Thursday, February 26, 2015

Holiday in paradise

Every year/winter since 2010, I have been 1-2 times a year in Thailand for holiday, what is mostly wakeboarding.
I'm traveling a lot, because of my work. I’m spending lot of time on route... airports, hotels etc..., but when I have a holiday or my own time, I want to go somewhere, but not hanging around everywhere and use holiday just for traveling or being on route. For me it's quite okay to stay even only in one place and just relax with wakeboarding and friends. Just peaceful breakfasts, chilling and riding with good company. Enjoying the moment!

Following picture looks really like taken in paradise! I mean how normal/usual people think, how paradise should look like.)))
Regina and her daughter in paradise TWP Thailand (photo by me)
In the picture are my good friend Regina and her daughter in Thai Wake Park (Bangkok). It could be really from some holiday catalog. Travel agencies are tempting people by these kind of pictures.  I know this picture looks more beautiful and more paradise than what it is in reality in TWP, but this kind of view is possible to find there, this picture proofs it.
For me Thai Wake Park is like a paradise even that it's just 50 km to north from Bangkok, no ocean and it's just middle of rice fields.
I have a few paradises, where I’m visiting regularly, here I would like to mention Hip-Notics in Turkey and Thai Wake Park in Thailand.

What does affect the most to my decisions; where to spend next holiday or free time?
I have started skateboarding in the mid 80s, turning to snowboarding early 90s and wakeboarding from 2010. Different boarding genres are for me a lifestyle, these are lifestyle sports, but I don't want to use just word; sport.
Also you can understand, if I was skateboarding in the mid 80s....  =writer is quite old fart!))
...but these things affect to my decisions!

Me in paradise Hip-Notics Turkey (photo by Artem Ermakov)
I have met similar people around the world, people who has some passion to something what they are doing.
If you have really big passion for something e.g. some of these different boarding genres, you can be or become really good on it.
If you're still young or started it when you were young and you're also talented, you have all possibilities to become professional or even one of the bests in the world, ...but to become one of the bests or professionals is not target for all of us... and it shouldn't be!!!

I have noticed that there are 3 groups of people inside boarding genre... or something between these groups.)))


  • The first are professionals who are so good and they have so strong passion that boarding became a job. Opposite to the other groups, when they have a holiday, they have a rest from boarding.)))
  • The second are lifestyle boarders who are spending their all free time and money to boarding. They are riding in their own level and having mostly fun. Some of them are focusing to become professionals someday.))
  • The third group are people who are riding sometimes weekends and when it's good weather. For them it's good  hobby. This is important and biggest group, because this group is actually indirectly paying wages of professionals. The biggest volume and affect in terms of money is coming to the genre from this group.

Me in paradise TWP Thailand (photo by Anna Moskal)
Of course there are always people between these groups. I don’t like categories, but here I tried to find something and analyze a bit.

This was also process to me understand myself some answers to questions what some people are asking from me; what are your targets, why are you doing it, don’t you have anything else to do, are you little bit a boring guy?))))

Target is to have a fun, yes I don't want to do anything else and yes I'm boring guy for you!)))
Me in paradise: Hotlake in Italy (photo by Anna Tyurnina)
Don’t take this text too seriously, I just wrote up some thoughts what I’ve seen and heard, hoping that normal people could understand a bit better and avoid some misunderstandings, what passion to these things can bring e.g. to relationships when focus differs.
Comments and opinions are welcome please leave something!)))
Me in paradise TWP Thailand (photo by Wojtek Kalka)


Monday, November 10, 2014

Wakeboarding in swimming pool

Nowadays I'm so rarely home  (meaning my main home))) in St. Petersburg Russia.
Now I had a chance to spend half week there. Plan was to go snowboarding, but weather turned too warm and slopes were closed.
So I went to ride by wakeboard in swimming pool, what is our special possibility in Russia.
Now I've been riding there only time to time, earlier years quite often.
When swimming pool closes its doors for normal customers, wakeboarders and e.g. divers take over the place.
I got some questions about this swimming pool riding and thought to write about it a bit.

Me and Backroll to blind training...
Pool must be 50 meters long and wakeboarding needs width of 4 swimming lanes. Wave stoppers of swimming lanes can be collected to the both sides of riding area -> killing waves as name suggests.
In our case divers have other side of the pool and actually they don't disturb even if they come to our side, if they are just diving)). I've been riding also in swimming pool, where other side was reserved for canoe polo, sometimes some canoes or their ball came to our side, but everything worked in good harmony.
Often 2 pylons cables are home made in Russia and it's same with this swimming pool.
In this pool we have latest and simplest version of cable. We don't need pylons, cable is just connected straight to the walls. The other end we have engine box and on the other end tightening pulley. Cable is so high that it doesn't disturb normal usage of swimming pool, so it's there all the time.
Here are a couple of pictures:
Engine box and wall mounting frame above of diving tower
The other end wall mounting frame and tightening pulley (yellow pulley). Riders below waiting their next ride.
How riding works?
We are not making turns in the end of the pool. It's just one ride to the other end and you give handle to the next rider. Then you just wait your next ride.
It's ideal, if there are 5 riders same time, but now it's so popular that there are normally 7 riders, which little bit limit your real riding time. Anyway it's really fun, everybody are their own level, training their own tricks and atmosphere is really supportive among riders.
Normal set is 45 minutes and during week we have 2 x 45 minutes every evening and weekends even 3 x 45 minutes. All sets are fully booked already during summer. Of course during week it's quite late when the first session starts 22:15 and seconds ends 23:45. Especially kids who go to school are probably tired.)) Of course all depends on what are opening hours of swimming pool, they work until 22:00 in Russia, but e.g. in Finland I know opening hours are normally only until 20:00.
Swimming pool is create place to train first air tricks and technique for them. E.g. I have learnt all my air tricks there. Mostly we are making only air tricks, but I think a few times a week there is also kicker (spine type so you can jump from both directions). Kicker is connected by underwater ropes to swimming pool corners (e.g. to stairs). Why there couldn't be also some other obstacles (sliders etc.), but those need space to store during swimming pool normal opening hours and install them to the water takes also some time.
Last winter we had at least 3 different swimming pools with cables, one of them had even 2 cables. All 4 cables were fully booked!
Me and S bend to blind...
I believe it's possible to make all possible tricks in swimming pool. Of course space limits a bit size of the tricks.
Operator must be really professional for safety reasons. Riding is really safe, during years some small injuries have happened, but just these kinds of normal strains etc., what are happening also in normal conditions on the outdoor lakes.

So no other than cables for swimming pools in all countries where the winter limits our hobby!)))




Saturday, November 8, 2014

Istanbul weekend

I spent that weekend in Istanbul already 18-19.10 ...just before my week in Hip-Notics.
I've been so many times in Istanbul, but mostly only in the airport or just one short night in a hotel near of it. I had a chance to spend there one full day and 2 nights.
Hotel was 2 km from airport and some departing planes were just flying over the hotel. Nice view yes!
I spent these nights in the same hotel as usual near of airport. Radisson Blu 5 stars hotel is okay, but not as good as my expectations from this hotel chain and costs. (...not more about this hotel, what I don't recommend.)
What to do during one day?
Sleep long, have a good breakfast and go out to check e.g. strait of Bosporus, using public transports and finalize day with shopping in some outlet malls.
Public transports are almost only way to move fluently in Istanbul. Traffic jams are chaotic.
They have a metro buses with their own lanes in the middle of the highways and are not disturbed for other traffic. Local trains are also good option. Don't even think about taxi for long movements!

We took first metro bus and then continued by local train to Kabatas, what is the last station of one local train line. Kabatas is quite near of Taksim Square and is one place, where to find ferries for cruises to upstream of Bosporus.
Ferry made about 5 stops in different places also in Asian side.
Here are some pictures from this cruise:

Bosporus Bridge
Rumelian Castle
Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge from European side. Narrowest point of Bosporus.
Me and Bosporus
On a ferry deck playing with mirrors and camera
Inside of ferry
After cruising along Bosporus we made some traveling by public transports, having dinner and shopping. From outlet malls you can find by quite reasonable price some good stuff, no fakes as my other experiences in Turkey.

Some findings
After this weekend I continued to Antalya and Hip-Notics of course... There was great as always and I got some great shots, which I will publish later.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Hydro Park Sofia Bulgaria

I visited last time in Hydro Park cable Sofia 2013 summer. Pity I didn't find time earlier this summer to go there again.
They had changed a set of obstacles, some new kickers etc... and I really liked!!
Cable is really old built up 1985!! It's old fashion with manual loading and unloading ropes, 4 pylons and long distances between pylons. Cable is built up time when water skiing was the main thing.
So it doesn't sound so good, but they have made quite nice set of obstacles from starting dock to the first corner and it works perfectly!!
Then first and second pylon are really low, but 3rd pylon and motor tower are okay to make all air tricks, it more depends on your own skills. If you start air tricks before 3rd pylon, there is lot of space to make 4 air tricks (inside and outside) and still easy to get first kickers.

I think this kind of cable, what is almost 30 years old and still running perfectly is the best advertisement to cable manufacturer Rixen!
I think Rixen should organize their next surprise cable tour to the world oldest cables, which are still running! This kind of would be amazing for these cables and could put them to invest something in future. Of course local new generation of wakeboarders would see something special and kick their asses to continue this great life style sport.
The first left kicker is out from picture, but there are altogether 3 kickers, small wall ride, funbox and dragon slider. Quite nice set before first corner.



















Hydro Park has some specialties e.g. two times 1 hour breaks during day!!
In Weekend breaks are 14:00-15:00 and 17:00-18:00.





Prices for riding are nice: 2 hours = 12€ and the whole day ticket about 24€. I visited in September and there wasn't any kind of queue! Maybe during summer weekends there are more people. I met local riders and they are so nice and friendly.
They have good restaurant with cheap prices and even some bungalows just beside of the lake about 20€/night. Bungalows are not probably deluxe... but near. It's possible to find really good accommodation from center of Sofia by 30-50€/night (e.g. Arte-hotel was just great).

Hydro-Park is quite near of airport, but not well known place, so maybe these maps help to find it.
Taxi driver told, he hasn't been long time in this area of the city and normal customers from airport are not going to there.)) I'm not normal, but there is not clear address of this place.
Lake is middle of Kazichane village just beside of Sofia ring road and railway. Kazichane is some kind of gypsy area and this was the magic word for taxi driver to find the place. Taxi costs from airport about 7€.



Thanks for company of my workmates Ilkka Marin and Juha Niemi. Juha shot quite okay after 1 minute quick course in photographing!))

Some information maybe possible to find from their Facebook group page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/27175472556/



Monday, September 29, 2014

Belgrade Aquaski Ada Cable park

I'm visiting very often in Serbia, but now first time I was also wakeboarding there. I knew they have cable park in Belgrade and now I also visited there.
Cable is quite near of airport and it's easy to get there by car. I didn't check any other possibilities, but I think it's possible to reach cable park also by bus from center of the city... but car rental is not very expensive in Serbia.
Aquaski Ada Ciganlija cable park is situated to lake Ada, what is long and thin lake... more like a river. Place is nice with many beach restaurants, cafes and clubs along the beach boulevard. I was visiting there end of the summer and it wasn't so hot anymore, but mostly weather is hot during summer.
Only kicker which was in order! Opposite side of the lake is nudist beach, unfortunately it was too cold and it was empty.))
Cable is built 2002 and mechanically little bit old fashion, loading and unloading ropes happen manually, there are 5 pylons, which are not the highest in the market. Anyway cable works normally and there is lot of space to make air tricks. Yes! Lot of space to make air tricks, because there is minimum amount obstacles.
Normally there are right and left kickers (without radius) and 2 sliders. When I was there, right kicker and one slider were out of order. So there were left kicker and then about 5 meters long flat-bar!! )))
Anyway it was really fun to ride. This park could be perfect, if they would invest to some obstacles.
Anyway there was this one slider!

Nudist beach just background! Well totally empty))). So not necessary to fall down and walk back to starting dock via that beach!
Walking back to the starting dock is easy by concrete path.
Local riders are riding by hard boards and mostly with fins and of course some guys are quite good in air tricks. Their pro-rider (really nice young man) Filip Velickovic was doing easily KGB's, bs313, back mobes, front to blind etc... They just told, when they go to the other parks, big obstacles are strange for them.))

When I arrived, I thought these are boards which are in the queue!))
I visited there in the beginning of September and there were not many riders. So no queue!!
When I arrived, I was scared for boards, which were near of starting dock, in many places this is the queue!! In Aquaski they are just storing customer's boards like that.))

Facilities are in order around the park. Free parking places, small locker rooms, toilets, showers etc... Food in the restaurant is amazing good like everywhere in Serbia! Same with people, very friendly and hospitable!!
View from upper terrace is nice! In the picture you can see also the right kicker, which was pulled away and facing to wrong direction.
Weekend prices:
1€ = 118 Dinars (29.9.2014)
How to find there?



More information you can find also from their web page:  http://www.aquaski.rs


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tesla Test Drive

Do you know what is Tesla?
I knew, this kind of car exists, but I hadn't seen, touch, hear or smell it…
…actually you can’t hear motor or smell exhaust, this car presents only whisper of the wind or smell of leather interior... some cases smell of burning tires.))
Tesla Model S
I have not lot of experience of different cars, but must to say this test drive was really great experience!
The price of Tesla is more than 100 000€ in Finland, so there must be some features and performance, but this car made a hit!
Firstly car looks good, just right way restrained, it doesn't look too much a sport-car.

There is space for 5 persons and lot of space under rear door and bonnet.
There is no engine in front and no fuel tank rear limiting space.
How to start?
Stylish remote control

Tesla has key-less system, so you just open locks by remote control and door handles pop up, by remote control you can also open sunroof and many other things.

When you sit in the car and remote control is in your pocket you just push brake pedal and car is on, it's amazing because you don't hear starting motor or anything, it's just simple on.
Then you choose "gear" by selector (American way) from right side of steering wheel.
Just R, N and D
Then you just push the pedal (I wouldn't call it gas pedal))) and car start to move without any delays, it follows exactly your pedal with full power without any voice from motor. This is the biggest difference compared to normal cars!
Performance of car is amazing! It accelerates 0-100km/h (0-60mph) little bit over 4 seconds and torsion is unbelievable! Traction control avoid tire burning during acceleration, it was wet asphalt when I was testing the car and I felt tires were slipping a bit during strong acceleration (before traction control avoid it). Just great way!!!
Driving itself is really comfortable and like by normal automatic transmission car; without motor voice, gear changing and delays in accelerations.
There is really big touch screen display in the middle panel, where you can control and follow everything. 

Display can be shared to different parts (graphics of your driving, maps, info of batteries etc...)
...for example cameras are excellent.
The most powerful model of Tesla Model S has 416hp (310kW), torque 600Nm and top speed 210km/h. By fully charged batteries range is about 500km, then just plugged over night and enjoying continues next day.))
Usage of car is cheap! Of course there is not fuel consumption, but also services are cheaper, there are not e.g. oil and filter changes!))) Tesla guarantee batteries with unlimited kilometers for 8 years.
In Finland government supports leased Tesla by 500€/month until 2017!!!!

Okay Tesla is a great car, but price at least in Finland is unavailable for most of us!((
So if you want to protect nature environment and reduce your carbon footprint you don't have to buy Tesla just use public transports!

Thanks for chance of test drive: Mertsi Friberg and Kiinteistömaailma Tampere and Hervanta!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Extreme festival in Saint Petersburg

Extreme festival conquered the Palace Square of SPb on Saturday 28th of June.
There were featured some extreme and street culture genres.
I focused to skateboarding, freestyle motocross, graffiti artists and break-dancers.
Maybe it was good for sponsors of happening, there were lot of people, ...but too many people (my point of view) to view well everything.....
It was quite hot and sunny day, what is nowadays very strange in SPb.)))
Skateboarding:
There were built quite a nice park for skateboarders including fun-boxes, ramps, launch-box, pyramid etc...
Some pics:
Nice stale-fish from launch ramp!
Huge backside 3 with melon grab




In Russia security and control are everywhere!)))
Can you find "skateboard happening masked" secret agents from picture? ))))
OMOH troops were presented as well.
Freestyle motocross:
They made normal back-flips etc... but this was amazing!!
Graffiti artists:
Palace Square background probably inspired artists
Break dancers:
Dancers and music were so good that I couldn't focus on photo shooting. They were amazing!!!