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 recently caught up with VW Sands, Bishara Estate Manager and surf legend of Majini Island to talk about surfing, Second Life and life on Majini. With a rez day of just 16 months, VW is currently ranked 6th place in the 2008 SLSA season standings, manages Majini Island's popular beach club, organises the Vibrations Surf Alliance (VSA) Surf Jam surfing competition each month and occasionally has time to surf the waves.
SurfWatch: How did you get started as a beginning surfer and how long ago was that?
VW: Wow... well I started surfing my first week in Second Life. It was after I found Bishara that it got in my blood, though. We used to have a pipe running from the edge of the sim into Munch Bay, short and sweet it was. I surfed all over Second Life back then, but Bishara always felt like home somehow. My first board was this big ole Mermaid Longboard. Took forever to get those things turned going right [laughs]. I don´t really remember my first time but I´m sure I choked pretty good.
SurfWatch: Who taught you?
VW: I was lucky enough to meet a gal named Robin Choche who was also kinda new in the surf scene. I think we taught each other a lot back then. Nowdays I marvel at surfers like Pova, Devi, TK and Craig and a ton of 'new' riders that remind me how fun it was back then and make it fun still.
SurfWatch: When did you start entering surf competitions and what made you want to start?
VW: I sat out the 2007 season and practiced my ass off. I studied all the top riders, asked too many questions and floundered around the scene soaking up info like a sponge [laughs]. I did some judging and learned what the judges look for and how to score. By the time the 2008 season came, I was chomping at the bit to surf in the SLSA contests.
SurfWatch: What advice would you give new surfers today?
VW: I say this way too often but it's so true: just have fun! Surfing is fluid, flow, soul-food. It takes a bit to find your rhythm, and it's much easier if approach it with a sense of humor. Take a class, 15 minutes with a good coach is worth a month of belly-rides on your own. There are bunches of great riders that love to help new surfers. Watch, chat and LISTEN.
SurfWatch: Where do you consider to be the best surfing beaches in Second Life and why?
VW: I love Chi and, of course, Majini. Chi has a zen about it, it just 'feels' good there. However, Bahia reminded me of my old days down in Baja - endless, spartan, warm. Majini is a very special place. I was lucky enough to meet Dumisani Ah way back when, my first month in Second Life, I think. He has allowed me to create a surf sim as I felt it should be. It's not just the waves, both the big wave and pipes on occasion, it's the atmosphere. It's pure surfing, surfers, lifestyle. Always laid back, warm and friendly. To me, it represents how we as surfers are in real life.
SurfWatch: Where do you spend most of your time surfing?
VW: [laughs] Well this is a no-brainer! I spend quite a bit of time in the water at Majini.
SurfWatch: What are your favorite things about Second Life surfing?
VW: The best thing about Second Life surfing is the people. The Second Life surf scene is about having fun with your friends. I'm sure there are other activites in Second Life that share a certain amount of 'community', but surfers are, well, surfers. Aside from that, I guess maybe it's being able to slash even on flat days [smiles] Always another perfect wave coming!
SurfWatch: Do you have a favorite or trademark maneuver?
VW: Hmmm... not really. I like to try and change it up a lot. Try not to fall into a predictable pattern. If that is a style, it would be called 'erratic' [laughs]. I learned that the surfers getting the higher scores were all about movement. I just try to go nuts, bang the keys and hold on! [smiles]
SurfWatch: What got you interested in managing a surf sim?
VW: Hmmm....I´m not sure I was ever really looking for sim management, it just sorta happened. As I said earlier, I was fortunate enough to meet the best sim owner in Second Life who has since then become a dear and trusted friend. I had some ideas that Dumi seemed to like for his sims, and the rest is history as they say [smiles]. Managing Majini and the other sims in the Bishara Estate is a team effort. I may be responsible for Majini per say, but it is with the help of a great crew that the place works. From my Vibrations group I have the best crew in Second Life to choose from that help with Majini. The rest of the estate has a great crew of managers that all work together, not just me [smiles].
SurfWatch: Is there anything else you'd like to talk about?
VW: Is it true that if I agree to this interview, I will be left on a deserted island with a killer break and a case of Corona?