While studying industrial design, Ben Kauffman and Alon Meiri felt something was missing. “The goals were all wrong,” Ben said, “with too much focus on mass production and profit, having little to do with ‘doing what you love.’” Instead, they “wanted to focus on something we could put our souls into.” Enter Dasilva Boards, a Tel Aviv-based longboard company and a staple on the local scene, with a growing global influence.
In contrast to the profiteering they shunned, one of Dasilva’s brand mottos is that their boards are for “dirty hippies”. “We’re true to minimalism,” explains Ben, “there aren’t a whole lot of possessions a man needs to be happy.” This connects both to their brand ethos as well as to their business model. “We need to earn less,” says Ben, “which as small business owners is good - it keeps our overhead low and our shop sustainable, making it easier to be happy.”
While they make a variety of boards, their minimalist approach led them to an unusual but growing niche: longboard dancing. Twisting, twirling and rotating one’s feet across a board in a surf-like fashion, longboard dancing seems like the suave grandchild of freestyle skating (Rodney Mullen, anyone?!). “Early on, we chose to make boards different than what was conventionally offered,” Ben says, “and dancing seemed like an interesting start. We were also pretty lucky to be the first ones in the door in many countries where the dance scene was just beginning, giving us a foothold as the scene grew.” Additionally, Dasilva helps the local dance scene blossom by hosting events and bringing global dance stars to visit, “giving our little patch of land the respect it deserves as a legit skate country.”
But compared to global skate powerhouses like the ubiquitous Carver or Penny boards, which are mass manufactured and cheaper, why buy Dasilva? “The difference between these brands and Dasilva is pretty big,” Ben emphasizes, “it’s like convincing someone to switch from wearing ‘Crocs’ to ‘All-Stars.’” And equipped with an “All-Star” Dasilva board in Tel Aviv, you’ll have where to ride. “Tel Aviv is an awesome skate city,” he exclaims, “with plenty of bike lanes to push and endless spots for dancing.” Most of all, Ben says, “in contrast to other countries, the local scene is super welcoming.”
Check out Dasilva’s brand new line up atdasilvaboards.com. Buy local at Borderline Surf Shop or their factory shop at 14 Franzois St, Tel Aviv. Also, keep an eye out for their events and check out their art collective Prettimes,which hosts pop-up events.