The hippy mentality isn’t the first thing you might relate to hardcore skateboarding… If anything, combining the two usually results in the shaggy barefoot beach cruising type. I don’t think most real skaters “hate” those guys, but we don’t exactly aspire to be them either. That’s why it’s so refreshing to see a brand that’s both. They embrace both cultures so strongly that it develops something completely new and somewhat profound. Applying the free love, back to nature hippy vibes with the meditative aspects of downhill and cathartic feeling of freeride results in some of the best feelings in the world, the coolest/nicest guys you will ever meet, and some fantastic handmade decks built with the utmost love and care. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m talking about DaSilva Longboards from Israel. Brace yourself friends, because here be Hippies.
Lets not waste anyone’s time here, the Aldous was designed to be the swiss army knife of skateboarding…and for Longboards, the “knife” part is always freeride. Want to make a good versatile board? Don’t skimp on the skids. Dasilva is clearly familiar with this rule of thumb, and proves it with the freak concave. It has a great depth and cradles your foot in nearly any stance. Plus, the Bellbottom flares are very well thought out. Well defined but not obtrusive or excessive, your going to feel comfortable both on or between them. Respectively, larger stances will benefit form the leverage they provide, while smaller ones will feel even more locked in with the way they somewhat simulate microdrops. In fact, I myself freeride with a snowboard inspired duck-stance…so my heels feel super locked in between the flares while my toes get some extra leverage from being on top of them. (you won’t find me complaining about either of those things anytime soon!) Finally, the concave continues onto the tails, which scoop upward slightly, creating a nice pocket. So while it’s clear that this board was designed around an in-between-the-bolts philosophy of freeriding…reaching and utilizing the kicks while going downhill feels safe and comfortable. In short, your blunt slides won’t suffer, they’ll just take a little more peroration than on boards where riding on the tail is a more viable option.
There are two versions of the Aldous, stiff or flexy. I think we’re all used to the varying flex patterns of dancers or pump decks, but they never seem to reach downhill stiffness, just different amounts of flex. Recently however, we’re starting to see brands designing boards around both stiff and flexy constructions. It’s actually really cool because now you have even more options. I for one have definitely seen shapes I absolutely loved until finding out they had mad flex…the Aldous is one deck that’s never going to have that problem. The one I got to try was speed stiff and downhill ready. The pockets made by the bellbotom flares are a prefect place to wedge your foot when tucking, the concave is comfortable but really locks you in, and the overall design is relatively streamlined…though if the drag from the kicks really bothers you, Dasilva uses Freak cave in a few other shapes that are a bit more speed friendly.
Personally, I’m a fan of the kicks though… They really walk the line between the highly functional (but intrusive) popsicle inspired kick, and the streamlined (but short and stubby) downhill kick. At the shortest wheelbase they are plenty long and have decent pop. They are upturned slightly but in a way that extends smoothly from the boards natural rocker. Add that to the way the concave continues onto the kick and the bottom of the deck somewhat resembles a speedboat. How’s that for imagery? It’s definitely the most you could possibly reduce drag while still having such functional kicks. All that works very well on the top of free board as well. The length is the kicks and the way they scoop upward gives you great leverage, and the extended concave makes rotations easy to initiate and control. Not to mention how light their construction is Basically, if you’ve been looking for a good DK that doesn’t compromise much, the Aldous nailed it in the freestyle department.
Full disclosure, I haven’t gotten to try the flexy version of this deck…so I can’t really comment on the type or amount of flex it has. However, considering how much thought has been put into the Aldous, and the fact that there is a designated dancer in their lineup…methinks they might have done some research/experimentation on flex patterns. Aside from that though, even the stiff version shows promise as a dancer. Both wheelbases have a decent EFP, but the larger one really gives you a lot of room to walk around in, especially with TKPs. The width means you can choose how far your steps are from the center, making it easier to control how much the board turns, and slope of the concave makes standing near the rail feel much more natural. Plus, I found that the flares are a great indicator of when your reaching the kicks. Probably not a huge concern for a master dancer…but it’s a pretty cool feature for a board like this, considering a lot of people would probably just be using dabble a bit in dancing.
Done. Here’s the Facebook page. Now I’m going skating. Suck it nerds.