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The origin of surfing

Recently, the original creator of the ‘surfing’ craze reached out and decided to tell his story. This came from a post on reddit from r/askreddit, with the question ‘What’s your greatest accomplishment that you can’t bring up in normal conversation?’ gaining a lot of traction and sparking the comment from Mariowned, who explained his creation of the early surfing maps in Counter-Strike: Source. Unexpectedly to him, hundreds of people thanked him for his creation, telling him how they still aim to perfect their surfing abilities to this day, using it as a distraction from their stressful lives, or just having fun with their newfound skill. Mario hadn’t realised that people still play on surfing maps, assuming the trend had died out when he stopped playing on Counter-Strike titles.

For the uninitiated, surfing is a game mode found in most multiplayer source games that use maps that feature large, triangle or slanted shapes that allow players to glide across them. Because of the momentum system in the Source engine, players can build up speed to jump gaps, navigate around obstacles and land on distant platforms. When finessed, it’s almost beautiful to watch players glide around the maps, perfectly timing their jumps to get around the map in interesting ways.

Lakitoo – YouTube

When Mariowned was younger, he was making small maps on SDK Hammer (Source’s map creator), for him and his friends to play. They had little to no purpose over than simple hangout spots for them to chill and mess about in. One day, Mario found himself falling off one of the roof tops on a building within the level and realised that he was able to fling himself onto a ladder on the other side of the map without dying. He kept recreating this phenomenon, later making it into it’s own map – ‘Surf the gap’, where players would leap off onto a triangular surface (the exact same entity as the roof in the previous map) and attempt to land on a distant platform. Players would be equipped with scouts and would attempt to shoot each other off the surfing platform while playing, making it even more frantic.

‘Surf the gap’, Lakitoo – YouTube

Although very simple in design (with only one ramp), Mario saw greater things for his creation. He began working on even bigger surfing maps, were players could eventually learn to hop onto other surfing platforms. His first map that resembles a modern day surfing map, surf_egypt, was finally finished. He has his friend would leave the online server running overnight and players would be endlessly confused over what to do without falling to their skybox death. Of course, surfing got incredibly popular. It has been transferred to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Team Fortress 2, seeing thousands of players having their go at traversing the platforms in an endless attempt to beat their previous time. Surfing is a household name in the CSGO community now, like bunny hopping. Mario is pleased to see the direction that the community has taken his creation in, and has even began making some more up-to-date maps for CSGO.