SurfWatch recently caught up with Moira (venera74) at Bundy Surf Beach, ranked top 3 in the SLSA standings in 2017 and SLSA Director, to get to know her and share her thoughts on Second Life (SL) surfing.
SurfWatch (SW): Have to ask, how did you find out about SL surfing and how did you get started? Where, who, when all the details lol!
Moira: I have to go a little behind with my story. I live in a seaside town in Italy, a small town, but great for surfing. Here everyone surfed and competitions are organized at European level. I started surfing when I was child, about seven years, but at 10 I had an accident and health problems related to it. After recovery, really long, I tried to surf again, but understanding, I never can surfing again. It was really hard to accept. The sea, surfing, is my passion. I live them as if they were part of me. It is my lifestyle.
I was really down. My sister told me about SL and surfing. She told me that I could ride again. So she gave me her avatar, and I entered in SL for the first time. It was June 20, 2015. I had search with her the sim for surfing, and the first I found that inspired me was Tsunami. And I went and WOW, the waves. Could not believe my eyes. Took a board and threw myself on the first incoming wave. I stood up on a surfboard, and I was again surfing. It was a wonderful feeling.
While I was surfing, I saw someone waiting sitting on the board. Petra Xaris. I began to talk to her, knowing her, and she spoke of how it worked, SL surfing, the various differences of surfboards, showed me some waves. And I stood ecstatically - really, you could do all this in SL? She spoke to me about surfing competitions, inviting me to attend the LSD competition the following Saturday. I went there and it was beautiful. I decided then to want to compete. Petra and I became friends and I asked her if she wanted to become my coach. She accepted and so it all began. Time later, I met MaryAnn Maa, owner and team captain of the Team Tsunami
She spoke to me about her team, and asked me if I wanted to join, I thought about it for a few days and finally accepted her invitation.
I'm glad I did it, I immediately felt in a family with her and all the team members.
SW: What made you want to surf? How hard was it to learn?
Moira: What made me want to surf? Passion! That fire inside which does not make you stay away from the surfboard and the waves. In every way you can have it, even behind a monitor, that sense of freedom I feel when I'm surfing, the chance to do and making it true, and not just a memory.
How hard was it to learn? Well, really good question. I don't know. I surfed a lot. In the break between the 2015 season 1 and season 2, I was in the water every day trying again and again all the surfboards and many waves as possible. Petra was an extraordinary coach, gave me advice I tried to put into practice, trying to do what I liked. And was good for me, surfing the waves in a way that felt right and that gave me pleasure.
I practiced a lot, every day, even for 8 - 10 hours a day, but without all that was or is a burden. I can practice for hours, days, weeks and months without never getting tired, because each wave I surf is a world unto itself that begins, ends, and begins again the next wave. Understanding what can I do with a surfboard and what the surfboard can do for me, adapting to my style, understanding how my style can be adapted to a specific wave and what I have to change to make it effective.
Arrived on the day of my very first open competition, I did not know how I was surfing. Petra said it was good, but I was not convinced. So I did the first heat and got a good score of 15:00, second high score of the comp. Qualified for the Pro competition where I arrived fifth. I realized what I had done was good and the way I had followed was right . So I can't say was hard, it was just fun.
SW: Did you know anything about real life (RL) surfing?
Moira: I was a RL surfers and I am in love with surf, so I think the answer is ...yes.
SW: How did you get involved in competition surfing?
Moira: I wanted to surf, and I was happy to do it again in SL but I knew nothing about comps and SLSA. When I was child, I attended many surfing competitions, saying to myself, one day I will compete. Petra told me that in SL were surfing competitions. I quickly realized that I wanted to participate, and I wanted be able to do it soon. I'm very competitive. I love the competition and especially love surfing, the perfect blend, and it was easy to decide to enter in the world of surf comps. I saw the last competition of the season 1, 2015, and, like I said, it was the right push for me want to participate in the new season.
SW: What are your favorite competitive moves?
Moira: I love to be smooth and fast, not, like, just press the keys trying to make mechanical moves or combinations like a video game. I like to try to adapt my style to wave I'm surfing and to the board I'm using, trying to do something can be nice and effective, but overall can be nice for me and I like (not sure if was this the question, lol)
SW: What do you get out of competitive surfing?
Moira: A lot of satisfaction, not for the results I got, not only for those, but to have had the opportunity to meet many wonderful people, and know a beautiful world where I feel really at home. And overall for having had the opportunity to realize my dream of being able to compete in the surf when I was convinced that would never be possible and I had lost hope. Surfing competitions gave me a new life!
SW: What's your favorite board?
Moira: I like each board I use because are different, but maybe my favorite is LSD.
SW: What music, if any, pumps you up for surfing?
Moira: I don't have a favorite music. Much depends on how I feel and my state of mind. I usually listen to old rock, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, for example, but I can listen everything. It depends on what at that time give me the charge. I love classical music and the great composers, Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi, etc.
SW: Is there anyone in the past or current surfing world that you admire their style and try to emulate?
Moira: Well, I think everyone have his own style, different from each other, and I think everyone deserve to be admired precisely because of this diversity. Regard to emulate someone, well, I prefer to be Moira, with my style and my way for doing things.
SW: What advice would you give new surfers about how to start?
Moira: The only advice I feel I can give is this: be passionate. With the passion and dedication you can get all results. Do not rush, take your time trying and trying again. Try to figure out what is your style without want to look like someone. And over all, have always fun in every wave you surf.
SW: Where are your favorite places to surf? What's your favorite wave?
Moira: Think I have not a favorite place for surfing and I have not a favorite wave. I am happy when I surf in every place on every wave. Nothing else matter.
SW: What do you imagine SL surfing will be like 5 years from now?
Moira: Surfing in SL, it is a reality, established from years. There been and there are people who have committed their time, their desire, and why not, their money, to make surfing and competitions possible, to make it known, giving to the community of surfers, something really great. I think by continuing with the same commitment and the same desire, surfing will become more, a solid reality in SL.
SW: What else do you like to do in SL in addition to catching a wave?
Moira: After discovering the surf and have surfed for days, I realized that SL was truly immense and you could do a lot of things. I discovered my best friend years ago made an avatar and using it for a few days, I convinced her to come back in SL. And with her we explored a lot of places and is still one of the things we like to do. We found the clothes and shopping * sighs *, and became the main activity. I spend every competition prize in clothes and hair * sighs again *. I even convinced my mother to be in SL, too. My sister gave her second avatar to my mom, so I spend a little time with her, too, considering she complains because of school and everything else, we never have time to be together talking.
SW: Anything else you want to add?
Moira: I would just like to add a big thank you to all the people that have made and make it possible, who dedicate their time, and their commitment to serve the community of surfers, and their fun, to all those who have passed, but have left their mark, and to all those who today continue on this way, doing something great. I'm really happy to say, to be part of that, too. And I want say a big thank you to my team Tsunami, for all the support and for make me feel always a member of a family.