Straight out of the back of seven weeks continuous building at Erebos Harbor, Leaf and I found ourselves back home at Ash Falls suddenly with hours of free time and feeling a little lost. For all the years I’ve known Leaf I never knew she surfed, it never came up before, until one day in March she turned round to me and declared we’d done enough standing around and that she was taking me surfing. I don’t remember where we ended up that first day; I know we went to North Shore, to Kanaloa, to Bundy and to many other beaches.
From the first moment I experienced it I have loved the thoughts unsaid and the things you speak in those few soulful moments when you get off a wave when you’re out surfing with someone, when you head back towards shore and you’re just watching the water together. One of those things you say between waves that day was ‘we need our own wave run‘.
We ended up with a Tahiti on our then single homestead at Ash Falls, it dominated the bay and our run was barely a quarter sim long. I surfed that pair of slow Tahitis in the bay for hours and hours, every day. Within a week we went to watch the 2018 Season 1 LSD competition at Tai, we sim hopped some more discovering One Love Beach and spending lots of time at North Shore.
We soon realised we needed more space at home and that we wanted to make a totally unique surf break in Second Life. One Tuesday morning in early April we stood side-by-side on Picture Perfect at Ash Falls and watched as Spider Island appeared from thin air on the horizon making our single homestead into a double homestead. Three weeks later, we formally opened the extension to Ash Falls and we had taken the first steps in creating our own boards. Our post-build quiet and free time resumed, albeit a little less this time, and between looking after our awesome tenants and maintaining our builds we got back on the waves – by then we were both riding Flow V-Surf boards, and sailing just about any boat we could get our hands on.
Just a couple of short weeks later, we had started work on Cloudbreak – it’s iconic pink sands springboarding us forward in to the start of the build four months ago today. The build process at Cloudbreak was intense and so filled with contradictory emotion; elation, pain, joy, tears, frustration, overwhelm, inspiration, wanderlust, solitude, apprehension, and togetherness. After those two months creating, sharing and a little bit of surfing our SLives have never quite been the same since.
In the last six months we have met some incredible people that we may never have crossed paths with otherwise; we’ve formed friendships and working relationships with amazing people from talented surfers to event owners, designers and creators. We’ve also pushed boundaries and opened eyes; proving that surfing environments can be both stunning and optimised to create the best possible surf experience. But for it all – the breaks we’ve built and the board we’re building – what it comes down to for me is that there’s an intriguing sense of clarity and creativity that comes from being out on digitised water. Surfing is freeing; you can’t type, you can’t chat, you can’t let your thoughts consume you because you have to think about the next wave, you can’t see what’s happening over on Flickr or Facebook or Instagram or everywhere else that’s clamouring for your attention. The pixel wave becomes your sole focus for a few short (or long) minutes and in a digital world, fuelled by connection and contactability, the freedom from the white-noise of online life is liberating.
I surf for my soul, and by doing what we love we inspire and awaken others to do the same, so maybe you should too.