by Helen Yu

NVIDIA recently helped Helen put a Nalu graphic on her surfboard. We invited her to write about what inspired this project.

Being a New Yorker, an avid surfer and working in the financial industry, I may not exhibit the typical traits of an NVIDIA fan, but I’m a fan nonetheless. In fact, I decided to combine my love for surfing with my enthusiasm for NVIDIA products by commissioning a custom surfboard emblazoned with an image of NVIDIA’s “Nalu” character.

NVIDIA’s mythical mermaid character Nalu first turned me onto the company. I discovered her many years ago through a friend, who was an NVIDIA employee at the time. Nalu was the main character in a GeForce 6800 GPU technology demo.

Helen’s new surfboard features a
life-size Nalu!

It was love at first sight of Nalu’s mesmerizing green eyes. I imagined her hair flowing gracefully through the water as she writhed her iridescent fins, glowing under the glint of sunlight in the deep, clear water. She has been my desktop wallpaper since.

A few weeks ago, I ordered a custom “Wave Magnet” fiberglass surfboard from Phil Rose, a Los Angeles-based board shaper and surfer. I realized, after sifting through the standard surfboard graphics options (flowers, hula girls, waves or trees), that Nalu would be a fitting graphic for my board. The glittering, finned goddess’s name means “wave” in Hawaiian, after all.

I called NVIDIA’s general corporate line to seek permission to use the Nalu image. To my surprise, one of its top execs, Dan Vivoli, called me back right away. He referred me to NVIDIA graphic artist Adelina Nohrnberg (also a fellow surfer), who was able to help me with designs.

A seven-foot image of Nalu was modified to fit my board. We printed the image onto rice paper and laminated the rice paper onto my board. The end result is the board you see here.

Phil and I have surfed together before, and he created a custom board designed to help me maintain proper form and take my sport to the next level. The 6’11” board has thicker rails to help me paddle faster and has a thruster fin setup. The increased nose rocker wards off pearling and the concave bottom gives me more speed.

Surfing helps me part the tumultuous seas of a typical workweek. Thanks to NVIDIA’s help, I can now ride into those peaceful waves with Nalu.