Stab Magazine | The WSL's Surf Game Is Here

The WSL’s Surf Game Is Here

True Surf-ing in the palm of your hand!

Words by stab

The WSL just dropped their own take on virtual surfing, ‘True Surf’, and it’s a hell of a lot better than the title.  

We’ve been complaining and hoping for the resurgence of interactive surf media for a number of years, hopes of which have gone largely unanswered until now. Of course we’ve been graced with Go Sally! Surfing and Gabriel Medina’s own ESL attempt, but nothing has matched the comparative realism of some good old Transworld Surf or Sunny Garcia Pro Surfing from the same year CJ Hobgood won a world tour*. 

Who would’ve known the noughties would be the peak for surfing games? The graphics weren’t completely cooked and the surf physics were eons better than anything released since. And while the WSL’s not exactly rivalling these surf game exemplars, the beta version’s lining up for the best attempt we’ve seen since ‘Reef Girl’ was our dream female. 

The game was developed and financed by True Axis, and is partnered by both the WSL and Surfline.

IMG 1878 2

Go over the falls at Pipe without the judging eyes of 1000 others.


True Surf

Firstly, the surfing is based on actual waves: Pipeline, Cloudbreak, Snapper, J-Bay, Trestles, Namibia and a tonne more. They break similar to their actual counterparts, and they aren’t always pumping either. 

Like real life, the spots are swell dependent, and the swell, wind, and tides are based upon what the surf is actually like according to Surfline’s forecast. So while Namibia cooks at 15-foot, Rincon is 1-foot and garbage. You can however use a ‘perfect storm’ token that will bump up the swell to ‘perfect’ for five minutes at that location. 

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The only part they’re missing is a $8.95 a month subscription to see the extended forecast.

In addition, each wave that rolls through is different to the last. Waves come in sets, and even waves within a set will differ in their size, shape and speed at which they peel off down the line. In saying that, similar to actual surfing, it’s near impossible to be patient and you’ll find yourself chipping into whatever’s on offer, rather than waiting it out for an actual good wave. 

That’s why the game lets you choose which wave to catch and where to take off on it by tapping your chosen location on screen. As a result you’ll probably spend half your time floundering in the wash as you squander another late take off, but nothing beats autonomy in video game entertainment. 

IMG 1869

Now there’s two people who can wear trunks wherever they surf. Clay Marzo and scoliosis True Surf man.


True Surf

Another semi-realistic aspect is the cost of flying around the globe. Obviously the WSL don’t want to be seen promoting the carbon-exhaustive methods of global travel, and therefore charge ‘flight tokens’ (or real money if you’ve stolen a credit card) to trot between each spot. 

The only aspect they’re missing is a plethora of writhing and smiling surfers back-paddling and smoking you on every opportunity presented. 

But what about the actual surfing?

Well, it might not be perfect, but it’s the best we’ve seen on a handheld device.  

IMG 1874

No skis allowed at this Snapper freight train.


True Surf

The surfers movement is a little off, but it’s still simple enough to rally off a couple turns, get tubed, or perform 16 consecutive re-entries on a 15-footer at Skeleton Bay. Airs are also possible, but I’m yet to nail one after a few hours gameplay, implying they’re almost as hard here as in real life. 

Getting barrelled is similarly difficult, but once you figure out the awkward pumping motion you’ll realise the shockwave is essentially non-existent in True Surf. 

You’ll also be able to compete against others in competitions that swing around every couple of days. Some of which align with the World Tour events themselves such as the Quiksilver Pro France, and others like the Huntington Open which, like pumping QS 1000s, are thrown in just to keep you entertained between waiting periods.

IMG 1881

The only thing harder than surfing Jaws is taking a screenshot while ‘surfing’ it.


True Surf

While I’ve only had a day to spend glued to a screen trying to jam as many turns and clock up the tube timer into double digits, it’s safe to say it’s the best available in modern surfing games, particularly those offered on your phone.

The game is out as of right now, so go and download it at the App Store. It’s probably the only way you or I will ever actually back a Pipe bomb.  


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