We made it to the cover of Concrete Wave Magazine. Cami Best’s shape and a mutual stoke during the last day of shooting in the desert this amazing adventure called OPEN. Here’s the article written by Valeria Kechichian. Enjoy! Full movie coming soon.
14 female riders from 11 different countries gathered in Israel to shoot the first full-length female longboard movie. This is a short chronicle on how we lived this lifetime adventure.
I was holding strongly Cindy Zhou’s hand while she was getting her first tattoo. She was getting the Hebrew letter Ayn inked in the back of her neck surrounded by fourteen dots, one dot per rider. Ayn is a letter in the Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew, Arabic, Maltese and New Persian Alphabet. Means eye, openness, spring, water… Ayn is OPEN’s official symbol and general concept for this trip. It was the last night of our journey and we were in our goodbye party at Dasilva’s house in the middle of an open field, somewhere near Tel-Aviv but it felt like in the middle of nowhere. A lot of people were there, in the house, in the porch, in the grass and in the halls. It was hot, humid, loud and noisy. We were exhausted and dirty but we were perfectly fine. We all knew we were ending a journey of a lifetime. Nine of the fourteen riders got the same tattoo, because that’s how much it meant to us all. A memory that will be in our bodies forever, about those 13 days in Israel shooting the first ever full length movie about female longboarding.
The idea of this trip started some months before when Jacky, Monica & myself were heading to the Longboard Girls Crew office in Madrid on a public bus. We started fantasizing on how cool it would be to go to Israel and skate over there. We had just received the visit of our Dasilva Boards brothers who are a native Israeli longboard brand and made such a strong bond that inspired us to do something with them… why not in Israel? The excitement grew at the same time the idea became more ambitious. At first it was just us with a GoPro but the idea of taking some of the best female riders to Israel quickly started to gain more weight. The list of riders, the filmmaker, the route, the plan, the cost, the money… We got carried away so fast it was a constant explosion of ideas. Needless to say we missed our stop, but we had just created what 3 months of extremely hard work later would turn into our biggest project to date.
We slowly started arriving to Israel from our hometowns. We were all coming from different cities and countries so the first three days until we all got there and started shooting were messy. There was no real sleeping time or real eating time. If you woke up at 5am you would find people talking in the kitchen or playing guitar. If you woke up at 3pm it would happen the same. People were coming from so many countries and time zones that it was jet-lag chaos.
For the first half of the trip we rented a house in Ein Kerem, an hour away from Tel-Aviv. It was a beautiful Romanic house with a lovely garden. Those first days we killed the time talking, setting up our boards, going for short walks in that small neighborhood, playing instruments, shooting the first interviews, talking about the longboard scene… I remember them being very slow, but that wouldn’t last.
The first day of shooting and all the following would be hectic. DH, Fresstyle, Freeride, Dancing, Skatepark, street… we had everything. We met with the local Israeli crew the first afternoon and the stoke was sky-level. I always say that the best part of travelling is meeting with the locals and having human (and sometimes alien) interactions. It was such a great afternoon. You’re in a country that is pretty far away and different to where you live and all these people show up to meet, skate, and share some love for this sport. Heart-filling. I have this image of us in the van leaving and everyone outside waving us goodbye, feeling the same stoke we were feeling. Truly special.
The first days of shooting were particularly hard due to all the production issues coming up. We had Dasila Boards crew in charge of the local production but moving 20 people around a country like Israel was no easy task. Solving problems in Israel is not like solving them in Spain, Canada or the US, where you basically know how things work. The roads in Israel can be sketchy, narrow, oily, extremely old or fantastic, depending on the spot, so every day was a joyride.
We spent half of the time in the north and the second half in the south of the country. Most of the days we split up in two groups according to the spot and the riders’ discipline.
Tel-Aviv is a very Mediterranean city, so it wasn’t very shocking landscape wise. We enjoyed the boardwalk, its’ beaches, bars and restaurants. The real cultural shock would come in Jerusalem. The cultural mix is amazing. Jews, Arabs, Christians, Muslims, Orthodox… everyone living in the same ancient city packed with history. We skated the rooftops, visited the market, had the tastiest falafel of our lives and rocked the buddy system so no one would get lost. We wanted to go to the Orthodox neighborhood but the Dasilva guys told us it was not a good idea. Their “dress code” is very extreme and not following it would bring us major trouble. I also wanted to go to the occupied territories but again, they told us it could get sketchy. We learned a lot about the conflicts and heard very neutral people talking about them.
The Galilee Sea is in the north and all the roads surrounding it flow into the Sea, so basically everything is downhill. We had a rad session over there and finished the day sitting in the Galilee Sea watching the sunset. This place is where Christians believe that Jesus walked over the water. Despite your religious believes, being in these places was blowing our minds.
We moved south after almost a week. The Sde Boker Kibbutz in the Negev Desert was going to be our home for the last days of the trip. We were supposed to arrive early but stopped in a slope we found and ended up spending the whole afternoon in an amazing slide session, the fourteen of us. We were genuinely stoked of being together, teaching each other new tricks, trying new slides and getting them as long as we could. Rad, rad day. We got to the desert late at night so we didn’t really see where we were. The next morning we gather for breakfast and Daniel Etura, the Director, ask me “did you look out the bathroom window?” We were in the middle of the desert, right next to a crater, something I’ve never seen before. We screamed as much as we could of excitement, skeptical of our luck of being there.
The desert sessions were out of this world. The landscape, the roads, the colors… so different to what we are used to. Ramon Crater may have been one of the most amazing roads of the trip.
The south was filled with fun activities besides skating like camel riding or going to the Dead Sea. In case you don’t know, the Dead Sea has nine times the amount of salt a regular sea has, so nothing can’t really live there. The water is thick and oily and you float. Yes, float, you can’t go down. It’s a really bad idea to put your head down the water or scrub your eyes if your hands had touched the seawater. Is a premium ticket to painland. But the major fear above all was the scars and the salt. Most of us were full of road rash so this didn’t seem like a pleasant ride. It turned out it wasn’t as bad as we thought, but it was far from being fun I guess.
The last day we came back north to Yafo as we were meeting local Arab, Muslim and Jew kids in the Twinned Peace Sport School as part of the program with Longboarding For Peace. It was an amazing and rewarding experience. Bringing people together, especially kids, through longboarding is one of the biggest things we can do. Longboarding for Peace is doing an amazing job worldwide and supporting this cause in Israel was the only way to go when we first thought about this whole project. Three different national TV channels covered the event in the news and it was a little step ahead to reach acknowledgement for the cause.
That night was our goodbye party at Dasilva’s and the night we all got tattooed the Ayn symbol. That summarizes a bit the whole meaning of this trip: Exciting new place, new friends, the gift of learning, rad skating and amazing adventures with eyes, heart and mind wide OPEN. Life is a journey and we don’t want to miss any of it. Build your own adventures, learn while living them, have fun and be good.
The OPEN trailer was released some weeks ago and it’s just a glimpse of the kind of movie it will be. We honestly can’t wait and couldn’t have done any of this without the awesome riders that came and gave their best to make it big. Daniel Etura, the director of the movie and the guy with more patience I know so far. Dasilva Boards crew: Alon Meiri, Ben Kaufman, Tom Goldwasser, Ty Charap and Ido Cami… we couldn’t have done it without them. Matt K for being the most talented follow up camera I know and getting the sickest shots at ridiculous speeds. He was also the most whinny person of the trip. The local crew, everyone we met, everyone who’s helping now and everyone who supported us with our Indiegogo campaign: THANK YOU, means the world to us. Big ups for our sponsors that got us there and believed in this as much as we do: Loaded Boards, Orangatang Wheels, Daddies Board Shop, Sector 9, Landyachtz, Kahalani, Vault, G-Form, Bustin, Riviera, Ministry of Turism of Israel, El Al Airlines, Índigo Energías Renovables, Rayne, Rip Tide Bushings, Ennui, Slipstream, Concrete Wave Skateshop Cologne, Bastl Boards, Kaina, Solo Freeride, Rey Trucks, Inercia, Cult Wheels, Marta Guillén, Divine Wheels, Incus, XS Helmets, Zero Gravity, Caliber Trucks, Concrete Wave Magazine, Sickboards, Toxic World Skateshop, The Pucks, Paris Trucks, Triple8, Abec 11 Wheels.
This adventure was epic. Here’s for dreaming big.
And me, I’m again -as part of this column tradition- writing this article in a plane flying from NYC to LA. Just attended the Broadway Bomb and head to LA for new skate adventures. The Bomb was a sick event that gathered as usual skaters from all over the world in New York, so I got the chance to meet with great humans. I was deeply touched by meeting the girls that attended the event: Anna O’Neill, Jenica Davenport, Keyla Denise, Monica Mejía, Lyndsay McLaren, Katy Fry… they are all SO amazing and lovely and rad! Some OPEN riders also reunited in NYC during the bomb: Cami Best, Micaela Wilson, Cindy Zhou, Gina Mendez & myself. The level of excitement was over the moon, cause that’s how much we love, support and care for each other. We continue working. The female longboard scene is doing it right.