LOS ANGELES, California/USA (Tuesday, April 3, 2018) - Today, the World Surf League (WSL) and the Jeep® brand announced the release of their virtual reality (VR) experience, Jeep® Sessions: A Surfing Journey in 360°.
Jeep® Sessions: A Surfing Journey in 360° follows WSL Championship Tour surfers Jordy Smith and Malia Manuel as each embarks on a Jeep brand adventure to find the best waves. The project can be viewed in both a 360° 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° visuals.
In this VR project launch, WSL teamed up with the Jeep brand and world-renowned production company, Rapid VR, to pioneer new frontiers in digital storytelling. Utilizing Rapid VR's unsurpassed knowledge of surf in the 360° video realm, directors Taylor Steele and Dave Klaiber wanted to push the limits with this film. They developed customized rigs to place the 360° 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," said Steele, Rapid VR co-director. "I'm excited to share this. It's pretty incredible knowing my mom can now experience riding a 20-foot wave."
Fans can enjoy the full Jeep® Sessions: A Surfing Journey in 360° experience in the following formats:
- 360° videos: Watch full videos on WSL.TV/JeepVR. Fans can watch via headset, desktop or mobile.
- Custom App Experience: The dynamic Jeep® Sessions: Surfing in 360° app can be downloaded via iTunes, Google Play, Daydream, or Oculus Gear VR App Stores.
A Look Inside the Jeep® Sessions: A Surfing Journey in 360° Jeep brand Ambassadors Smith and Manuel were excited to share their journey to find amazing waves. The fan-favorite surfers have competed on the WSL Championship Tour since 2010 and 2012, respectively. Smith finished in the Top 5 in 2017, and Manuel is expected to have a breakout year in 2018 after a strong finish in 2017.
"This was a special project to be a part of, and I am excited for the world to experience the journey with us," said Smith. "It is incredible to see all the innovation that goes in behind-the-scenes to bring to life such a unique perspective of our surfing experience. When you're surfing, many people just see the endgame, but it's the whole adventure to find great waves with a friend. When you do, it's the best feeling in the world."
Fans have the option to choose to explore in Smith's all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler or Manuel's Jeep Renegade. Filmed on the island of Oahu, both the Jeep Wrangler and Renegade demonstrated the Jeep brand's legendary 4x4 capability and stylish design in an off-road adventure through forest terrain and beautiful beaches.
"I love that everyone can go on whichever adventure they want in this VR experience," said Manuel. "It's a win-win for the viewer visually whether they go with me in the Jeep Renegade, or Jordy in the Jeep Wrangler, as we go off-roading to explore the beautiful scenery in Hawaii and find these amazing waves to share with the world."
Within the app experience, viewers also have several points of choice presented by Sunny Garcia, Hawaiian surfing royalty who has scoured every inch of the island, 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 Hawaii Women's Pro.
The multi-year partnership between the Jeep brand and the WSL, which renewed at the start of the 2017 season, allows the Jeep brand to tap into the unparalleled adventure, competitive drama and athleticism of surfing. The Jeep brand is the official and exclusive global automotive partner of the WSL Championship Tour and the naming rights partner to the WSL Jeep Leader Tour Rankings for the men's and women's Championship Tour.
For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com.
About Jeep Brand Built on more than 75 years of legendary heritage, Jeep is the authentic SUV with class-leading capability, craftsmanship and versatility for people who seek extraordinary journeys. The Jeep brand delivers an open invitation to live life to the fullest by offering a full line of vehicles that continue to provide owners with a sense of security to handle any journey with confidence.
The Jeep vehicle lineup consists of the Cherokee, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Renegade and Wrangler. To meet consumer demand around the world, all Jeep models sold outside North America are available in both left and right-hand drive configurations and with gasoline and diesel powertrain options.
About Rapid VR Rapid Films is a highly awarded, full-service production company creating pioneering film, 360? video, VR and AR content. With offices in Australia, USA and Switzerland, Rapid has produced a multitude of award-winning international commercials and some of the most viewed 360? VR experiences ever created, with over 75 million views online. A combination of quality filmmaking, engaging narrative, and customised engineering ensures our reputation as world-famous innovative storytellers.
About WSL The World Surf League (WSL) is dedicated to celebrating the world's best surfing on the world's best waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms. WSL has been championing the world's best surfing since 1976, annually running in excess of 180 global events across the Men's and Women's Championship Tours, the Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. WSL possesses a deep appreciation for the sport's rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels, and in doing so, crowns the undisputed world champions in Men's, Women's across all divisions within the tours.