Monthly Archives: January 2014


The 2014 iSurf Quiver

Here it is folks.  The first look at the full iSurf Wakesurf and SUP lineup for 2014.  I’m going to be offering some special pre-sale discounts to my friends in the next few days before I begin distributing order forms to dealers, so keep an eye on my facebook page and shoot me a message if you’re interested.  Quantities are very limited during our first year, so don’t wait to get ahold of me if you want one of these boards.

If you don’t see exactly what you want below, remember we still make custom boards to your exact liking at iDol Surfboards.  Cheers!

Wake Surfboards

 iSurf F-Grom Wake Surfboard

 

wakesurf board for kids

  • 4’0″x19″x1 3/8″
  • EPS/Epoxy construction, full/hard rails, block tail, Single-to-double concave bottom
  • 3 honeycomb/carbon fins & traction included
  • Art Design by Frankie Jost

MSRP: $449

This board is made for Groms by Groms. Speed-inducing outline and single-to-double concave make this board fast down-the-line. A forgiving thruster fin setup and hard rails help the board hold in the pocket. This is the perfect surf-style board for little shredders up to 105 pounds.

 

 

iSurf Tollie Twist Wake Surfboard

iSurf Tollie Twist Wake Surfboard

iSurf Tollie Twist Wake Surfboard

  • 4’6″x20 3/8″x1.75″
  • EPS/Epoxy/Carbon/Bamboo construction – Ultra durable & light
  • Mellow rocker, thin/hard rails, deep single-to-double concave, & squash-thumb tail
  • 3-fin plus twinzer. 5 honeycomb/carbon fins & traction included

MSRP: $649

The Tollie Pro-model wake surfboard. A combination of Tollie’s favorite features with a special “twist” make this an extremely advanced wake surfboard that is very forgiving when performing difficult maneuvers. Fast, stable, drives, and releases – this is THE board for surf-style wake surfing looking to progress their riding. Designed for beginner-intermediate riders up to 165 pounds and advanced riders with quality wakes up to 190 pounds.

 

 

iSurf Tonka Kahuna Wake Surfboard

iSurf Tonka Kahuna Wake Surfboard

iSurf Tonka Kahuna Wake Surfboard

 

  • 4’8″x21″x2 1/8″
  • EPS/Epoxy/Carbon/Bamboo construction – Ultra durable & light
  • Flattened rocker, full/hard rails, block tail, deep single-double concave
  • 3 honeycomb/carbon fins & traction included

MSRP: $599

This board has a similar outline as the iDol Surfboards “Standard Wakesurf” shape, but has been re-engineered for larger surfers. Super fast rocker, concave, & outline make this board very user friendly, and block tail will let even large surfers release off the lip for big airs. This board is ideal for beginner-intermediate surfers up to 220 pounds, or intermediate-advanced surfers up to 250 pounds.

 

 

Stand-Up-Paddleboards

iSurf 911 Fresh Surfer SUP

911 iSurf Fresh Surfer

911 iSurf Fresh Surfer

 

  • 9’11″x31.5″x4.5″
  • 23 pounds with fins
  • Surfy outline & rocker, round rails, dome deck, fish tail, double concave bottom
  • EPS/Epoxy, carbonfiber rails, hardwood stringer, bamboo deck & bottom
  • 5 fins traction, carry handle, vent, & leash plug included
  • Ultralight & durable carbon/bamboo construction

MSRP $1,179

Designed specifically for freshwater SUP surfing – wakesurfing and surfing the great lakes. Still a great flat water paddle board for smaller riders. 5-fin option: use 3 fins paddling and 4 for surfing. Good for beginners up to 165 pounds & intermediate/advanced riders to 210 pounds.

 

 

iSurf 10-6 Aloha Cruiser SUP

10-6 Aloha Cruiser SUP

10-6 Aloha Cruiser SUP

 

  • 10’6″x21.5″x4.5″ 25 pounds with fins
  • Full rails, flat deck, squash tail, double concave bottom
  • EPS/Epoxy, with hardwood stringer and bamboo deck
  • 3 fins, traction, carry handle, vent, & leash plug included
  • Available in full carbon/bamboo or bamboo deck with white, red, green, blue, yellow or pink rails & bottom

MSRP $1,049 painted / $1,199 carbonfiber/bamboo

Great introductory SUP. Designed to be stable and fast upwind/downwind or in flat water. Primarily for flat water paddling, but can be surfed. Bungee storage on deck of painted model. Good board for beginners up to 200 pounds.

 

 

iSurf 11-1 Yogi Fisher SUP

11-1 Yogi Fisher SUP

11-1 Yogi Fisher SUP

 

  • 11’1″x32.25″x4.75″
  • 27 pounds with fins
  • Boxy rails, ultra flat deck, squash tail, double concave bottom
  • EPS/Epoxy, with hardwood stringer, bamboo deck & painted rails/bottom
  • Bungee storage, 3 fins, traction, carry handle, vent, & leash plug included
  • Bamboo deck with white, red, green, blue, yellow or pink rails & bottom

MSRP $1,079

This is one of the most stable & user-friend SUP boards in the world. Designed for SUP yoga or SUP fishing or over-sized surfers. Features wide flat deck for stability, and extra long traction for Yoga. The perfect board for static SUP sports or beginner paddlers up to 300 pounds.

 


Shanghai Lights (Shang Highlights)

Overview

(Note: all images can be expanded by clicking on them)

Like a retro Eiffel Tower

Like a retro Eiffel Tower

Shanghai is known as “the Paris of the east.” This is a wild understatement. Shanghai has more people, more diversity, more culture, more lights, and more fun just to name a few things. The only thing it may not have more of is cheese, Champaign, and Eifel Towers (but it does have a pretty cool TV tower).

The city is easy to navigate by subway and walking (A GPS phone is great to help you find your way), and Taxis are cheap (But don’t expect your driver to speak a word of English or understand what you’re trying to say in Chinese).

In short, Shanghai is most westerner’s favorite city in china, and it is definitely a good place to spend a few days to decompress from the oddities the rest China offers to western foreigners.

My Experience

Sights

There are three main reasons I travel the world:

  1. Surf
  2. Meet new people and experience new cultures
  3. See and experience new landscapes

You’ll notice that visiting museums, galleries, archeological sites, and other man-made edifices are not on the list. There are plenty of things to see in Shanghai, but I don’t do a lot of sight seeing. Hence, this is short list. (This statement is slightly contradictory because I did go to Beijing specifically to see the forbidden city and great wall, but that is the next post).

SWFC

SWFC

The first thing I wanted to do in Shanghai was visit the Shanghai Financial Center and view the city from their 101st floor observation deck. So this was my first mission. According to my guidebook, on a clear day you can actually observe the curvature of the earth from up there. Unfortunately, the air pollution in Shanghai was so bad that I could only see a few miles in any direction from the observation deck. It was still a really cool experience to look down on the city form 474 meters up.

View from the SWFC observation deck

View from the SWFC observation deck

IMG_1294I spent a lot of time walking around shanghai’s old European grotto, “The Bund,” which has made a big comeback in the last decades as China has reopened to foreign investment.

I also checked out a few Malls in China (They are loaded with good restaurants). I am from Minnesota, where the Mall of America is, and I found the size and number of malls in Shanghai absolutely staggering!

Jing'an Temple

Jing’an Temple

On my last full day, I went to visit the Jing’an Buddhist Temple. It was only a couple miles away so I decided to walk. I got a bit lost, and it was closed when I arrived. However, I found a nice park across the way to snap some photos as the sun went down. On the way home, I could feel liquid pooling in my lungs like I was getting pneumonia – the air pollution is really that bad in China!

Maglev Train

Maglev Train

On my way out of town, I rode the Maglev (Magnetic Levitation) train to the airport. Instead of wheels, this train uses electromagnets to hover above its tracks. There is virtually no friction, and the train can go incredibly fast. My train zipped to the airport at 301 km/hr (187 mph). A friend told me they used to run it at 440 km/hr (273 mph), but they have toned it back, probably over safety concerns.

 

Accommodation

View out the back of the Rock & Wood hostel

View out the back of the Rock & Wood hostel

I stayed at the Rock & Wood International Hostel. This was the most modern, clean, and organized hostel I have ever stayed in (I’ve stayed in hostels in 15 countries across Europe, Central/South America, Africa, and Asia). It has everything a good hostel has – comfortable mattresses, bunks that don’t squeak, A/C & heat, wifi throughout, clean bathrooms, hot water, social space, bar, movie projector, outdoor lounge, helpful staff, and a couple of guitars to boot (I think all hostels should have at least one guitar).

People back home are always a little weary when I tell them that I prefer to stay in hostels when I travel. Most Americans’ entire perception of hostels comes from the horror movie Hostel, where American tourists are abducted and sold to murder-fetish houses in Eastern Europe. If you think this is what hostelling is like, you’re probably ignorant enough to stop reading here, and continue believing that story. I wouldn’t want you to stay in a hostel and pollute the incredibly positive, tolerant, international atmosphere with your ignorance.

In my 10 years’ experience hostelling, I have never been attacked or robbed of anything except a little sleep – Sometimes the beds move and squeak every time your bunkmate shifts, and I’ve encountered some incredible snorers along the line. These issues can usually be resolved by using earplugs and having one more drink before bed.

People

My bunkmate Mehdi

My bunkmate Mehdi

The first person I met upon my arrival to Shanghai was my Iranian bunkmate, Mehdi. As I approached our tiny 4-bed room, he was just walking through the door himself. I smiled and said, “Hello, how are you?” to find out if he also spoke English.

He replied with a handshake and a smile from ear-to-ear, “Hello! I am happy because you are smiling!”

We began with the usual “What is your name? Where are you from?” How long are you here?” questions, but we digressed quickly into deep philosophical dialogues concerning greater meanings in life. I quickly realized that we came from very different places and backgrounds, but somehow, for that week in Shanghai, we were operating in the same place physically and mentally. On one occasion, our differences in background and culture led to intense disagreement and some arguing, but it always returned to friendship, trust, and understanding.

Mehdi and I are of the same god – Our opinion what, exactly, that means may be very different, but we are both peaceful souls and students of the earth and this life. Through this perspective, we forged a great bond and walked a similar path for several days and nights. Needless to say, we learned a lot from eachother.

In the hostel I stayed in previously, I met an 88-year-old retired heart surgeon from Sweden. He had spent a great deal of his life volunteering with Doctors Without Borders, and had incredible experience to draw upon. I recall the first conversation I had with him:

The Chinese language barrier had me starved for good conversation in English. I was thrilled to hear some people speaking English in the common area in the hostel when I arrived. I walked into the room and said awkwardly, “Hi, I’m Alex!”

Rolf returned with, “Hey Alex, where do you come from?”

“USA,” I replied.

“USA? Get the hell out of here! We don’t want talk to you!” He it said in a tone that I wouldn’t realize was a joke if he didn’t smile and start laughing immediately after.

I told him to “Bugger off!” in an attempt to prove my international travel proficiency and asked him where he was from.

“Sweden,” he told me. Excellent – I had him right in my crosshairs.

“Hjavla Svenskor!” I shouted at him. “Fan med dig!” That translates to, “Damn Swedes… Fuck you!”

I was born in Sweden and spent my younger years speaking Swedish and English at home. This leaves me with the unlikely ability to call out Swedish jerks and hit on Swedish girls in their native tongue – A huge benefit on both ends while traveling internationally.

My conversation with Rolf moved quickly to hugs and admissions that we were both a bit on edge because we’ve been unable to speak and joke in our native languages for so long. He had spent a great deal of time in New Zealand, and missed “taking the piss” out of his friends. He welcomed the opportunity to joke back and forth with somebody who understood kiwi humor.

I went on quite the tangent there… The point I was trying to make was that he said something incredibly simple, but gloriously intelligent in our first conversation there. I sat in the hostel common space with two Chinese people, a fellow Swede, and a student from Bangladesh. Rolf expressed seriously and with great empathy,

“I can’t stand it that people in this world try to solve their differences by killing each other. The more different people are from you, the more potential there is to learn something from them, and if you kill them, you can’t learn anymore from them.” The Chinese people didn’t speak much English and didn’t quite understand, so Rolf clarified to them. “You and I are very different. That means we can learn a lot from each other, but if I kill you, I can no longer learn anything from you.”

While Rolf clarified, I looked across to my new Muslim/Bangladeshi friend. Our eyes met as we nodded in agreement to Rolf’s words. Our eyes spoke a silent understanding – Yes, we are from cultures that have been at odds for hundreds of years, but we are beyond that. We lead lives of peace and hope for a better world.

I’ve been around. I’ve met people from Kansas to Kazakhstan, but I have never met someone I wished violence upon. Nor do I think I have met someone who wished violence upon me. Rolf’s simple words of genius can only be backed up by the words of another old wise man: “Peace cannot be kept by force, but it can only be achieved by understanding” –Albert Einstein.

Wow… I really lost myself there. This is going to be a long post. Back to Shanghai:

Through the hostel and a few choice oases, I made some great friends. It’s probably easier to just list the ones that I want to remember. I like to make a list of people and occurrences after each city I visit, so I won’t ever forget my friends and experiences around the world.

• Nathan: A Hawaiian living and working in shanghai as a distributor for Santa Cruz surfboards, skateboards, and snowboards across Asian Markets. I met him at a Reggae show that Mehdi and I stumbled across my first night in Shanghai. His wife was the backup singer – it was a great show!

• Mike and Luke: Brothers from Ohio. One in China working for an international acquisitions firm from Brazil. The other in Shanghai teaching coaches basketball coaching strategy (NBA is huge in China, and china has more youth basket ball players than the rest of the world combined).

• Alex and Sebastian (Seabass): Danish dancing dudes. These guys were taking a break from studying Kung Fu elsewhere in China. Alex, Sebastian, Mehdi, and I went out dancing at several of the best clubs around Shanghai almost every night. We made a good team. Usually we would arrive back at the hostel between 6-8am the following morning.

20131224_220048 (1)

Eva & Anuli

• Eva and Anuli: East coast American girls teaching English in China. We met via dance-off while closing down a club at 5am with Mehdi, Alex & Seabass. They joined our crew afterwards at the convenience store for some snacks and dancing (Yes, in the supermarket). They joined Rina’s family and I for Christmas mass at a Chinese church, and we had a Christmas dinner and drinks together afterwards.

• Ivon: An Australian/Chinese guy who invited me over for his “Orphan Christmas Party” he hosted for people who were away from their families for the holidays. Unfortunately, I missed the party because I went to church & dinner with other friends, but I met up with him at Perry’s (everybody’s favorite college bar) afterwards for a beer and some games.

• Ana: Uruguaya muy linda sourcing textiles for a Uruguayan clothing company. I met her when Mehdi left me alone at a bar late on Christmas night. She has been working in Shanghai for 8 months, and was able to teach me a lot about sourcing in china. Ana was super easy going, showed me incredible hospitality, and there was something very familiar about her, which was welcome in this strange land on Christmas. She even let me do laundry at her apartment before I left, which is one of the nicest things you can offer a backpacker.

Rina!!!

Rina!!!

• Rina, Ralph, and James: Rina is my classmate from the University of Malta. She invited me to spend Christmas with her family. Her husband, Ralph, and son, James, were an absolute treat to spend time with. They invited me for dinner and church on Christmas Eve, and lunch on Christmas Day. I learned a great deal from them all. Surprisingly, one of my favorite lessons of the trip came from four-year-old James. When Ralph asked James if he and I were friends, James replied with, “No.”

“Why not James?” Ralph asked his son.

“Because Alex is Mommy’s friend.”

My feelings were a little hurt at first, but I realized his confusion and said to him, “You know, James, we can all be friends. You, me, mommy, and daddy!” It was in this moment I realized that the Keynesian economic principle of scarcity cannot be applied to love and friendship. Unfortunately, keynesians run the world, and I fear that, like James, they might be applying the “law” of scarcity to love and friendship. This might explain why there is so much suffering in the world.

 

Happy Merry Christmas

I wrote the following post on Christmas Day, but I never go around to proof reading or posting it.  Chinese people know the phrase Merry Christmas from marketing promotions.  However, many of them think the name of the holiday is “Merry Christmas.”  This led to a lot of people saying things like “Merry Christmas is tomorrow!”  or “Happy Merry Christmas!”  I thought it was hilarious.  Anyways, here is a belated Christmas post:

25 December 2013, 11:01pm – Shanghai, China

Today is Christmas, and I am in China. This is the first time in my life that I am away from my family for Christmas, and I am definitely missing our tradition. Instead of swedish meatballs, ham, and potatoes at my mother’s house, my christmas this year consisted of friendship, nightclubs, untraditional holiday food, and lack of sleep at my hostel in Shanghai.

I am fortunate to have an old classmate who lives in Shanghai with her family, and they were kind enough to invite me to join them for their Christmas celebrations. I am incredibly grateful to have so many friends around the world who are always happy to invite me into their homes, and Rina’s family has been exceptionally wonderful and welcoming. Last night, I had Christmas dinner with them, and we attended Christmas mass at St. Peter’s Church in Shanghai. I also had Christmas lunch with them today at their apartment in Shanghai.

After lunch today, I took a short siesta because I have spent the past two nights out dancing until the wee hours of the morning with my hostel bunk-mate, Mehdi, an Iranian man of mystery who I could write a whole book about, but in short: He is unlike anyone I have ever met, he dances more uniquely and frequently than anyone I have ever met, and he always says what he thinks and seems to be having continuous revelations that reveal deep lessons in regards to the meaning of life.

Anyways… after my nap, I decided to treat myself to pizza at Shanghai’s best pizza place, Pizza Marzano. I LOVE pizza, and there is not pizza place in the town where my surfboard factory is. While I was waiting for my food, I was reading through Christmas messages from my friends and family, and I was hit by a wave of Melancholy. “What am I doing here?” I thought to myself as I sat on a cold patio eating Pizza alone for Christmas dinner. I’m thousands of miles away from the people I love most on a holiday that, to me, is purely about the blessings of friends and family.

Luckily, technology allows us to communicate across the world. I was reminded by a wise friend via Whatsapp message that this is part of a dream I have dreamt for a long time – “You sleep in the bed you make.” This made me feel a little better, but I was still pretty bummed and decided to walk it off.

I strolled through “The Bund,” Shanghai’s most westernized district, with a grande soy hot chocolate from Starbucks in hand. I was surrounded by about 24 million people, yet I felt incredibly alone. I simply could not shake a feeling of misery.

About halfway through my walk, I finally got the reality kick-to-the-face that I needed. As I was about to ascend the stairs of a sidewalk overpass, I saw a man lying at the base of the stairs, face to the ground, shivering, begging, praying for change. I was emotionally frozen, but continued past not knowing how to respond. When I reached the other side of the overpass, there was another man in a similar position begging for change. Shortly thereafter, another homeless man with white hair down past his shoulders and no shoes on. “How dare I be cold in my thermal hoodie and Northface Jacket,” I thought to myself.  I continued on and found myself walking through a subway tunnel.  I noticed a man looking over my shoulder with a look of sympathy on his face like nothing I have ever seen before.  I looked to where his eyes gazed, and saw a mag that was either a severe burn victim or an Agent Orange child.  He was also begging for change, but with the most hollow eyes I have ever seen.

This is when it all came together for me. I am among the most fortunate people in the world in terms of friends, family, health, and opportunity. I am not with my family and friends this Christmas, but I am blessed with the choice and ability to pursue my dreams to the most distant shores. And I have done so under my own will. Instantly, my melancholy turned to gratitude and appreciation for the gifts I have been given.

My Christmas was really made when I arrived back to the hostel in time to Skype my family while they ate Christmas Breakfast. My sister has a lazy susan/turntable on her dining table, so they placed the iPad on it, and I was rotated around the table to have individual face-to-face conversations with my family as they waited for breakfast to be served. I got to pop into the kitchen and chat with my dad while he made eggs, and my niece, Rhian even showed off her Ice Princess dress for me.

I think the best part was watching my 15-month-old niece dance to my cover of Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. I didn’t know what to get for my mother this Christmas, so I recorded the most christmassy song I know and sent it to her. She plugged her iPhone into a stereo and played it for everyone.  Apparently my little niece loved it!  Here is a link to the song if you want to here it:

Merry Christmas everyone.  Thank you for your support and helping me achieve my dreams.  So much love!   -Alex


A Moment of Inspiration

I meant to spend my Saturday night catching up on emails and optimizing thebrostclinic.com, but then I got distracted by a lesson from a friend. “Huni” told me that the universe vibrates at 432 hertz, which is the tonal equivalent of a Bminor chord. I recalled hearing that our planet, Earth, vibrates in the tonal equivalent of a C chord, so I picked up my ukulele, which hasn’t been tuned in 2 weeks, and tried the two chords together.  They sounded nice together.  Then inspiration struck.  Within 30 minutes, I had composed an entire song, lyrics and all.  I don’t really know where it came from, but that is the cool thing about inspiration – Sometimes it just happens. I haven’t composed a song so fast since I was about 17 years old.  I like it, so I thought I’d share: