Surfers React to Riding a Wave in Virtual Reality


Do you have any idea what it’s like to ride in and out of a 15 foot barrel? Specular Theory, a creative studio specializing in virtual reality production, can show you. The company is putting fans in the bare feet of their favorite surfers as part of a Jeep brand partnership with the World Surf League.

We wanted to see if this first-person, 360-degree surfing experience felt like the real thing, so we put it to the test. With a Samsung Gear VR in hand, we headed down to Venice Beach to record reactions from real surfers as they came out of the water.

Specular Theory was brought on by an agency called Xister to record the live action VR experience. They captured the footage by mounting a motion stabilized 360 rig to a surfer down in mainland Mexico. The surfer jumps from a moving jet ski onto his surfboard with the camera mounted to his side. He pops up just as a monster barrel begins to form around him and rides out the back to claim his wave.

vr surf

Specular Theory’s founder, Morris May, and his team were able to give the 360 video a first-person perspective in post-production. May described using a combination of proprietary and off-the-shelf solutions to stitch and edit the footage to create the final point of view.

You might recognize Specular Theory from some of their previous projects, including Terminator Genisys and Perspective, their acclaimed partnership with Rose Troche from the Sundance Film Festival. The experience is currently being showcased at the World Surf League’s 2015 Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour across Europe.

Visit their site for more information about this partnership with Jeep and the World Surf League.

About the Scout

Eric Chevalier

Eric Chevalier co-founded VRScout after a decade of content marketing in sports, entertainment and gaming. When he isn't sandy, Eric is scouring the streets of Los Angeles in pursuit of the best new storytellers from Hollywood to Silicon Beach.

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