Submitted by Tyler Peace (austimus1)
Photos by West (airwestbrook)
Going around to different sims and looking for new places to surf and searching for the perfect board; I came across one of the coolest people I have ever met. West is an amazing surfboard designer and photographer. I was fortunate enough to be able to ask him some questions regarding his talent and how he accomplishes what he does.
Tчlεя Pεαcε: So West, I have noticed you around Hummingbird Point (HB) a lot. Does HB have a special meaning to you? Would you say it's the best place to surf?
Wεѕт: Well, I rent a surf hut there and Shi (Shilow Carter) has done great job setting up the wave layouts, keeping the sim going, and putting on her surf challenge events; so yes,it is one of my favorite surf sims in SL (Second Life). This is the interview right? LOL
Tчlεя Pεαcε : Haha, yes it is. When I found you at HB the first thing I noticed was your surf hut. You had some of the coolest looking board designs I have yet to see in SL. I was very quick to ask you to paint up my surfboards as well. What would you say inspired you to start creating board art?
Wεѕт : well, I didn't feel any surfboard designers really made great looking boards, at least not ones that felt were like real life boards. I love to customize anything I can do in SL, such as my tattoos. First, I found a really good 3D mesh surfboard shell that you could texture and add surf scripts to. Shack (Shapira) helped with adding the scripts to the new board, and I set out making my own surf board designs. I took real life surf board ideas of pro surfers. I wanted them to look authentic to the type of boards you may see at real life surf beaches, and I wanted to personalize it through customization. I try to do that with anything in SL from my surfboards to my snowboards to sailboats and surf gear.
Tчlεя Pεαcε: Right on man! I happen to be a huge fan of your surf gear as well. All of your creations add a nice feel to SL surfing, so from my perspective, I say you are doing really well at accomplishing what you wanted to. Speaking of your surf gear and adding a nice realistic look to surfing, I have noticed your photography as well. Your photos look like something I'd see hanging up at a surf shop. What goes through your head when thinking of what to do with a photo? And where are your favorite locations to do them?
Wεѕт : I started the photos at Hummingbird. I was mainly just curious of what I could do; surfing picture wise. I never really liked any surf pic taken of me by others. I'm not saying that they were bad pictures, just didn't really feel like I was surfing in them. All the pictures felt posed or something. Like most pictures in SL, I wanted to make capture a picture surfing in SL that felt like I was surfing in real life not on scripted board, or posed on a board just for a picture. To take my pictures, I click a snap shot anytime I felt I caught cool angle while I was on the wave. Each set is about 20 - 30 snapshots. Then, I go through a process reducing the pics to 3-6 per surf set. Then, in edit I'll add the wave spit and spray. Each set is at a different surf sim. I kind of surf crawl to all the surf sims in SL. I hope to get to all of them. I not only was trying to make pictures that capture the enjoyment I have on the waves surfing but also make the picture have the same feeling of real life surf posters; as you mentioned. I mostly give attention to these surf sims that are mostly empty. After I do a set of pictures at one of these sims, I hope it brings people to them to surf or to do pics of their own. I really wanted to give people the same experience I have on the waves and encourage them to surf or least try it. I want others to go to these sims and experience the best of SL surfing. One of my favorite locations of my pics is Ash Falls; the ladies that own and run it did an amazing job not only with wave set up but with detail of the sims and waves. Ash Falls is the only places I know of to surf in SL that is not a tropical beach theme, it's a pacific northwest theme.
Tчlεя Pεαcε : Ya know, I have never actually heard of Ash Falls. I will have to go check it out now. What do you think your idea of a perfect surf shot is? Lots of spray? Air? Perfect form? Getting barreled?
Wεѕт : You have to. I've seen your board floating on the water, Tyler (grins).
Tчlεя Pεαcε: Haha well, I'd hope it floats, man.
Wεѕт : You sure? You not been there.
Tчlεя Pεαcε : I mean... there was one time I tried to help Kris Marley add a board pad onto his board like you do and the board literally exploded into about 5 pieces and sunk... idk if I'd wanna surf that. I'm not sure if I have. I would have to go check it.
Wεѕт : Not one perfect shot. I just try to capture an exciting moment. Of course, I love big air shots.
Tчlεя Pεαcε : I can see that in your photography, man. When you look at them it makes you feel those exciting moments in surfing. It makes you really notice how beautiful it is even in SL. Thanks for bringing out how amazing surfing can be in SL, dude. Your art really makes a difference.
Wεѕт : Thank you, that what makes me really happy when a person messages me on SL or Flickr saying I love your surf pics, it looks so fun I have to try it, or I want to try it again.
Tчlεя Pεαcε : I think that's what everyone truly wants; more people to surf. It's a great thing you are doing, dude.
Photos submitted by West (airwestbrook) from his Flickr photostream: https://www.flickr.com/photos/149955872@N04/