COMPUTER GAMES: HOW THE INTERNET IS CHANGING EVERYTHING
The internet has recalibrated modern life and surfing, like everything else, has been sucked into its gravitational pull. It's made surfing easier and far more interesting. Physical surf checks and understanding synoptic charts are history. Surf media no longer has to be passively consumed – you can have your own say, upload your own photos, start your own revolution. World Tour events can be watched in real time while you critique the judges, bet on the results and reappraise your fantasy surfers. Google Earth will steer you to new waves. Lastminute will get you cheap flights. Airbnb can find you a bed in someone's beach house. Surfstitch will home deliver a steamer tomorrow. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? What can't they do: expand your social set, promote your business, make you a star, start an Arab Spring? But the internet's open portal is not without its black holes. It will happily sell you machine-guns, synthetic drugs, Jihadist propaganda or Miley Cyrus videos. It can be used to harass the vulnerable until they develop a galloping neurosis. Swell forecasting adds to crowding. The temptation to post surf pics online can blow secret spots. Surf comment boards can be overrun by haters and snarkers. You can get lost in a virtual world and wake up bleary-eyed, 52 and very alone. Social commentators fear social media is making us fame-obsessed, narcissist and tweeked out and there is evidence that surfers aren't exactly bucking that trend. Where will it all end, might be the wrong question. We seem to riding an elevator into a brave new world. There may be no stopping or getting off. Coming soon: Google Glass, 3D printers, hologram surfing, memory implants, immortality.