Alon Meiri: Dasilva boarder

We got Dirty with our bro from Israel, chatting about Cali adventures, the local scene and #IshtarMoments during ”LGC Open”.wegetdirtyHi Alon, how are you?
I’m good man!

Having a nice weekend?
Yeah! Definitely good. back in the sunny, dusty homeland. Got to skate some.

Where is the homeland?
Israel, middle of the middle east!

Nice place to grow up?
Yeah. Being outdoors all the time is good for kids right?

Always! How did you get into skating?
I skated a little as a kid. My older brothers and friends were into extreme sports, mostly bmx and dirt bikes but some skating too. I actually got more into it at an older age through surfing.

Is surfing your first/biggest love?
I’d say at this point in life skating and surfing share the top spot.

Tom Goldwasser photo

Tom Goldwasser photo

Are there many people skating over there?
A lot of street/park skating. DH is pretty new, and growing slowly. Not that many people do it, but it’s getting bigger.

Is there any terrain there to feed your need for speed?
Oh, endless. We have good roads everywhere, and good weather all year. Just gotta watch out for the Israeli drivers.

Who are the skating OG’s there?
There was a crew skating hills here way before I started, but I don’t really know any of ‘em personally. I don’t think most of them skate much anymore.

What were you riding in the beginning?
I’ve never had a store bought board; I made my first board at my school’s wood-shop, very basic concave and 11 plys. That thing was a tank, still solid to this day.

“I’ve never had a store bought board; I made my first board at my school’s wood-shop… That thing was a tank, still solid to this day.”

Word! Are you a carpenter?
Yeah, you could call me that. I’ve been making furniture for a while before going to school for industrial design.

What do you enjoy about playing with wood?
Everything. Wood’s alive man, gotta learn how to tend to it, how to work with it and not against it.

What does the wood say to you?
It listens haha. It’s therapeutic, kinda like a session at the shrink’s office. And much cheaper.

Ben Kaufman photo

Ben Kaufman photo

Do you use local trees?
Israel’s a very hot place, with very little water. We don’t really have big solid trees ‘round here.

How did you make that first board?
With a ghetto-ass press and a ton of clamps. Really uneven concave, but it worked.

Was it any good?
Yeah, for a first board it was pretty good I think. Rock solid.

What features did it have?
It was huge! Approx 46”, WB was probably 33”-34”

What adventures did you and Alon Jr have?
Haha Alon Jr! Learning how to go faster than push speed; we learnt everything on our own in the beginning, didn’t know about sliding or anything. Took a few hard slams to learn how things work.

Was anyone else skating fast around you?
Still the same crew I skate with to this day – Ben Kaufman and Ido Carmi. Ben’s brother used to skate with us but he’s really busy with school these days.

Who are Ben and Ido?
My brother’s from other mothers. The original dirty hippies. The three of us make up Dasilva Board Co. along with another good friend – Tom Goldwasser.
ido_n_ben

Is it true ‘’your gathering isn’t a party till Tom Goldwasser walks in’’?
Haha, this is the first time I heard this. But yeah, it’s not too far from the truth.

Who is Ido?
Ido’s our dirty little brother. Sick skater/surfer and the dirtiest hippie I know. He now also works for us – cutting and sanding wood – making the magic happen.

What is your role in Dasilva?
I’m mostly doing the product research and development. All the prototyping of new stuff, new materials, CAD work – that kind of stuff. And of course making the actual boards, each one done completely by hand.

Who was your teacher?
Didn’t really have one. Ido was always better than us, still is. But pretty much figured everything by trial and error. Lots of errors.

Is it important to get/stay Dirty?
It’s the most important thing! Dirty is where the fun things happen, no one remembers clean.

“Dirty is where the fun things happen, no one remembers clean.”

How do you keep you Dirty?
Keep moving, live out of the trunk of my car (still the first car I owned, running on 10 years now), be out in nature as much as possible, sleep on the ground.

Water/desert?
I’m a water person. I love the desert, but water’s life.
desert2

Where were you riding in the beginning?
We had a little hill next to Ben’s brother. It was a fun little neighbourhood run that we learned how to go ‘fast’ on. I went back there a few months ago and it felt really slow.

What were the most important things you learnt?
How to fall right. Lost a lot of skin till I learned that.

How long did you ride Alon Jr?
A few months, until I learned how to slide and drift and wanted something smaller. And with better concave.

What did you make?
A smaller top mount, with nice deep concave – that later got tweaked over and over again to what is now my favourite DH board.

What’s your favourite setup?
Still finding it, so many new products coming out all the time! Right now, Paris V2’s with Riptide bushings and pivot cups and Divine wheels, on a new proto Dasilva board that I’ve been riding extensively the last few months.

Are any of those your sponsors?
Nah, I don’t really have sponsors. They’re all very good friends though.

When did you make your favourite board?
It’s still in proto stage, coming out soon. Short WB top mount with a very aggressive concave that just hugs your feet, and as light as can be. Came up with the design a while ago, but took a lot of tweaking to get it perfect.
proto_board2

Have you made any boards for others?
Custom boards are our bread and butter – made a few hundred of those for people who know exactly how they want their board to look and feel and can’t find it from a mass produced company.
We’ve done some collaborations with other companies as well, actually working on a cool one right now – you’ll see soon enough.

 Who was the first to ride an Alon board?
Ido Carmi. He had a huge role in testing the boards, that boy gives boards a true beating.

Why have you made so many boards?
That’s my job – what pays the bills. And my favorite thing to do in the world, so works great for me!

What’s the most common change you make to existing boards?
Re-drilling for sure. WB tweaks.

When did you realise you could turn your passion into a job?
It happened pretty fast actually. At first we just made boards for ourselves and friends, but then random people started asking for them, and shops followed not long after. Figured ”let’s try and take it as far as we can”, 3 years later this is a full time job.
proto_board

Who was helping you make them?
It’s been Ben and me from the start, doing everything together. Ido joined us last year.

How did you meet Ben?
We met in school, mostly smoking together outside instead of going to class.

Do you get more joy from making boards than riding them?
This is a tough one man! It’s a different type of joy. If I had to choose one or the other, I’d go with building boards. I hope I never have to choose tho.

What is your favourite moment in the board building process?
When things ‘click’ – when all those ideas that have been floating around come together and it’s awesome under your feet.

“We (Dasilva) focus mostly on making custom boards… instead of the skater making himself fit the board, we fit the board to them.”

How are the boards you make different from those on the market?
We focus mostly on making custom boards – meaning they’re made specifically for the skater, taking into account size, weight, skating style etc. Instead of the skater making himself fit the board, we fit the board to them.

What do you call your gang?
Our name is Dasilva – we go by ”Dirty Hippies”.

CMNDR photo

CMNDR photo

When was Dasilva born?
Dasilva was born almost 3 years ago, in the summer of 2011.

How was it born?
It started with just making our own boards, then making boards for friends. It was just a fun thing to do for us, but pretty quickly turned into a full time thing. Came up with the name and a basic logo (that changed a couple dozen times since) and rolled with it.

Is anyone else in Israel making skateboards?
There was another dude making longboards, a friend of Ben’s from earlier in life, but I don’t know if he’s still going. Haven’t seen anything from them in a while.
And of course there’s ZION skateboards – they make street decks and wheels – very good friends of ours and one of the sickest crews out there.

Do you ride street?
I’m pretty horrible at it. I can ollie and kickflip, that’s about it. Wish I skated more street when I was younger.

Are there any events out there?
The LGC girls, Katya, Bar and Margot hold a weekly session in Tel Aviv, and along with SLIK – a local skateshop and the heart of the scene here – we throw a big session or slide jam every few weeks. Still dreaming of organizing a proper race, closed road and everything. We’ll get there.
desert

Do you have any tracks for rad races?
Oh hell yes, all over the place. Within 2 hours drive you have every type of road possible – from technical drift runs to winding grip runs, short or long, super fast or mellow – just choose. The desert has a few fast roads unlike anywhere else.

Are the roads more like Teutonia or Maryhill?
We have both kinds. Genreally more like Maryhill, winding black pavement, but faster.

What has been your favourite year of skating?
This last one for sure. Just got back from spending some time in California, had the LGC come to Israel to shoot OPEN during the summer, went to Spain for some freerides before. A lot of incredible roads and amazing people.

When did you first get a chance to skate outside Israel?
Going to Spain was my first time, incredible experience. really eye opening.

Where did you skate on that trip?
We went there for the ‘La Muela’ freeride last April – a really fun event, first time skating a closed road! After that, we got in the van and travelled all over, had a bit of bad weather, my first real experience rain skating – an amazing trip.

How did you hear about it?
Through Jacky Madenfrost, our sister from another mister! She was one of the organizers of the event.

When did you first make contact?
We’ve been in touch for a while, she came to Israel a while ago to visit some family, and made contact with us, and we became good friends. She’s now officially one of the Dirty hippies.

Is there an initiation ceremony?
Getting real dirty.

Who did you go with?
Ben, Ido and me. the three-headed hippie monster.
ben_ido_alon_spain

How is your Spanish?
Basic, but I can get around. Spent some time surfing in Central America a few years ago, so can ask for another beer and how to get to the bathroom.

What did you enjoy about the event?
Closed road! That’s a whole new experience for us! Skating with a ton of other people in a controlled environment, awesome stuff.

Where else did you ride?
Southern Spain was incredible – good weather, cheap as hell and good roads everywhere. We just roamed in our van and looked for places to skate, and there’s plenty.

Where did you hit after Spain?
After Spain it was back to Israel, getting things prepared for the filming of OPEN. That was pretty epic.
camp

Are there any skaters on the other side of the wall?
I bet there are – but I don’t know any of ‘em personally. I’ve seen a video from one street skater who’s pretty amazing. Wish I had more contacts there.

What took you to Cali?
We have a lot of friends out there, and it’s the mecca of skate/surf culture – we had to get there and absorb some of those vibes. Thanks to everyone that let us crash on their couch and put up with our dirtiness – you know who you are – we are eternally grateful!

Where did you get to skate?
There’s too many roads to mention – San Franciso is like a playground for longboarding, the NorCal mountains are something else, central coast is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been and the canyons are downhill heaven.

Who were your tour guides?
Ishtar Backlund, our little fellow hippie sister, showed us around SF. Amanda took us around SoCal, laguna and the canyons. And roamed a lot on our own looking for places, it’s unreal how many good roads they have there.
ishtar_sf

Was it as good as you hoped?
Better.

Is anyone there riding Dasilva?
We left a couple boards with some groms.

Why is it important to support groms?
They’re the future man – the level of groms now is unreal. fast and fearless little fuckers.

How did it compare to Israel?
It’s what I wish for Israel to be in a few years. The terrain is very similiar, but the skate/surf culture is so much bigger, deeper.

How much Dirtier can Israel get?
Oh, Israel’s a Dirty place and we’re doing all we can to maintain and make it dirtier.

What changes would you like to see locally?
More people going fast. more people taking it seriously.

Surely the Dirty thing would be to take it less seriously?
Haha nah man, we take our dirtiness very seriously!
stale

What is OPEN?
OPEN is a film project the LGC put together in Israel last summer, bringing 14 of the top female longboarders in the world for an epic, epic time. Dasilva did all of the local production, making sure everything went right.

What’s your relationship with the LGC?
The founders are our sisters – I see them as family. We try to support and promote whenever we can.

Have you ever had Malaria?
No tropical diseases yet haha.

When was the idea of OPEN born?
Chilling at Jacky and Mo’s apartment in Madrid. They both have been to Israel before, and we started talking about how awesome it is and how no one knows about it.

How long did it take to plan?
It happened pretty fast – few months from the initial idea till all the girls were shredding our roads.

What was your role in making it happen?
Dasilva was the local production, meaning anything to do with local things – driving, showing them the spots, talking to the cops, organizing food, organizing the dirtiest, rowdiest party we could, complete with a resident tattoo artist.

Had you met any of the riders before?
Gador!

Gador Salis, your favourite skater’s favourite skater.
Exactly, legend.
making_boards2

Where did you take the visiting girls?
Really all over, we gave ‘em the grand tour. We went north, south and center, with focus on skating everywhere. It’s something that has never been done before, here or anywhere else.

What was the highlight of shooting OPEN?
Going down to the desert – watching those girls shred harder and chill harder than anyone I know.

What did you guys do when the filming was over?
Slept! haha. We had almost no sleep during the whole time we were filming, making a movie happen is hard work man!

Was it hard shooting so much?
It was hard organizing everything. The middle east being the middle east, nothing goes according to plan. Gotta be alert and move fast.

When will the movie be out?
It’s supposed to be out next month I think, can’t wait to see Daniel Etura’s magic!

What do you hope to get from this project?
More people coming here, more girls going big.

Why should people come to skate with you guys?
We have the weather, we have the roads, and we’re pro chillers. If you like any of those things, you should come around.

What did you get up to after OPEN?
Ishtar stuck around for a while, became an integral part of the gang. A lot of camping, chilling, skating, partying. That girl has the best vibe about her.

#IshtarMoment

#IshtarMoment

What did you guys and Ishtar get up to?
She’s one of us man – a real Dirty hippie – love her to death. She did some paintings on a few boards for special people she met here – and a few art pieces that she left behind – she is one talented nomad princess.

She must be an inspiration in Getting Dirty!
Oh she’s a pro. Living life to the fullest, an inspiration to everyone that knows her.

#Promad!
I like it! you’re the #hashmaster.

How has this year gone for you?
2014 started insanely good. Went from California straight to Germany for ISPO – crazy times were had, too many beers to remember – then back home for a week and off to Europe again, this time to Eindhoven for ‘So you can longboard dance’ event, which was so much fun!
I had the honour of being one of the judges in the competition, which was a new experience for me – I’m not a very judgemental person haha. The organization was top notch and the event was really well put together. and Eindhoven is the cutest town!
And of course, couldn’t pass on a visit to Amsterdam while in the neighbourhood.

Alon can dance?
I don’t dance, I boogie.

Did you enjoy the Dutch event?
Yes, very much. It was very different than the events we have here, and there was a big turnout. really well organized, the Spots N’ Locals crew did an amazing job.

Matthias Bohnacker photo

Matthias Bohnacker photo

How can you judge dancing fairly?
It all comes down to style man – that and the difficulty of the tricks. Hard to judge, but the really good ones just stand out, ya know?

Who impressed you there?
Other than the organizers, Jeff Ellis – the winner – has amazing style and flow. The Spaniards came to have fun and made a ton of noise, which is always appreciated. The Bastl Boys – true brothers.

What did you hope to acheive in ISPO?
Nothing really – we didn’t know what to expect there. we came to meet like-minded people and party – which is exactly what we did, and then some.

Was it nice to be reunited with Val?
Hell yes, Val is one the main reasons we came there! That girl can move mountains.

She can. She is an awesome friend and has a forgiving heart!
The biggest heart I know.
#Malaria

Who else is in the family?
The Immediate family is Ben Kaufman, Ido Carmi, Jacky Madenfrost, Jaime Vazquez Cabello (our baby brother from Madrid), Tom Goldwasser, and myself. The extended family is huge and spans worldwide.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Now I’m back in the homeland for a few months, then it’s off to Spain again in the summer, and hit a part of the Euro-tour. Freerides and festivals.

KnKozakov?
KnK for sure. Don’t know about Kozakov, we’ll see where the van takes us.

Who else will be in the Van?
The Immediate family, and anyone that wants to join, has gas money, and can put up with the dirtiness.

Ben and Alon - Goldwasser photo

Ben and Alon – Goldwasser photo

What do you do when you’re not skating/shaping?
Chillin’ at the beach, spending time in nature. Rolling in the dirt.

Pick 3 numbers.
7,9,13

7 – why did the chicken cross the road?
To get away from the people trying to eat it?

9 – what would you choose as your last meal?
Big milkshake.

No bacon?
Nah, Trying to eat less meat.

13 – what happens when a zombie bites a shark?
Damn, gonna have nightmares for a while. Zombie sharks… shit just got real. I should keep a harpoon around.

ISPO lurk - Tom Goldwasser photo

ISPO lurk – Tom Goldwasser photo

Dude. Bro. It was so much fun doing this. Always a pleasure to hang with you, hope our paths cross again!
For sure brother! A pleasure. Come join us this summer when you can.

Any last words?
GET DIRTY. Go ahead, do it.

Links 

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#wegetdirty

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