The World Surf League (WSL) and automotive brand Jeep have announced the release of their virtual reality (VR) experience, ‘Jeep Sessions: A Surfing Journey in 360°’.
The VR experience follows WSL Championship Tour surfers Jordy Smith and Malia Manuel as each embarks on a Jeep adventure to find the best waves.
The project can be viewed in both a 360-degree video and an interactive VR experience. The VR application enables users to select their journey through “gaze-based interactions,” where the user’s eyes become the controller within the 360-degree visuals.
WSL teamed up with the Jeep brand and production company Rapid VR to pioneer new frontiers in digital storytelling.
Utilising Rapid VR’s knowledge of surf in the 360-degree video realm, directors Taylor Steele and Dave Klaiber wanted to push the limits with this film.
They developed customised rigs to place the 360-degree video camera into locations never before seen. After the huge success of ‘Get Barrelled in Tahiti’ with CJ Hobgood, Steele and Klaiber wanted to take this experience to the next level.
“Our project goal was to push the boundaries of VR technology to show what a surf trip feels like from the first-person perspective,” Steele said.
“I’m excited to share this. It’s pretty incredible knowing my mom can now experience riding a 20-foot wave.”
Within the app experience, viewers also have several points of choice presented by Hawaiian surfing royalty Sunny Garcia, which affect the narrative and result in different endings, including an option where all the featured surfers share waves together.
Surf fans all over the world can experience Jeep Sessions: Surfing in 360° at WSL events throughout the year, including Oi Rio Pro, Corona Bali Pro, Corona Open J-bay, Surf Ranch Open, Vans US Open of Surfing, Quiksilver Pro France, MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal, Billabong Pipe Masters, and the HawaiiWomen’s Pro.
Production and post-production: Rapid VR
Directors: Taylor Steele and Dave Klaiber
Executive producer: Susannah Phillips
Head of business development: Matt Klaiber
Director of production, technical director and editor: Dan White
Chief partnerships officer: Beth Greve
Vice president of partnerships: Monica Koyama
Chief community officer: Tim Greenberg
Vice president of marketing: Chris Culbertson
Vice president of music: Allison Thiel
Director of integrated content: Peter Williams