Australia’s Barton Lynch truly is a national treasure. The 1988 world champion almost single handedly saved professional surf announcing when he came into the box, a few years ago, eventually supplanting the 1989 world champion Martin Potter in hearts, minds and air time.
The Manly born, Sydney raised Lynch, described my surfing’s historian Matt Warshaw as “bright, expansive, rubber-faced” in his seminal Encyclopedia of Surfing (subscribe here) can do it all and, amazingly, “all” includes releasing a pro surfing video game.
Video game reviewer David Smith wrote:
The game, created by eight developers from Fremantle over a period of two-and-a-half years, aims to capture the spirit of high-stakes competitive surfing.
Surfing titles are an extremely niche genre in video games. Though the cover art of Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer is seared into my retinas from years working at Gold Coast EB Games stores in the late 2000s, I have a hard time thinking of other dedicated surfing games I’ve encountered. It usually pops up as a mini-game in a larger sports compilation. Here, Bungarra wants to return the sport to the fore.
To prove their bona fides, the studio is working with world champion surfer and Sport Australia Hall-of-Famer Barton Lynch. The team themselves are also die-hard surfers, dedicated to replicating the experience of hitting the waves as accurately as possible.
“We are surfers who are passionate about the core sport of surfing, along with the culture and the freedom of our lifestyle,” says Bungarra Software CEO Andrew West. “We’ve been building surfing games for years and our very first demo was a simulation. Circumstance had sidetracked us away from our desire to make a truly sport-focused surfing game, but now we’ve come full circle.
“We’ve built BL Pro Surfing primarily for surfing gamers, along with anyone interested in our sport and lifestyle. It’s also a game that is accessible for (non-gaming) surfers and we hope that they can see the love and passion we’ve put into this project for them. So while this sports game is pickup and play, it is difficult to master”
And included the “eye-popping” trailer that “get’s your hype meter moving.”
As Derek Rielly would say, “essential.”