Alison Teal is not your typical breed of surfer girl. In fact, she has quite an unusual upbringing. “After I was born on the floor of a tiny log cabin high in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, my family got an assignment from Mountain Bike Magazine to go on a photojournalist adventure around the Big Island of Hawaii and test out some of the first Mountain Bikes. We came across an incredible piece of ocean front property and decided to build a home base there called ‘Hale Kai’ or ‘Ocean House.’ Over twenty years later, this true labor of love, our very own Robinson Crusoe style grass shack has become a renowned eco retreat center and my beloved home sweet grass shack.”
With a world-renowned outdoor photographer father, David Blehert, and a legendary Yogi mother, Deborah Koehn, Alison spent her childhood home-schooled on the road. The family lived in some of the most primitive, inaccessible and often dangerous mountains, jungles and unchartered wilderness areas that cover the face of planet Earth.
“When I was two months old, my parents took me skiing on Ausangate, the highest peak in Southern Peru, and since then my life has been a continuous whirlwind of high adventure. I have explored and lived in the most remote, strange, colorful and bizarre corners of this planet and gotten to know, like and become friends with all manner of indigenous people, and by doing so become part of an ever growing global family. The world was my school and my playground.”
Spending most of her time skiing the tallest peaks and attending school with Sherpa children, Alison didn’t get into surfing until her early teens. But the experience would change her life forever. “My first real wave I remember was at Uluwatu… I’ve never been one to enjoy the learning curve, and I usually throw myself in way over my head. Growing up in Bali off and on, I remember some of my local friends encouraged me to paddle out in overhead Ulus. I got the ‘wave of my life’ and was convinced I got the best barrel ever.
“Coming out of the water I found out someone captured it on camera – it definitely wasn’t a barrel, and I looked more like a monkey then a surfer, but I still couldn’t help smiling the rest of the day… actually the rest of the year!
I think all things in life relate to surfing. Some people like to drop in big, some small. Some take bigger risks, some hang on the shoulder waiting for the wave to come to them and some just love to play in the white wash. Personally, I love to drop in big and not care what I look like. I may fall or, I may have the ride of my life… or maybe I’ll get slammed with a new learning lesson or get dragged underwater and experience a new world I’ve never seen.”
As if some sort of destined fate was calling her, Alison was featured in the nationally televised Discovery Channel hit reality TV series ‘Naked & Afraid’. “The concept of the show harkened back to the beginning of time in a sort of Adam and Eve meets ‘Survivor’, where two strangers, a man and a woman, are dropped in one of the harshest environments on Earth and left to survive the element, and each other, for 21 days with NOTHING, and earn NO money prize.”
“One of my biggest dreams is to be able to share the ancient secrets of survival and sustainability from the cultures I grew up in, and try to be a ray of sunshine in a world of wild and petty reality shows – and this was my chance,” describes Alison.
“When I finally agreed to the challenge I only had one week to prepare and when I found out I would be going to a tropical location – the Maldives – I was honored by my Hawaii community that came together to share their knowledge of fishing, plant life, weaving and just about every darn thing there is to know about the coconut tree.”
Using knowledge she learned from local Polynesians, Alison’s skills became an asset during the acclaimed survival show, providing her (and male companion Jonathan Klay) with clothes and sustenance throughout their 21 days surviving in the Maldives. The success of the show turned Alison Teal into a reality show celebrity. With appearances on nationally televised talk shows like Steve Harvey and Arsenio Hall, Alison showed poise and resilience, and refused to appear on any show ‘naked’, but instead in her signature survival attire.
“I would not go naked, but was happy to wear my ‘native dress’ like I did on the island. My parents and my first surf coach, Uncle Ina sent me 200 Ti leaves and enough coconut hats to last me for all the shows. I was creating the most authentic wardrobe for not only me, but also Jonathan my co-survivor. I’m forever grateful to my extended Hawaii family for supporting the ‘wild haole wahine’ and I hope I made my homeland proud!”
Now residing (off the grid) on the Big Island of Hawaii, Alison is getting busy setting off on wild adventures around the world with her pink surfboard (made with recycled materials). Alison offers viewers a special passport into her global family, and their mind-blowing customs through humor and inspiration. With Alison’s fearless passion for life, she dives into communities living off the beaten path to unearth customs and curious traditions, investigate ancient myths and legends and showcase the importance of family to inspire eco-lifestyles for the betterment of a more sustainable tomorrow.
With Alison, pink is the new green. Her signature pink surfboards are specially made to be completely eco-friendly. “My surf boards are ‘green to the core’ made from soy based sustainable products and recycled Styrofoam-such coffee cups and plant based non-toxic resin. I recently teamed up with Lost and E-tech, and together we created an all eco PINK board for my upcoming adventures.
“It was fun being a part of the process and working with Matt Biolos and his incredibly talented artist daughter Ryder, to make the boards beautifully unique and to spread the word to future generations that sustainability is the wave of the future – pun intended. I always say a smile and a pink surfboard can open many doors. I love being a bridge between cultures and people. When a girl with a big smile and a pink surfboard rocks up to a village with a flower in her hair…well… I am welcomed with great curiosity and have become part of a great global family!”
For Alison’s next adventure, she will return to the Maldives and reunite with the island’s princess and the local villagers. This special episode bringsawareness to the fact that while the Maldives may look like paradise, it is actually home to the largest trash island in the world. Alison’s plan is to clean up the plastic bottles on the island where she survived and recycle it into their thread, literally.Working with companies such as Teeki hot pants and Odina bikinis, they will recycle the plastic trash into usable products the world can enjoy.
“My goal for Alison’s Adventures is for the brand to become an online hub of inspiration and education through entertainment. Through my website and social media I hope to create my own versions of Discovery Channel with a dash of HBO and a sprinkle of Netflix, with an aura of awesome to share the magic and stories I was fortunate enough to experience growing up global.
“I hope to be a breath of inspiration for people to smile, live sustainable, surf for the pure joy of surfing, hug your parents, eat a papaya off the tree and take every chance you get to travel! I believe adventure and experiential education fuels the soul. Life is short…LIVE ALOHA and love each other.”
Alison’s Tips for living more sustainable:
– Go solar
– Don’t eat out of single use plastic
– Buying eco conscious brands like Patagonia or my Alison’s Adventures bikinis, made from recycle plastic bottles
– Buy eco surfboards – look for the “Sustainable Surf” stamp on the bottom of the board.
– Turn off lights and facets when you leave a room
– Wear coconut shell bras and grass skirts whenever possible
– Use non-polluting transportation…like camels.
– Also, treat your body just like the earth and try to eat healthy, exercise, and respect it.