I stumbled upon The Blu project about 6 months ago. It was the talk of the town (Hollywood) among CGI artists with an interest in the technology industry and its places of collision. Upon my initial understanding, I looked at it as a SecondLife with a differing setting. I was intrigued by the technology behind it, but I was not sure the driver for using the platform.

Yesterday, I got a call from my good friend (and fellow Kitesurfer), Jason Fass regarding the project. Turns out the world is smaller then you think, as Jason is working on the project and wanted to give me a quick brief. In many ways, my initial reaction was correct, although I had no grasp of the mission. Jason explained the opportunities of the platform to be a medium for writers, animators, students, and artists to build, share, and connect. And, this is just the start.

The platform also looks to the ocean-minded in all of us (and to my readers who are fellow surf fanatics). It will be launching on World Ocean Day on June 8th 2012 with OceanElders and WildAid on theblu.com.

OceanElders members are: Sir Richard Branson, Jackson Browne, Dr. Rita Colwell, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, Graeme Kelleher, Sven Lindblad, Her Majesty Queen Noor, Nainoa Thompson, Ted Turner, Captain Don Walsh, Neil Young and founder Gigi Brisson.

The event will unite individuals, communities, and organizations all over the world in a globally shared moment celebrating the beauty and significance of the world’s ocean. On June 8, the “Big Blu” whale, created by Academy Award winner Andy Jones (for Avatar), will be seen for the first time, and Ambassador Species sponsored by WildAid and OceanElders will be available for purchase. We suggest participants download now and log in early on June 8th.

The Official Words:

“theBlu” turns the Internet into a globally-connected digital ocean wherein every species and habitat is an original work of art created by Wemo Media’s worldwide community of artists, animators and developers, including Academy Award® winners Andy Jones and Kevin Mack, and students alike.

Exploring “theBlu” is as easy as browsing the web and includes information about species, exploration of geo-located habitats, in-ocean tagging of fish, the purchase of species to grow your collection and customize your experience, social activity streams, event and photo sharing, and ocean life swimming from user to user across the Internet, creating real-time social interaction.

At launch, “theBlu” will enable a connected social exploration across eight ocean habitats, including over one hundred life forms with new habitats and species released monthly, and fifteen “ambassador” species, sponsored by non-profit cause collaborators, to raise awareness and funds for ocean conservation. Currently a downloadable app for PC and Mac, “theBlu” will soon be available on phones, tablets and smart TVs.

The Education Component:

“With theBlu, Wemo Media is pioneering a new form of art and entertainment on the web fusing best practices from movies, games, and social media. theBlu provides an interactive forum for ETC students to explore the convergence of media with professional input. We’re excited to be collaborating with Wemo Media on this great project,” said Drew Davidson, CMU Entertainment Technology Center, Director. The platform will serve as a digital collaborative learning place for students and artists in CG and connect and explore. ”Bringing theBlu into some key pilot classes has turned out to be a very enriching experience for the participating students and from the perspective of curriculum development. Combining a traditional approach, of teaching a skill, with the incentive of applying those skills to a real world project has proven to be a very dynamic formula,” said Hans Westman, Academic Department Chair, Media Arts & Animation, Game Art & Design, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

 

 

 

Swedish born, Anna Jerstrom saw her life in a cubicle in the finance industry until her unused vacation days took her on a surf trip to Costa Rica, catalyzing an extreme life change. She always had a knack for business, but this time she was out to pursue it with passion. Promoting her new line of watersport swimwear, Anna is driven to make practical wear for the passionate water girls. (Count me in).


Jenna: You went from the financial world from Costa Rica, what prompted the drastic change?
Anna: I was sitting at the office (working in finance) late fall of 2008 realizing I had way too many vacation days left and decided there and then I was going to try surf camp in Costa Rica. Little did I know that it would change my life… 3 months later I had resigned from my job, packed my bags and moved to Costa Rica.

 

Jenna: What was it about surf that captivated you?
Anna: I have tried to figure out what brings the pure bliss I feel out there on my surfboard, and I think it has a lot to do with the fact that surfing allows you to tap in to the very core instincts we all have and don’t get to use in modern society. It is a combination of fight and surrender and of course, an adrenaline high that is hard to beat!

Jenna: How did you find the Calavera surf team of liked minded surf chicks?
Anna: I was lucky enough to live at a place that attracts the best of surfers, so I got to know most of the girls on the beach in Playa Hermosa. Not only are they a great resource for testing and getting feedback on the suits, but they have become great friends and surf buddies, as well.

Jenna: Tell us about start up life, do you feel like you are gaining traction and creating a niche market of like-minded action girls?
Anna: Doing a start-up is like giving birth, you know it is going to hurt but until you try it you have no idea how painful it is. Although, in the end, you get to pursue and do something with passion and love.  That certainly makes it all worth it! I launched the business because I was struggling to find performance products for women, but also because I didn’t feel I could identify with the brands that were already out there. I wanted a company that saw me as an athlete and focused on helping me get better at my sport. We have found that the message resonates with quite a few of the water women out there who are looking for a product and a brand that reflects them as the athletes they are.

Jenna: Do you have any advise for entrepreneurial women about to pass GO?
Anna: Well, the business woman in me would say make sure you know where the target market is and that you have something that distinguishes you from the masses. The surfer girl in me would say it is much like surfing, you have to commit and work your little butt off in order to catch that ride!

For more on Calavera swimwear: Calaveraswimwear.com

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The world of action sports is making big moves online. The announcement of four new action sport channels on YouTube last week featuring Kelly Slater, Tony Hawk, and Shaun White, to name a few, promises our favorite athletes all the time. Even better, it is just the tip of the iceberg.

Continuous streaming video platform Redux, makes it easy to flip through videos from all over the web by genre in playlists. Redux offers a whopping 50 action sport channels ranging from everything from watersports, BMX, Rad Collector, to skydiving and base jumping. Once you pick your ‘cup of tea’ you sit back and enjoy a custom curated list of vids. You can choose next at anytime and switch channels with a swift click. I have gotten lost on the Adrenaline channels for hours, it will suck you in.

Brand new product by Chill.com let’s you follow your favorite action athletes Facebook feeds of videos. Us enthusiasts stick together so you can probably follow your friends as well to get the best in big wave, big air, and best trick.

To top it all off, our favorite athletes are getting more tech savvy. My Instagram feed is filled with travel stories of Steve Cab, Jossi Wells, and the GoPro film crew that captures the best in action sports. Facebook feeds are littered with edits and regular tweets by surf, skate, and snow’s fame keep us all up to date.

Awww, I love it when a good marriage works. We can only hope action sports and tech stay together for the kids.

 

The Surf Expo 2011 Orlando

Upon my Los Angeles return from the Surf Expo in Orlando this weekend, I am still riding out the good vibes from the event. New 2012 products in wake, surf, kite and SUP made it like a fairy tale like Christmas for all us waterman and -women.

Wave kites, impacts vests, new surf shapes, all lined the booths of brands innovating for the 2012 consumer. Slingshot, Cabrinha, Mystic, and Hyperlite (wake bindings) proved to be at the forefront of the industry showing us new designs, lines, and updated technology.

I am already excited for next year. Here are some pics from the show:

Thank you to Kiteworld Magazine and Kiteboarding Magazine, my two favorite employers for making me feel right at home at the Surf Expo!

-Jenna

 

If you have hung out with me in the past few months, you have undoubtably heard me talking about Nitro City Resort in Panama. From the Nitro Circus umbrella, Travis Pastrana and Red Bull North America’s, Hayes Wheeless bring you an action sports resort beyond our wildest dreams.

“Picture a resort on a peninsula that’s an hour away from everything, quiet, with good food and normal girlfriend or wife stuff to do,” Pastrana says. “But if you want to skydive or ride motocross or use the cable park, you can do that, too.”*

Kite, wake, motocross, surf, windsurf, resort massage, 5 star dinner, some r&r in your chosen action sport themed room, repeat. Just heavenly.

————————————————————————————————————————————————-


I originally heard about the resort from my partner in Blowme Clothing, who runs Sirlin Enterprises as he has done all the graphics for the resort, from the boat decals to the tees. Josh has already booked his stay for September and it is clear I should probably follow in his footsteps. According to Josh, “you drop your girlfriend off at the pool and go play!”

The resort is described by the website as being the ‘closest white, sandy beach to Panama City.’* Equipped with luxurious beachfront rooms, two restaurants and a bar, a waterfront pool with waterslide, a motocross track, an extreme water sports center and a cable park it is clearly a resort for both worlds. It is Club Med, for adrenaline addicts. When can we get our fix?

According to Hayes Wheeless’s Twitter (Red Bull America and co-founder of the resort), the resort is almost done construction and on the brink of being public ready. I can hear the excitement building just among the kiteboarding pro community as I cover the Rosham Throwdown this week in Hood River.

“Tell me when it is open and I will book my trip tomorrow,” Slingshot pro rider and South east rep for wake and kite, Matthew Sexton replies excitedly to hearing about the resort for the time yesterday. He turns to the line of pros beside him, “who is in?” I spread the word to Jason Slezak and Sam Bell of Real Kiteboarding (on Liquid Force and Naish pro team consecutively), ‘you in boys?’ Nothing but thumbs from the kiteboarding front lines.

As I peruse through the Nitro City Facebook I see nothing but upcoming events in all the action sport disciplines. Wake dayz, Kite-cross, and notably past: Travis Pastrama skydiving in to announce the upcoming opening (http://www.youtube.com/v/7ZqToVVpqVQ?version=3). My gosh, the excitement is so high I can barely type this. And the room rates, all very affordable:

Preparing to get my adrenaline fix in Panama City as we speak…

*http://espn.go.com/action/fmx/news/story?page=travis-pastrana-rama-part-6&campaign=rss&source=ACTIONHeadlines
*Nitrocitypanama.com

Tunes for this post: Benny Benassi

 

 

 

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