By Tauri Tigerpaw. Exclusive to SurfWatch.
Ranked number one in the Second Life Surfing Association (SLSA) competition rankings for more than four months since his big win at Monkeh Barrel in February and finally confirmed as season champion at last weekend's SLSA season awards, Pova Rustamova has really had a great first half of the year. The season champion talked to SurfWatch about competitions, Havok4 and Second Life surfing in general.
SurfWatch: What did you think of the last surfing season?
Pova: Well, it was interesting. I was fired up at the beginning and then we had the challenge of an open sim competiton, but then the next competition was great. And then [laughs] Havok4 was lilke learning to surf all over. But you know, everyone kept moving forward and it was a great season -- ups and downs -- which left it up for grabs till the last ride.
SurfWatch: What do you think has changed in Second Life surfing since last year?
Pova: Hmmmm... tough question. Seen beaches come and beaches go, along with some competition. TK and Ritch [Goalpost] on the side watching. But newcomers galore. As far as the competitions go, they have been up and down. Dealing with lag one competition and none the next. But I have taken the attitude to just have a blast. Win one, lose one, crash one -- it's all fun. And i guess i survived it.
SurfWatch: Did you think you might be the season champion when the year started out?
Pova: Had no idea. Actually thought it was gone with the Surfline competition. My net was grounding out and I crashed. Barely got into the semis. And the first run of the semis, I go poof off the end of the first wave and got back just in time to watch the party wave! Then I finished fourth at Neart and was back in it.
SurfWatch: Were you sure that you had enough points to take the season title after El Corazon or was it a complete surprise?
Pova: [laughs] Nah, I knew. I knew if I made the semis, I was pretty much a lock and, low and behold, I didn't. So was counting positions all day and was really sweating it. Then VW [Sands] fell... Abel [Halderman] fell... Christine [Daffodil]... the last two were Devi [Devinna Toll] and Colleen [Brennan]. So, it went to the wire. Devi had the best shot at me. She needed a third, Colleen a second. And watching Desi, that last comp, she ruled it. And then Craigy stepped up for a key second which did it for me.
SurfWatch: So were you shooting for a season title right off the bat?
Pova: Really, I was just shooting to do well in each comp. Didn't even think that much about it till El Corazon. Then it hit me cuz everyone was talking about it. Was actally trying to put it out of my head. Well, I was figuring DeVinna would pull it off. She surfed well that day at El Corazon.
SurfWatch: So who were you feeling was your closest competition all season?
Pova: Well, Devinna, Colleen, VW, were all hot on my tail. If I had finished the Surfline competiton, I could have locked it up right there. I was ripping the waves up and then -- poof. And that was when Havok4 was at its worst. I had found a combination that was working, a board that was performing, and a plan of attack that seemed to be working. Was getting some good tricks, and hugging the wave and not bellying, getting some good use of the waves from end to end.
SurfWatch: So you went into El Corazon fresh off that experience... what went wrong there and what went right?
Pova: [giggles] What went wrong was laggg laggg laggg! Oh my god, all week was getting used to moderate conditions and then the day of the comp it was unreal lag and just wasnt ready for it. Was like being in a bowl of molasses. Reaction time was like two or three seconds. The good thing was, I finished two rides and scored just out of the semis. Tied for 14th which guaranteed me a shot. Not an outright win, but a solid shot. I'm still trying to figure out how Desirae rode the way she did in those conditions.
SurfWatch: What's the best part of being Second Life surfing's top surfer for this year?
Pova: Hmmmmmmm... the attention I'm getting from my sweet baby, Desne (Aabye). I'm her lil surfer boy. She manages to pump me up a bit over it, though.
SurfWatch: What was your most memorable moment of the season, Pova?
Pova: [laughs] So many. Good memory was the win at Monkeh.
SurfWatch: Why was that such a memorable win for you?
Pova: Cuz kinda like El Corazon, the conditions were a big, big challenge, and I fought through them and finished on top. The worst was the crash at Surfline. That one really really made me think about what Second Life was about [laughs]. I get competitive. Well, that episode really got to me for some reason. But I made the decision then that was gonna just have fun, win or loose, and the rest of the year has been so great and brings back memories of how it was when I started. Had good friendships, good parties, good competitions. For a while there, wasn't sure where SLSA was going, but once I made that revelation, it made my total ride better in Second Life and in the surfing community.
SurfWatch: How long have you been Second Life surfing?
Pova: Well, actually, this is my first full season. Started like, that third one of last year and picked it up quick. Had a good teacher in Desne. And then picked up some things Ritch and Craigy were doing. And managed a big couple of finishes at the end of the year last year, and I was hooked big time [laughs].
SurfWatch: What drew you to Second Life surfing?
Pova: [laughs] One hot lil surfer girl. Had to learn to surf to get to talk to her. She was always on a board -- a pink Kuhuna Namiko one. In fact, I learnd to surf on that pink board.
SurfWatch: So what was your first board and what's your favorite board now?
Pova: Well, my first board was a GR board.
SurfWatch: And now?
Pova: Have some customs made from a SSI Tiger and the Big Dawg Fishtail.
SurfWatch: What's your favorite surfbreak these days?
Pova: Epics is Majini and Surfline is great for pipes. But the hole I like most is at home. Got me a lil pipe set up to practice on with and without some fluffies running from time to time.
SurfWatch: What's your favourite maneuver?
Pova: Well, I have always been a lil less active on the wave than most riders. I like to, as Malcomb Sidney once told me, paint the wave, use it from end to end and then some. Push it to the end and and even beyond. The adrenaline really gets going when you get out past the end of the wave and have to get back to it. Then I set up a barrell roll and some 360s, but always try to continure across the wave, painting up and down it, [laughs], kinda like a real ride.
SurfWatch: Are you a member of any surf team?
Pova: Currently I surf to the Misfits. Was an honor when Thor [Bishop] and Sierra [Sugar] invited me. I was just a beginner, but I guess they saw something.
SurfWatch: Any surfing related business ventures?
Pova: Well, have lil beach resort that I rent condos on with a nice surf shop. Am good friends with the FAKT owner, Doxx Dryke, custom board maker extraordanaire. [laughs] He has a shop at Majini and Azure Sky where I live.
SurfWatch: What advice would you give new Second Life surfers today?
Pova: Don't sweat the small things. You're gonna meet up with lagg, you're gonna crash, but you're gonna have some fun. Focus on the fun and the people. It's all about the relationships.
SurfWatch: Anything else you'd like to talk about?
Pova: Oh, one thing. As you can probably figure, I'm a big, big Razorback supporter. My alma mater is the University of Arkansas, the Fighting Razorbacks, home of the hogs. I used to play football for them, so I have brought a bit of it with me in to Second Life -- [laughs] the big hogg on the waves -- woooooooo pig sooooie!