. Resisting or forcing energy just does not work.

How did you get started as a surfer?
Total fluke. By the end of the first month of Second Life I was close to bailing out, but I just started renting a place in Den Isle and jumped off my skybox to free-fall into, well... whatever was down there. I landed in a lagoon next to a beach and on that beach were waves... surfboards were there, too. So naturally I tried to use one and couldn't. Search came up with a few and, of course, my first "board" was not an Heather Goodliffe... nevertheless, I learnt quick. The next day I bought the Wooden Budda.

So now I have a HG board, and begin surfing at Den Isle... fluffies. Surfed there for a week straight, a couple of hours each day. I was in heaven! Then I started hopping the spots that Heather has on the notecard that comes with her boards. Chi was the sweet spot for me.

What would you call your surfing style and where did you learn it?
I'm self taught. Honestly, just watching other surfers inspires me to figure out how to do things and to discover things nobody else knows [chuckles]. Christine Daffodil told me about using the c/w keys to crouch stand to 'surf' up to a wave, but the rest of what I know is from watching and then messing around. That is how I discovered my signature board-flip trick, using the w/e keys to do a standing board flip. I just started playing with the keys, trying this and that to see what I could make them do. That is probably the coolest thing I have done surfing in SL... well, it the thing I am proudest of... gotta flow!

SurfWatch: When did you start entering surf comps and what made you want to start?
Flynn: Namiko Pro at Chi, sponsored by Keala Mimistrobell, was the first SL surfing comp (March 24th 2007). A week after I learned to surf, I knew I wanted to compete in events. Heather said Keala was going to put something together, and I talked to her to see if and how I could help. By the 1st week of March 2007, I was building the beach at Hedonistic Isles, later called Kahuna Beach in a naming contest won by Thor Bishop, and convinced Phelan James to buy Epic waves. We held the 3rd Namiko Competition.

SurfWatch: What advice would you give new surfers?
Flynn: It's not about tricks. Its how you use tricks or moves to create flow while riding a wave. Mind you, you have to practice those tricks so much that they become second nature, but tricks are just that... tricks. If you look at the top surfers, they have moved beyond just doing tricks and flow as they move into and out of them. You'll know when you get there.
Lastly, let go of the stress. Surfing is supposed to be fun, even if its competition surfing. Everyone gets butterflies, but if you find yourself stressing out... get out. Its better to find the joy in surfing, rather than it creating tension. Tension creates resistance in the flow...

SurfWatch: What are your favourite beaches?
Flynn: I have surfed all the public surf spots in Second Life, and many of the private places as well. La Bahia was my favourite, and will be again before we sell it (now that all the rentals are gone). Of course, I am biased. But it is unique in SL surfing areas. Most places have a Polynesian theme, and La Bahia is Baja and Southern California. It was the first place to have three pipes, where you could, if you caught the right set, ride all three. Heliopolis is awesome for pipe (and fluffies), all around the best surf spot in Second Life; low lag, two pipes, and a great pier to shoot. Majini is the best Epic.

SurfWatch: What are your favorite things about surfing?
The peace that comes when I am flowing on a wave. The people and community.

SurfWatch: What music pumps you up for surfing?
Oh yeah... music is part of the flow: grooving is essential. My brothers from Cali... Rage Against the Machine - Renegades of Funk, Green Day - Holiday, and Sublime - Garden Grove when I compete; or Cake, Jack Johnson, and the Talking Heads, just to begin a long list, when I am not.

SurfWatch: What got you interested in co-owning your own surf sim? What was involved in starting up La Bahia?
Flynn: Fate, a good friend and a wonderful wife. You'd have to ask Cierra she did most of the work, I bought the waves and placed them in the ocean my job was done [laughs] .

SurfWatch: We all know your involvement with the SLSA and the Hall of Fame, but anything you want to add about that that you think people may not already know?
Flynn: I think that most people don't know how much Cierra Theriac did while she was a director. She helped me pull together and write the foundations of the SLSA rulebook. Until she left office she made all the banners, rashies, and competitor packages. She set up the SLSA website, creating the layout and content, and kept it all up to date until long after she left office. And she marshalled at two competitions. Yep all of that was the wonderfully unspoken and often unnoticed grunt work that takes hours to do but is essential for the party to happen. It was a hell of a lot more than I ever did, and yet she has been in the shadow by my limelight. So I thank you publicly, "Cierra, Thank you!"

SurfWatch: Tell us a little bit about your video site.
Again that was part Cierra and part Portia Roelofs. Cierra knows Jellybean Madison. Jelly and HawksRock Gunawan do some some incredible machinima in Second Life. Cierra has been in a couple of vids and I got to play a bartender in one too. Anyway, Portia was looking for someone to help her create a surfing vid when she ran for SLSA Director. I suggested Jelly and wow! what an incredible video. I saw Colleen Brennan spin across the wave and was "how the f*** did she do that?" That jumpstarted me into re-exploring my surfing technique and when I discovered my signature board-flip.

During this time I wanted to video myself and see what I was doing. A week later I shot vid of Cierra and put them both on Youtube, later most of my videos went on Vimeo in HD. So I started searching Youtube for more surfing videos. As it turns out Jelly and Hawks shot some video of Thor at TWC months earlier. It was so good to see him again. It was then that I knew that this was something that needed to be done. One thing led to another, and the Reef Riders were at
La Bahia practicing for the Majini Comp, I think I spent 3 or 4 hours shooting vid that day. I was hooked!

SurfWatch: What is it you want people to know about what's going on right now?
Although I am totally bummed that La Bahia is closing down. Life goes on and though I might be gone for a while, I'll be back.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Nope! But since I have this forum... I want to shout out to the 8-ballers! That was the best day I had surfing in Second Life!


Chris said...

/me hugs Flynn and Cierra...thank you a million times over for all you've you guys! :)

Cierra Theriac said...

I'm still blushing... Contrary to how it sounds, I really didn't do everything. Okay, at La Bahia I did, but not SLSA. ;)

All said, I am proud of what we ALL have accomplished and proud of my guy. :D

Doxx Dryke said...

RESPECT TO FLYNN! and Cierra :-)
i will never forget my first ride in la bahia. and all million times after :-) !!!
thx for this and keep on riding. doxx.

Nash Laville said...