ABC’s with Alon, Ben and… Coffee? The skilled shapers from DaSilva boards, a longboard company based in Israel joined us for a catch up on downhill skateboarding, aerospace hippies and staying dirty.
Alon: Can’t complain! How’s it hangin’ brother?
Super good. Enjoying the new year. How’s your year started?
Ben: Righteous. Moved to a new place, making new plans. big things coming.
Alon: Can’t complain, for real.
Alon: Almost. Recently moved to a new workshop with an art gallery attached, bunch of sofas, couple cats and a barefoot-skate down the road to the beach.
Ben: And mini-ramp and bbq on the roof!
Ben: That too. Really all kinds of contemporary, street inspired art. We have a collective of 8 local resident artists, called the ‘Prettimess Collective’, and the room to showcase their work.
Alon: And of course, lots of collaborations.
Had any 2016 adventures yet?
Ben: Just got back from Munich for ISPO, lots of meets and greets. Good seeing old and new faces in the scene. and beer.
Alon: Not stoked on that weather over there though, us desert hippies need to go where the sun is.
How many ISPOs have you been to?
Alon: this was our third.
Is it important to attend?
Ben: I don’t know if I’d say important, but it’s definitely good to see/show what’s new and meet everyone.
Alon: Let everyone know we’re still around and going strong.
Ben: You were missed there man!
Miss you more, beardy! What did you show at ISPO?
Alon: Had a couple new prototype boards from the 2016 line-up, along with some new wheels… but can’t spill the beans on those just yet!
Ben: Good things coming.. always finding new ways to bend wood and and make boards lighter and stronger.
Alon: Yeah, it’s coming.
Ben: Thaney goodness.
Do we need another wheel in this market?
Alon: We try to be as independent as we can with our stuff, and we need to fill this gap for our completes.
Ben: But when we do something, better do it right… and turns out these wheels are pretty damn fun. Everyone who got to test them is stoked.
What gap have you found?
Alon: We’ve been working with a few wheel companies for our completes in the past, and at the end of the day being dependent on another company’s stock or process times wasn’t effective, and hella of a lot more expensive. It just isn’t the best way to do it for the long run, especially when you start to move larger quantities.
Highlights from this year?
Alon: Looks like there’s a lot of snowboard technology coming into the longboard world, interesting to see that.
Ben: Exciting to see the direction it’s taking, traditional skateboarding and snowboarding getting mixed.
Do we, purveyors of the soft wheel and reverse kingpin, have a say in ‘’traditional skateboarding’?
Ben: Haha, that’s a good title, although everyone should dabble in ‘traditional’ trucks and double kicks. It’s all skateboarding and fun as hell.
Alon: Up until not too long ago, most longboards were still made in the same way and same materials as ‘traditional’ skateboards. It’s cool to see the higher-tech stuff creeping in on boards available to the wide public. I love me composites haha.
“Stronger & lighter is the name of the game”
What higher tech stuff is DaSilva playing with?
Alon: Being in Israel, we have access to some actual aero-space grade composites, stuff usually not available to the public. Stronger & lighter is the name of the game.
Ben: And the industry in Israel being small and tight and our ability to do everything in-house, we get to play around with different materials and methods rapidly, which means much faster turnover for prototyping than most big-factory made goods. Ideas turn into reality quick.
Aerospace hippies! Isn’t that a paradox?
Alon: Hell no, hippies are all about the space explorations.
“…we get to play around with different materials and methods rapidly, which means much faster turnover for prototyping than most big-factory made goods. Ideas turn into reality quick.”
How does the R&D affect the ride for the skater?
Alon: In every way, from making the concaves as comfortable and ergonomic, to how heavy and stiff the board is. Always trying to make it better for the skater, that’s what r&d is for.
What was 2015 like for DaSilva?
Alon: 2015 started really good, but then I had a pretty gnarly crash that took me out for a good while. Lots of physical therapy and pain killers later. I’m back making boards and on a plank rolling down hills. That was a wake up call for sure. We still managed to make more boards than ever before in the end, just had to take the scenic route.
Ben: Yeah had to work 7 days a week and do double shifts to get there, but we got there.
How did you crash?
Alon: Gravel in a corner, on a road I’ve been down probably a good couple hundred times. Never get too comfortable!
In life or in skateboarding?
Alon: Both. Gotta stay alert.
What have you woken up to?
Alon: Just how fragile us human beings are, ‘walking blood bags’ as Ben would say haha. And the fact I’m not 16 and bones don’t heal so fast anymore.
Is it hard to come back?
Alon: Kinda. A lot of moments when you think it’s not getting better, no light in sight… but gotta work hard at physio and keep those positive vibes flowing, and all of a sudden you notice you’re doing better. Getting back on a board was a little scary, had to take a bunch of super slow runs until I could let go and flow with it.
What lessons did you as individuals and a brand gain from 2015?
Ben: We learned a lot from this past year on how to run this company, more than anything that it’s good to work hard, but we shouldn’t exhaust ourselves every day. Don’t want to burn out.
Alon: Invested in some new machinery and bringing more people in to help with production so sickness or injuries don’t slow us down, it is inevitable when doing what we do.
Biggest smiles from the last 12 months?
Ben: Dasilva’s 4th birthday party was one for the books – had an epic fish grill, mini ramp jam and live music playing till the wee hours.
FOUR! That old? How will you celebrate 5?
Alon: Ever see that video of this awesome mini ramp jam in the middle of a hemp field? Let’s try to top that.
How will Dasilva boards be different this year?
Alon: We’re using new materials and doing even more aggressive bends, and introducing a couple new boards into the line-up. I’m stoked on the addition of a skate-everything aggressive big double kick, been changing and tweaking that one for a long ass time till we were pleased.
Ben: And with these insane artists at our disposal, expect some mind blowing art!
What’s the source of your creative juice?
Ben: Sounds like a cliche, but inspiration is really all around us, just need to look for it, be susceptible.
Alon: And stay hungry, keep pushing to always be better, do better. You do that and you have to be creative.
Have there been any additions to the family?
Ben: Yes, most recent are Jeff Ellis, who you know very well, and Sebastian Eberlein – young prodigy from AWHOU! crew in Berlin. They both came to visit us in Tel Aviv a few months ago and we immediately clicked.
Beard gang! Who else is on Dasilva?
Ben: Right now it’s Jeff Ellis, Sebastian Eberlein, Sebastian Chano Perales and Katya Krasner. There’s going to be a couple new additions we’ll let people know about soon.
How do people get indoctrinated?
Ben: We’re always looking for dudes and dudettes that share our free-spirit mentality, and are down to earth good people – that’s the first and most important thing. Obviously they have to skate really well too. Having a beard definitely helps.
You guys were pretty instrumental to OPEN, how’s the post launch vibe?
Alon: We had a big screening in Israel and everyone was super stoked. But other than that it was quite a while ago, a lot of water flowed since, and the longboarding world is moving so fast.
Ben: We’re still in very good touch with some of our sisters from that group, everyone doing their own thing.
What skateboarding adventures did you have last year?
Ben: Unfortunately not enough of those with Alon getting hurt pretty early in the season and having to work so much, couldn’t afford to get injured too. So took a more behind the scenes role, organized an outlaw race series and a few slide jams and freestyle sessions. Got my boarding juices flowing at the beach or little mini-ramp breaks from work.
Alon: I haven’t skated the majority of the year, just got back into it a few weeks ago. Tried to do my part in organizing events, spotting and shuttling for the homies haha.
How is Tom?
Alon: Tom’s good, still making magic happen behind the camera. He’s doing some big studio, full feature films now, good stuff.
Are you guys still putting in work behind the lens?
Alon: Yes, Ben and Tom are on that.
Ben: And the AWHOU crew is also working on some bangers for us lately.
What’s your relationship with AWHOU?
Ben: Jeff and Sebastian are both part of the crew, and a few others are good friends of ours.
Alon: We really like what they do, their vibe and the people involved in it. Go follow ‘em now!
What other collaborations can we look out for this year?
Ben: Nothing concrete yet that we can tell you about… come spring you’ll see.
What’s your message to the community?
Ben: Jack Kerouac said it best – “Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.”
How are you staying Dirty?
Ben: It just happens, it comes naturally.
Alon: True that.
Any last words?
Alon: Respect you mother.
Who should we interview next?
Alon: Definitely Mark Gotler.
Thank you so much for your time! Great to catch up with you. Hope to hang out this year, sometime!
Ben: Hell yeah brother, come visit if you get the chance.
Alon: Thank you dude!
Jeff, Sebastian and the AWHOU guys, Katya for keeping it weird, Chano for blowing our minds daily.
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