SLSA Board of Director Candidate Interviews

SLSA+logo1Sunday, December 1st is the next SLSA Board of Director elections. All of these candidates are so awesome! I got a little nudge (although I don’t know if she meant to send it or not) that people may want to know a little bit more about our candidates and how they feel about things surfing and SLSA. So, at the last minute, I dropped interview questions on all 5. For Americans, it was the start of a long holiday weekend, the kind that takes us away from our computers. But they all rallied and got back to me, so I could get this out to you. Naturally, I thought of 3-4 more issue questions I wish I would have asked, but didn’t think it was fair to heap more questions on them after they generously got back to me so quickly. I apologize if there is something you were really wondering about that I didn’t cover. I hope this helps you get to know the candidates a little better. I do not endorse anyone over anyone else, you are going to have to make that decision for yourself. There are 5 candidates, and 3 open positions. The candidates are in no particular order. Thanks for checking in!

Candidates for SLSA Board of Directors: Xander Datura, Petra Xaris, Maldrul Morris, Johnny Whadd, and Sunrize Mornington

How did you get involved in Second Life (SL) surfing?

Sunrize – Maldrul Morris told me about surfing in SL. He showed me the waves at the Weather Chanel sim, we tried the rezzer boards and that was all it took. I became addicted to it. I found out about the SLSA soon after but didn’t join until I could surf better.

Johnny – Shortly after my initial first two months in SL, I saw that I was becoming bored with what I was encountering, so a much needed roll of the dice resulted in my  tp’ing to Tsunami Beach.  Tortolla was my very first encounter with an actual SSi surfboard which belonged to Rayzza Rubble whom promptly let me know that I was trying to ride another’s board.  This caused somewhat of a scene drawing MaryAnne Maa, Mick-O Lunasea, and Figger Arun to come and say hello.  These folks welcomed me with the warmest of warm welcomes and so it began, I’ll never forget these people as they were so kind and helpful!

Maldrul – My partner, Sonya Saarinen, found a sim that had surfable waves, so we went there and checked it out. I tried a rezzed board then went and bought my first long board. I surfed for fun and showed the sim to my friend Sunrize Mornington. She became involved with the competitions and invited me to be her partner at the PCX tandem event. After that I was hooked on competition surfing and joined the SLSA.

Xander – When I was a noob I met a guy at a party that had a SLSA tag on and asked him about it. He took me to Micks shop and I tried some boards, and had a custom one made right away. I loved it and been hooked ever since!

Petra – When I was first in SL, I looked for a beach in the search. The first one I found was What? Surf & Simboard. They had a surfboard rezzer, I tried it out and loved it. Over the next couple of months I met some friends there that were SLSA members and they helped me to get a start, Fuzzy aka Bullet Admiral,  Pova Rustamova, Cristal Rowlands, Melian Catronis to name a few.  🙂 That was the beginning of a great journey for me.

What prompted your decision to run for SLSA Director?

Xander – Well I’ve been director before in 2012, and liked the experience.  I think I still have a lot to offer and love to serve the community as I can.

Petra – SLSA has been a great community for me to belong to. I’ve made so many friends, have so much fun competing and really like helping out. During my first term, which is ending this week, my main job has been finance officer but I also have stepped in to help out with some of the other jobs as needed, updating the website, helping with sponsor liaison job, sending out group notices,  and I was event coordinator for the Island Sea Dreams comp. I would really love to serve another term as director.

Sunrize – I was a director once before. I ran the first time because there wasn’t enough people signing up to run and I didn’t want the surfing comps to end. Now I am running because I feel surfers should get involved in this great organization and keep it running, especially if they wish the comps to continue. As a Captain of a team I can not ask others to do what I don’t. I must set a good example if I want to see others on my team and friends not on my team to do the same.

Johnny – I have run and continue to run for a directorship…thinking about changing my name to JohnnyNuemonic, lol!  I just want to make sure that this great organization of such talented folks stays afloat for a long long time.  The SLSA has quickly become a major part of not only my SL life but my RL as well.  So it is with this that I feel compelled to give back to it since it has brought me much joy and happiness.

Maldrul – I have been an SLSA Director in the past and I decided that I should once again give something back to the organization.

What areas of improvement do you currently see for the SLSA as an organization?

Johnny – Co-branding and cross marketing with other types of trend-setters/active SL Sporting addicts could be advantageous as well as reaching out to those sim owners who’ve held comps at their sims in the past to find out what we can do better or how we can maintain a healthy relationship that’s mutually beneficial.  Also, the constant evangelizing about how fun it is to be a surfer in SL to those who have no idea you can surf and compete is always a great way to grow this amazing organization.

Xander – Theres always room for improvment and evolution in anything. Specifics I guess for the near future that I’d like to help with are more community involvment and activities, as well as good communication between the board and its members in both directions.  Research and development to do all we can to ensure the most fluid competitions and best possible surf experience..  Reach out across the grid for new members and to continue to promote surfing in SL to other groups and communities.

Petra – I think in general the SLSA is a well run organization but even so there is always room for improvement as with anything. I think we do need more focus on fund raising events for the Solace Dreams sim.  I like Sunrize’s idea of bringing back some of the events she would do when she was sim officer, the mini comps, raffles, etc. It brings the community together for fun events.

I think we need to continue to focus on reaching out to more potential season sponsors. We have made some progress with this but I think it’s important to continue forward with this effort since it’s ongoing.

We were facing a possible financial crisis this Fall as we had more money going out than we had coming in and at the rate it was happening we would not have enough to finish out the season. We had to make the difficult decision to decrease prize pay outs and staff pay until we could get this under control. We also worked together to try to make the comps run smoothly and in a timely manner and have had success with that. We need to continue on this track if possible.

I think it’s great to see our members pulling together to try to help out by putting on their own fund raisers. It’s amazing to see what a community can do when it pulls together with a common goal. I’m happy to say that we’ve recovered well and SLSA Surf Rang account, which funds our competitions, is back to being in a healthy state having enough not only to finish out this season but to get a good start into 2014.

I do think there could be better resource for the directors in the way of detailed instructions in a centralized place for some of the directors jobs where that is lacking a bit. Right now the info is sort of scattered about in the forum and some at the SLSA Wiki. I’ve taken the initiative to begin the writing of a detailed handbook for SLSA directors. Hopefully it will make learning the jobs a bit easier for future directors once it’s completed.

Sunrize – I feel we need more sponsors and more fund raising events to support the organization and the sim. This isn’t about the organization but it is something I feel the SLSA should help shop owners address….  I do have a problem with some of the vendors, especially the SSI vendors. Twice now I have bought a board only to have no board delivered. The store owners have been very nice in helping me get what I paid for but once it took 3 months to get a response from the vendor owner. We need closer communication between Sebastian and the SLSA. Perhaps a way the store owner can give a board when one wasn’t delivered? I have heard this has also happened to others that have bought boards from the SSI vendors.

Maldrul – Training, not only for event staff such as judge or marshall, but also for the various offcer duties such as SIM manager or HR.

What do you see as the top issues facing SL surfing in general, and what do you see as your first priority as an SLSA director?

Sunrize – First priority: read area 51 to see what has been going on and the ideas others have had. I have seen a lot of questions about judging and ideas how it can be made fair across the board. Basically people want to know what the judges are looking for. Some seem to like tricks and other just a smooth ride crossing back and forth, making it look more RL. One comp a surfer does tricks while trying to ride the wave in a smooth manner and scores high but the next comp they score low for tricks while trying to make a smooth ride with the tricks. The rules in place are good ones. The riders are confused about what they should or shouldn’t do. This confusion has to be addressed. Communicate with the participants and let them know what and why the judges look for things on particular boards and waves. If we do not address this we could lose members. We want to grow, not diminish the membership.

Xander – a BALANCE of evolving with new gear, while maintaining the older style as well!  The classics rock and are our heritage, but there are leaps and bounds being made in new things as well.  I think its important to grow, but keep in touch with our history, one because its fun, but also because it makes for more well rounded surfing experiences for everyone involved 🙂

Johnny – Well of course the economy has impacted the SL surfing community severely causing some of the most loved and well-respected surf sims to close but we have to stay strong and remain vigilant in these times so that we will eventually enjoy new surf sims and new competition formats.  I also see a need to have more fund-raising activities on an ongoing basis  to help keep this mighty ship afloat.  So my idea of 1st priority would be to get my arms around what types of marketing activities are in place and what they have yielded financially. 

Petra – I think some of the most concerning things in SL surfing is seeing some of our most popular surf sims closing down and also our active membership in the past couple of years was dropping, although, this past season there has been a rise in more surfers competing. This is great but we need to continue to try to attract more people to surfing in sl to help keep active membership up.

I think my first priority as a director is to finish up with the work I’ve started on and to continue along to help wherever I can and is needed.

Maldrul – I would say the top priority for all of the directors should be to make sure everyone is having fun.

Let’s talk comps. How long have you been competing in SLSA competitions? Do you participate in other competitions? What is your favorite thing about comps and what do you like least?

Petra – Since January of 2012 (SLSA comps). I have competed in non SLSA surfing competitions in the past and I had a lot of fun doing them. My favorite thing is having fun competing and supporting & cheering on the other surfers. My least favorite thing is the lag I get but a big part of that is my old notebook computer, lol.

Johnny – 1st comp, Cape Marina Open/Season 2 2012, grabbed 6th place so approaching 1 year as an SLSA surfer, wheat! (About other comps:) I get in where I fit in, I love the excitement of competing and have done so in one other comp, The Da Hui Open held in August of 2013 which I grabbed a 2nd place win and much momentum going into the start of Season 2 with the SLSA!  My favorite thing about comps is Maldrul Morris’ famous cookies, can’t resist the incredibly deliciousness of his sweet, eleven treats!  The thing I like least about comps lies within myself and my ability to practice hard then flop come comp time,…lmfao!

Xander – I’ve been surfing in comps and workin them for.. years? not sure how long.. just seems like my whole life 😀  I sometimes drag race and skydive competitively, but its been a while for those.

Maldrul – (Competed in SLSA comps:) Since 2008.  I have competed in the PCX tandem and recently in the SLSA Team vs competition.

My favorite thing about surfing competitions (aside from being on the podium at the end) is being with all of my friends and making new ones. The thing I like least? LAG!!!

Sunrize – I joined the SLSA in July 2008. I do believe my first comp was at the Boneyard, August 2008. (Non-SLSA comps:) I compete in off season and Seasonal comps. I miss the off season tandem comps at Tsunami. Those were fun. I recently competed in the Tsunami vs Montego comp to raise funds for the SLSA. I do not compete in other surf community comps, I am just too busy with the SLSA and taking care of my team and our sim. 🙂

Do you think SLSA today has a greater role to play in the SL surfing community?

Sunrize – It would be nice to get other surf communities together with our own SLSA and perhaps have a comp between the winning teams or winning surfers. Like a world championship comp from all surfing communities. I know that Kantbe Thursday worked very hard to get the word out about surfing in SL and especially get the word out about the SLSA. I see more information on sailing and other sports than with surfing. Even though the SLSA is growing with new surfers each season it would be nice to see more publicity about our sport of surfing.

Xander – Well thats a tricky question, I think we need to clearly define the role it plays now first.  What it was set up as has changed to many people. Where as it was once just strictly competitions, now its geared towards spreading the word about surfing in SL, and forming a community of surfers to meet, mingle, try and develop new gear, etc.  I’m not suggesting the directors should legislate that stuff, but the SLSA itself isn’t made up by the board, it’s made by its members… so as membership grows and changes, the SLSA does as well.

Petra – Well, I do believe it has a greater role as we see other surfing organizations not thriving during the time SLSA has continued to. It’s been there consistently from the start, putting on the scheduled competitions each season.

Johnny – Yes I do because it is always gaining new surfers and more exposure which has got to be seen by those in SL who enjoy the sense of competition and fellowship.

Maldrul – Through the years, I have seen people attempt to increase the visibility of the sport of surfing in SL in general and the SLSA in particular, most notably by Kantbe Thursday. Other water sports do seem to get noticed more often than surfing. Organizations such as the SLSA should play a role in bringing this sport to a wider audience.

What are your thoughts on having a variety of board script/vendors into the competition season?

Johnny – I have always believed that  variety is the spice of life so bring it, I’ll ride it till the fins fall off!!

Xander – I think its EPIC! I wouldnt even mind seeing more of different waves and boards PER competition, or even a super comp event that blends diff boards and waves for EACH heat to crown a truely most diverse surfer!   It’s one thing to practice a break over and over for a couple weeks.. show up on comp day and ride that break 3,6 or 9 scored times… It’s another to show up, find out what the breaks doing, and ride best you can 😀

Maldrul – Honestly, I was against the idea at first because it meant having to learn the interaction of different boards with the waves. But I have discovered that friends and team mates will usually help me out if I have trouble getting the hang of a certain board’s controls.

Petra – I think it’s great to have a variety of boards for competition, it makes the comps more interesting and also more challenging.

Sunrize – Any one that knows me knows I prefer the SSI boards. (Hard to teach an old dog new tricks LOL) That being said I do see the importance of growth and variety to keep the sport from becoming stagnant.

What board is your current favorite?

Johnny – Oooh a tough one, hmmmm I’d have to go with the HP5 since it has some very realistic qualities about it and oh yeah, it helped me secure my first 1st place win, lol.  I love SSI ands remain extremely intrigued (to say the very least) by the LSD board and with the awesome new Revolution series boards as well as the extremely agile C-3 boards. We surfers can’t go wrong nor can complain about variety…let us eat cake!

Sunrize – The SSI short. Maybe because it fits my body better, maybe because it was my first board. I just love the feel of it and the way it moves. 🙂

Maldrul – SSI 5.1 long board. I have found it to be the smoothest ride with the best control for the widest variety of waves. (I own a 5.1 Tribe Earth and it hasn’t let me down yet)

Xander – Ive been asked t his before in interviews.. and its just too tough to answer now 🙂 I like them all, for different reasons.. when I hang out and surf with my buddies, I’ll often take a few rides on multiple boards at each break we go to.. just for the fun of it.. I know some others that do that too. It’s just fun for me, and keeps me in practice more with them all as well.

Petra – It really is difficult to choose a favorite board. I like SSi, HP and LSD all for different reasons and all are a lot of fun to use but perhaps I like SSi shortboard a bit better. I think because the surfer has a bit more control with SSi and shortboard can be so much fun with the quicker turns, 360’s and loops that can be accomplished.

What wave is your current favorite?

Sunrize – There are so many waves I totally love to ride. The Maoli waves are fun, Maverick, Cortes, Sunset, Joaquina and an oldie but a goodie, fluffs. 🙂

Petra – I love Maverick waves but don’t see them at sims as much anymore as I used to. Maverick is a speedy and fun wave, has plenty of room to surf longboard as well as short.

Xander – Same as above answer.. when i go surfari with friends we usually hop around to several breaks with diff waves.. it’s not so much as the WAVE anymore either, as what the sim owner does with it.. if its just a straight shot, or they get creative and merge diff wave types and styles, add obstacles, etc.. THAT is fun 😀

Johnny – Instinctively, my favorite wave is the one which presents the biggest challenge to me.  Lately it has varied, the fluffs were rough but eventually lots of fun, the Maoli is an all-time fav, and I guess if i had to pick just one, it would be  “The Swell” due to it’s enormity and swift movement.

Maldrul – Without a doubt, the Sunsetter 200 m because I’ve always excelled on that wave.

What are some of your favorite SL surfing spots?

Petra – I like Tsunami beach and part of the reason is I always feel like I’m at home when I’m there.  I like Solace Dreams sim home of SLSA, just love the way it’s set up with the longer run for the waves. Island Sea Dreams is a fun place to surf, love when Connie has the multiple waves running, so much fun with HP5 board to surf those. Tai & Chi are always fun places to surf. Aquadoc’s sim Future Haven Surf is another fun one, just love the wave he has running there. I always loved What? Surf & Simboard, it’s not available for surfing at this time but I do hope it returns in the future.

Johnny – Gotta love Surf Naked, Robin Mapp has done a great job in providing  no-lag surfing with the latest and greatest waves and rezzable boards you can find in SL.  Also have a  love for Tsunami for naturally being where I found my calling in SL and for the many fun non-surfing activities present.  I can’t leave out Bisous Bay, Nash Laville always delivers only the best combined surfing experience where one can ride several different types of waves in the same sim.  I found it on a dare by Rayzza Rubble while I was still very new, little did he know at the time is that I welcome challenges and seek to continually step outside my comfort zone so that I become a more well rounded individual, in this case I was tp’d there, saw the triple threat running so I  hit it hard and sent Rayzza a few snapshots of my work, lmfao…true story!!!  Lastly, I have a fondness for Island Dreams and the overwhelming beauty of that whole sim…stellar job by Connie!

Xander – I won’t even go there from fear of leaving someone out.. I’ll say that many of my old favs are gone now, but theres new ones popping up too.. I like a diversity of breaks so just picking one favorite wouldn’t be possible.. Anywhere there’s waves, tunes and friends tho.. is a perfect break to me.

Maldrul – I have no favorites. They each have their good and bad points, but in the end, they all present another place to surf.

Sunrize – I like the SLSA sim, Solace Dreams, my team sim, Montego Isle, Tsunami, our sister team, and Chi. For the most part my favorite sim is where the next comp will be. 🙂 Surfing all the variety of sims and waves makes for a fun surfing adventure.

Anything else you would like people to know about you?

Johnny – I don’t forget acts of kindness and just want  people to know that life is short and cruel, much like my RL accountant!  Always make it count, always want it, and always always always pay it forward!

Petra – I’m always happy to help out if ever I can.  If anyone ever has a question about surfing, the comps, etc. feel free to IM me and ask and I’ll do my best to answer 🙂

Maldrul – I am just a regular elf and very approachable. I know elves have gotten a bad reputation for being aloof but in my case, its just that I’m kind of shy. ;>

Sunrize – I am an easy going friendly person who has learned the joy of surfing, even if only in SL. I love this community and the fun we share. I believe that every surfer deserves to be rooted for when they put their time and effort on the waves. Supporting each other shows the comaraderie within the organization.

Thank you for taking the time to read my answers. HUGZ.

Xander – I’m not shy, and imagine most people reading this know me pretty damn well 😛 I’ve grown up in this family, and hope to stick around till I’m old n grey. I will add tho that there are so many great candidates this election, and I’m happy to see so many people take action again for the community.. no matter who gets the 3 open slots, we ALL win this election.. and as always, if there’s anything I can do to help within the community even not as an acting director, Ill gladly do so 🙂 HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!! ❤ MAHALO

(You can’t go wrong with any of these people, so good luck making your decision 😉 For more information on voter eligibility, read Section 2.1 of the SLSA constitution. -CT)

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