Jeep and the World Surf League (WSL) Tuesday announced the release of their virtual reality experience, called Jeep Sessions: A Surfing Journey in 360°.
The experience follows WSL Championship Tour surfers Jordy Smith and Malia Manuel as each embarks on a Jeep brand adventure to find the best waves. The experience can be viewed as a 360° video or an interactive virtual reality experience. The application allows users to control the experience through gaze-based interactions, in which they use their eyes as the controller.
“Our project goal was to push the boundaries of VR technology to show what a surf trip feels like from the first-person perspective,” says Taylor Steele, co-director of Rapid VR, which created the virtual reality experience. “I’m excited to share this. It’s pretty incredible knowing my mom can now experience riding a 20-foot wave.”
The videos are available on WSL.TV/JeepVR. Fans can also download the Jeep Sessions: A Surfing Journey in 360° app on iTunes, Google Play, Daydream, and Oculus Gear VR App Stores.
Smith and Manuel have competed in the World Surfing League (WSL) Championship Tour since 2010 and 2012, respectively. Smith finished in the top five 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,” says 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.”
Users can explore in Smith’s 2018 Jeep Wrangler or in Manuel’s Jeep Renegade. Both experiences were filmed on the island of Oahu.
“I love that everyone can go on whichever adventure they want in this VR experience,” says 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.”
The multi-year partnership between Jeep and WSL was renewed at the start of the 2017 season.