Si Boards’ Elysia Tsai – The Beauty of Balance

Meet your ultimate big-wave surf balance board trainer.

Elysia Tsai, arguably the world’s best balance trainer, is the inventor of Si Boards balance boards, and President of Si Boards Inc. (

Si Boards balance boards are, by far, the best balance boards for surf balance training.

It’s no wonder. Elysia Tsai is a natural beauty who truly understands the beauty of balance.

Trust me: you want Elysia Tsai in your life. You want the beauty of balance.

Let me tell you a little story.

The short version is that I was minding my own business and this … chick … took over my life with a great product.

But the long version is interesting, and perhaps a bit more balanced. You’ll like it.

I am a surfer. I have surfed for my whole life. After all, I am Maxwell C. Photon — Mr. Wave Equation himself — so, of course I surf!

How would I rate my surfing? Expert amateur. I started surfing in Hawaii, and progressed with 37 years at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. Ocean Beach has a tough paddle, tough waves, tough conditions, and a tough crowd. And to paddle out there at 10′-12′ (3m-4m) when there are few or no takers is a big deal. I can remember many times over the years when I would be the only one out that I could see, and getting spit out of huge barrels, wave after wave. Mind-blowing. I can also remember a few times when I thought for certain I was going  to die. When things unravel, it gets scary and lonely very quickly. Big Ocean Beach is heavy. Ask any survivor.

The riptides of life have subsequently deposited me in the Pacific Northwest, where I now face different conditions: perfect, empty, friendly surf as far as the eye can see. I walk to the waves. A crowd equals a dot in the distance. Oh, it’s a bird.

It’s a bit like having 46 years of combat experience and stumbling into a Zen garden.

Now surfing just unfolds without my trying. Now I unsurf.

Oddly, when I look back, surfing — a most nature-dependent, highly-variable activity — has been the only fixed point in my life. Everything else appears to have spun over me as I’ve tried to stand tall in that grinding wave that is the human condition. Surfing has been my point of balance.

I even have a slogan: Max surfs pretty. Why not? Life’s short. Plus, no one else uses adverbs.

Max surfs pretty.

That playfully shallow, grammatically incorrect declaration is deep.

My favorite aspect of surfing has always been that it is so incredibly beautiful. Moving waves are mesmerizing. Dancing light and color endlessly tantalize. Who can look away? The beauty of the ever-changing balance of it all never lets go.

The patterns of our lives emerge from colliding forces or processes. Patterns emerge from opposing spirals in asymmetric balance. Just look at a sunflower.

Balance speaks the truth.

Truth is beauty.

Balance is beautiful.

Intentional dynamic balance — the art of dynamic stabilization — is more beautiful still.

Have you ever watched a really beautiful surfer? Wow, there is nothing like it! Moving waves are mesmerizing, and a surfer who complements a wave without even trying is a heavenly vision. The beauty of balance becomes overwhelming. A beautiful surfer in perfect balance is awe-inspiring. It is no accident that surfing was to the Hawaiians the Sport of Kings. Kings were gods. Kings were awesome surfers.

The artifacts of Hawaiian kings tell us that the kings understood the art of balance — the art of dynamic stabilization. They saw the truth — the beauty — of balance. And they understood the value of surf balance training.  Would you want a king who didn’t understand the art and practice of dynamic stabilization — of control theory? What would you prefer: a kook out of control?

Intentional dynamic balance — dynamic stabilization — control theory — surfing! — is a fundamental part of all processes in our lives. Surfers and kings are simply those smart enough to recognize that fact. The beauty of balance is that it is everywhere for the taking; you just have to do … almost nothing. Stop trying so hard. You have to unsurf. You have to surf pretty. Like Max.

Balance becomes an art when it becomes effortless.  And that’s where Elysia Tsai and Si Boards balance boards come in.

Here in the Pacific Northwest epic surf can give way to long stormy stretches during which, if you are not careful, you can turn into a scrawny sniveling wimp in the blink of an eye. What good is the best swell of the decade if you emerge like one of those sprouted beans left in the closet for a week as part of some forgotten third grade science experiment?

Surfers need surf balance training on a balance board. We just do.

The question is which balance board makes the best surf balance trainer.

I am a physicist, and I did my typical Type-A homework on balance boards. I was very disappointed despite much hunting because they all seemed so limited compared to the actual balance demands of surfing. Most were on cylindrical rollers of some type, which is highly restrictive. Others were on some sort of half-ball, making them, in effect, stationary wobble boards.

I almost passed on the entire lot due to the severely constrained and unrealistic motions these balance boards offered to the serious surfer.

It was only after basically giving up that I stumbled across Elysia Tsai and her incredible Si Board balance board product line. (Elysia, where have you been all my life?) I won’t go into detail here, but Si Boards are highly refined boards that ride on the most perfectly-suited urethane balls. Elysia has created the ultimate surf-realistic and challenging balance boards. In fact, despite my focus on surfing, Si Boards are perfect for all action sports. Balance is everything!

Anyway, I hesitantly ordered some of her products and have been impressed beyond measure. Elysia Tsai’s Si Boards have transformed my surfing, and with it, me. Surfing made me a better person. Si Boards made me a better surfer.

It is my intention to share with you in future posts what I have learned about Si Boards, and also about Elysia Tsai, who is a most fascinating young woman and a superb role model for all of us. I have had the pleasure of numerous email and phone conversations with Elysia about her products, about how they relate to surfing, and about how best for her to get the message out to all surfers that Si Boards are the best balance boards for surf balance training, period.

Trust me: whether you surf or not, you want Elysia Tsai in your life. You want the beauty of balance.

Surfing made me a better person. Si Boards made me a better surfer.

~ Max Photon


The Beauty of Balance - Si Board's Elysia Tsai on a Commando board and 10 inch (25.4 cm) / 20 lb (9.1 kg) Si urethane ball. This combination is the ultimate big-wave surf balance board trainer.
The Beauty of Balance – Si Board’s Elysia Tsai on a Commando board and 10 inch (25.4 cm) / 20.5 lb (9.3 kg) Si urethane ball. This combination is the ultimate big-wave surf balance board trainer.