AI Don't Surf

AI Don't Surf

As in "Artificial Intelligence", not the late great Andy Irons!

We tested DALL·E 2 (an AI-powered image generator) this week to see how well it understands what surf wax and surfboard traction look like.  It didn't understand specific surf gear requests like this, as you can see with this result for "surf traction":

surf traction fail from AI


Looks more like a disfigured single fin (on the deck!) in a traction-padded room.  Might be a little painful to sit down or paddle out.  Haha!

After several attempts to get a semi-realistic image of a surfer waxing a surfboard or a more accurate depiction of traction on the tail end of a board, we gave up and moved on to more general surf imagery. 

Prompts like a "riding a big wave against a vibrant sunset" and other similar requests, yielded a few beautifully unique surf images.  However requesting a "tube/barrel" or "air/aerial" can push it to return some fun results that defy the laws of gravity and hydrodynamics.

AI surf image
ai-powered surfer dropping in
surf green room
ai-powered surf art


DALL·E 2 generally defaults to a digital art style.  But you can request any art style. How about some kooks surfing in the style of line art?


Or stain glass of a surfer and their board.

stain glass surfer by DALL-E

Or how about a surf image drawn from markers...

marker-style surfer made by AI

But when we turned to pop art, we got a half-blind man that looks like a combination of Clay Marzo, Mason Ho and Griffin Colapinto.  Yeah?  Might be our favorite.

Griffin Colapinto, Mason Ho, Clay Marzo AI pop art

With all this "surf art", we went straight to ChatGPT to write an AI-powered article for us.  If robots are going to make images for us, they might as well talk about how they fared in their attempt. Here's the prompt we gave it, and the eerily believable response:

"Write an article in a relaxed tone that explains using DALL-E to create surf images, attempting to generate images of surf traction and waxing a surfboard but not satisfied with the results."

=== ChatGPT's response ===

Hey there, fellow surf enthusiasts! Are you tired of the same old surf images and looking for ways to spice things up? Well, look no further because today we're going to talk about using an amazing AI tool - DALL-E - to create some awesome surf images.

Now, I must admit, I was pretty skeptical at first. I mean, how could an AI generate images of something as dynamic and fluid as surfing? But I decided to give it a shot and see what kind of magic DALL-E could conjure up.

I started off by giving DALL-E a simple prompt - "surf traction". I was hoping for an image of a surfer carving up a wave with some sick traction, but the results were... well, let's just say they were less than satisfactory. DALL-E generated an image of a tire with some weird surf-themed designs on it. Not exactly what I was going for.

Undeterred, I decided to try again, this time with the prompt "waxing a surfboard". I was hoping for an image of a surfer carefully waxing their board, getting it ready for a session. But once again, the results were not quite what I was hoping for. DALL-E generated an image of a person holding a giant candle, with a surfboard in the background. Not exactly what I had in mind.

But here's the thing - even though the results weren't exactly what I was hoping for, they were still pretty cool. The images that DALL-E generated were unique and interesting, and they got me thinking about surfing in a different way. Maybe the AI's interpretation of surf traction and waxing a surfboard was different from mine, but that's okay. It's all part of the creative process.

And that's the beauty of using AI tools like DALL-E. They can help spark your creativity and get you thinking about things in a different way. Sure, the results might not always be exactly what you were hoping for, but that's okay. Embrace the unexpected and see where it takes you.

So, if you're looking for a way to create some unique and interesting surf images, give DALL-E a try. Who knows, you might just be pleasantly surprised by what it comes up with. And even if the results aren't exactly what you were hoping for, they might just inspire you to create something even better. Happy surfing!

=== End ChatGPT ===

We have nothing more to say!  The bot covered it all.