Last weekend, while gnawing on a slice of pepperoni pie outside a small pizza joint in Cardiff, CA, I witnessed what I thought was an alien spacecraft bursting through earth’s atmosphere. As this strange bright white light streaked across the sky, a world with aliens began to materialize via thoughts in my head. What will they look like? Will they be friendly? Will I be taller than them? Why am I so short? Did I not eat enough vegetables as a child? Thus, my train of thought derailed into my Vitamin deficient youth and the alien light slipped into the darkness before eventually dissipating.
Turns out, it was only a Trident missile being fired from an offshore navy submarine. Still awesome, but definitely not the fantastic extra-terrestrial future I had previously imagined.
Then today, I saw this.
“This” is GoPro’s new 360 degree virtual surfing experience, and it’s almost as futuristic as aliens. In the above video, you’ll encounter the closest thing out there to a first-hand experience of what getting barreled at Teahupo’o is like. Just wave your cursor over the video and start clicking and dragging. Go ahead, try it. Drag left, drag right, go up, go down, you can see it all. And as skeptical as I was when I first saw the words “virtual reality” and “surfing” in the same sentence, this is actually pretty f–kin impressive. It feels surprisingly real. Like, real enough to where if you take your shirt off and turn your leading hip toward the screen, you can almost feel the mist of the Tahitian spit wisp at your back – trust me I tried it (and you’re welcome for the visual of a half naked man in a cubicle grabbing imaginary rail).
Maybe next time you find yourself in a land-locked state, or are unable to access anything liquid and salty and moving toward shore, you can resort back to this. I’m not sure what it means as far as the future of the actual act of surfing goes, but it’s an entertaining way to spend three and a half minutes while simultaneously getting reported to HR. –Dayton Silva