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ABC's of Surfing: Fluffies

You cannot do a blog series about surfing and not mention the Fluffies by SSi.They were the first wave ever in Second Life and continue to hold real nostalgic weight for surfers who have been here from the beginning. Sadly, they are hard to find these days but we've arranged for Chi to put them out for you to experience for yourself.

The original SSi fluffies shown in front at Chi Beach.

The best board to surf an SSi Fluffy is an SSi surfboard. "The first SSi fluffs combined with SSi boards was the first surfable combination. They have a lot of unusual features compared to the modern waves and some of those things are SSi board specific too" Sally told us while setting up the waves for us to try, "the SSi board had to be written to detect them, unless the board specifically detects them .. you can't surf them"

The SSi board rezzer shown right at Chi Beach

We'll tell you more about how to surf these historical waves in a moment, but first let's explore a little about their history.

The History of Fluffies

Heather Goodliffe created and scripted the first surfable waves and surfboard in Second Life. Her company was called Surf Systems, Inc. or better known today as SSi.

The SSi Fluffies were different from any other wave we have today. "All other waves have a physical surface where the board surfs on them. Fluffy and Fluffy Fun don't have that, they're just phantom, you can't really surf on them. All the surfing is done by the board, the fluffy is just the trigger." Denise Foxtrot of Maoli Waves & Ramps explains the difference between now and then, "at that time SL didn't have a physics engine. It wasn't possible to really make cars or airplanes or stuff that just fall down. Every vehicle just was a non physical vehicle."

"The other weird thing about the SSi Fluffies was the shape" Sally LaSalle of SLSA and Chi added, "they aren't really wave shaped in the peak and trough sense. They were a kind of flattened toroidal shape that gave the sense of a 'swell' but not with a peak"

The original SSi Fluffy at Chi Beach

Sebastian Saramago eventually took over the SSi business. Many board shapers came into existence and surfing was well on its way to becoming a successful sport. The main issues with the SSi wave was its resources. It took a lot to run the waves and would also lag sims out terribly. Additionally, the products were very expensive back then, making it challenging for just anyone to have a surfable beach.

After Goodliffe and Saramago had left Second Life, Sally LaSalle went to Denise Foxtrot of Maoli Waves and asked if she could duplicate the SSi Fluffies in a less-resource-draining capacity. "So I rode the Fluffies of SSi quite a time to check them out and build my own ones that work pretty similar and feel the same. And for anyone who says 'they don't feel the same'....they do...because on Fluffies that's not based on the wave but only on the board" Foxtrot tells us, "that's why so many Fluffy surfers still prefer riding SSi on them even they would ride another brand on normal wave because SSi simply feels best on Fluffies"

The Maoli Fluffy Fun at Maoli Waves & Ramps Beach

"But amazingly .. the SSi boards work just as well on the Maoli waves" Sally LaSalle boasts as she completes the Chi setup.

We know you're eager to try out the very first waves in Second Life so pop over to Chi now, look for the SSi board near the dock and get out on those waves!

You'll find surfing the Fluffies to be quite tricky so the next section will be on how to surf the Fluffies by SSi and the ones by Maoli since they're the same concept. Keep in mind, we're focused mostly on the wave itself and not the SSi board (that will come at a later date).

How to Ride the Fluffies

As we've mentioned, the preferred board to ride these waves is the SSi. It was designed and scripted specifically to detect them. The other boards known to react to these waves are the C-3 (with fluffies enabled) and the LSD, per Bobbi LaSalle. We did not test the newer boards to see if they worked but Denise Foxtrot admits her boards do not, "I never was able to reproduce that SSi feel"

Prepare yourself for a lot of tapping. Johnny Whadd laughs that he killed a ton of keyboards surfing SSi and Bodhi Lowtide swears he's injured himself mashing the buttons as fast and long as you have to. "You really had to paddle fast with the board in contact with the fluffy wave for a while or you wouldn't pop up. The speed of the board on the wave was the trigger. They are probably harder to surf than the big waves because the fluffy wave won't push you along as much, so you had to maintain a bit of forward velocity as well" remarks Sally LaSalle.

The following is an excerpt taken from Bobbi LaSalle's "Fluffy Class":

Ok, lets start out with how to catch a wave while surfing on fluffies.

Because the waves are phantom, you can pass right through them.

So you can't paddle into the wave like with any other regular wave.

You have to paddle parallel with the wave, or somewhat in the direction of the wave.

With that in mind, the real secret and trick to catching fluffies is velocity.

The way the board is scripted, if your velocity is even just a bit higher than the velocity of the wave, then you will pop up and start surfing.

So as long as your on the wave, and moving faster than the wave is moving, you will catch the wave and start surfing.

You have to be moving with the wave, paddling against the wave won't work.

So most surfers catch fluffies one of two ways.

First way is to paddle parrallel to wave, let the wave catch you, and then turn slightly in direction wave is moving.

Second way is to chase the wave down from behind, and soon as you catch wave you will be surfing.

"There are moves that you can really only do on the fluffy," Sally LaSalle adds to her wife's class script, "because .. there is no wave pusher to block the board so you can do some pretty amazing kind of helical turns like of a 360 but a roll at the same time only ever seen it done well on the fluffs, though some of the guys almost do it on the c3 and x3 too"

"I remember learning surfing on the Fluffies, Bobbi taught me, and she always said .. if you can surf Fluffies .. you can surf anything and I think that is true. They are the best wave to practice basic turns and board control because they are very unforgiving also because .. the breaks are often very short .. you can practice a lot of waves in a row" - Sally LaSalle, owner of Chi and Bundy Reef and current director of SL Surfing Association.

Where to Buy Them:

The SSi Fluffies are no longer for sale but a few beaches do have the rezzers available. We have them currently rezzed on Chi for readers to enjoy and you can always contact Sally LaSalle in the future for a surf trip down memory lane.

The Maoli Fluffies "Fluffy Fun" are still for sale at Maoli Waves & Ramps for 2750L. You can try these out at the Maoli Beach located just outside the Wave Shop.

Fluffy Fun vendor at Maoli Waves & Ramps

"The Fluffy setup is like the clam setup too, you just drop out the rezzers and point them into that direction.They have a controller to turn them all on and no sync feature but its the same *only rezzer* and *hit land* thing, as all old waves was after all" - Denise Foxtrot of Maoli Waves & Ramps

We really hope you've enjoyed this brief trip through surfing history. Obviously there's more to come in later posts so be sure to keep following along every post as we explore the fundamentals of surfing in Second Life from A to Z.

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