Hey Natan, where are you from?
I was born in Israel, recently moved to Lausanne in Switzerland.
When did you start skating?
I started longboarding in ’97 after seeing for the first time a longboard in the x games 1997 I competed there in an inline downhill event.
WOW. You’ve competed in the X-games! That’s a big deal.
My worst expirience ever haha. It was not a real downhill course the good thing, that it got me really stoked about trying longboard and streetluge.
How did you get into downhill inline?
Well my father was an amature hockey player back when he was young in Russia, one day he brought home a lousy pair of inlines, the first thing I did was to search for local hills.
How is it different from luge or longboarding?
It’s very similar… For me it’s like in motor sport where Valentino rossi and he is also so good at car racing. Here in Lausanne it’s so great to see so many riders do all sort of gravity sports together it’s more fun and interesting.
Was there a skate community in Israel?
I started working in the biggest skate shop ever in Israel when I was 18 we had the first krypotincs longboards with concave and I was so stoked. The scene was small so I had to work hard to get my friends stoked about downhill and longboarding. Until now we have a great scene of shortboarding in Israel but longboarding still did not take off there in a big way. I hope the event we are holding this summer will change that.
We are very proud of all the riders In israel and especially of Yoni Ettinger, who now skates for Earthwing. I remember when he was coming to my shop long ago, now he is 35 years old and the things he does with his longboard are amazing, the energy he still has at his age just inspires us all
Where are the spots in Israel?
The craziest spot is the road to the dead sea, its so so fast and the view is the most beautiful thing in the world. You really downhill the to the lowest place in the world! But dont crash there! Cause after going inside to the dead sea LOL the pain will kill you.
What disciplines do the people out there practice?
Inline, longboarding, street luging and we have some crazy locals who live by the dead sea and bomb there regulary with dirtsurfers.
Here in Lausanne where I live now, longboarding is expolding, and most of the old school riders mix it up – luge, inline even quads. You can come to the weekly session and finding yourself riding with freeboarders, scooters, quads and inlines.
Our rider culture is very open minded, just come and shred. I consider my self as a very very lucky person to live here.
Its like a city that was built as a ski resort but for gravity creatures!
What’s the difference between the community in Israel and in Switzerland?
Well i find out that in Europe downhill is more a tradition, maybe because they start also skiing when they are young. In israel its very hard to be a downhill skater, you really need to like it. Because the good spots are far from the center and you need to wake up early in the weekend and drive far so it remains something for the hardcore.
Is there a gravity sports association in Israel?
We used to have and even got support from the government, it really helped us with insurance and organaising events but we closed it, because I had to move to Swiss to live with my wife and new born baby and no one had the time or enough stoke to keep it alive.
Why do you do so many different gravity sports?
I thought i was weird until i moved here LOL. Why not though? I know a lot of guys who mix betwin ski and snowboard so why not do the same on the asphalt? A lot of riders I knew got bored doing only one thing… So its better for me to mix. I believe everything on wheels is fun, and (just like in food or music) the more open mined you are the more fun you can have.
When people ask me what do I like more, inline or longboarding? I say – some days you want sushi some days its pizza.
What sorts of competitions did you have in Israel?
We did not have a lot, but the one we did was downhill inline and some lugers and dirtsurfers joined. This year I am really stoked because the main show for the first time will be longboarding! Michael Brooke from concrete wave magazine will be there also for the event and for the new project Longboarding For Peace! We will go to Gaza and try to get the locals there stoked on longboarding. ”Bomb hills not people ” is not just a saying for this project.
The event mostly will be to introduce longboarding downhill and sliding to the masses. We will have a sliding clinic and some good riders from other countries will come to help.
What was your role in planning this?
The event is organised by myself and a local rider Greg Varbitzky, he runs the local skate park there and is very stoked also about longboarding. The longboarding for peace project is gonna be more of a pilot. The main goal is to make it bigger like the ”Surfing For Peace” project. All the ideas are Michael Brookes’. I hope to be more and more involved as it grows.
How will Concrete Wave contribute?
There will be coverage of all these projects. Also this year he is donating some longboards from his private collection. In the future the main goal is to find more sponsors and getting as much boards as we can for the kids! If there is anyone who can make it happen its Michael Brooke.
What is the long term plan for this project?
I hope it will be something which occurs on a regular basis, like the surfing for peace projects that has been going on for a couple of years. Amen!
I am so far away from politics, I believe the changes can come from the people themselves because the leaders suck! They don’t skate or surf LOL. If one kid gets stoked from this project and does not become a terrorist it’s all worth it.
Do any riders from Israel attend international races?
They used to attened inline downhill races, nowadays most of them are more stoked on longboarding so it will happen soon I. My ”son” was here a week ago and he came second in our local spot in a small underground event, I was so proud!
”Son” because he came to my gravity school in Israel, he started to come and sleep at my place during the weekends to join us for downhill sessions and I became his father, but he has a great mom to balance him. The gravity school was the best experience in my life.
What is this gravity school?
Its a school for gravity sports I started in Israel in 2007, our moto was – we don’t teach, we share knowledge. Soon I will do it here also with the help of Fibertec. The main thing was showing kids all about longboards, inline, butt boards, even freeboards – and get them stoked. Showing them the right techniques – how to skate safe on the roads and of course the importance of safety gear. We also organised sessions together and small competitions for fun. We also had some gear clinics.
Seems like you invested a lot in the longboard scene in Israel, are you as involved in Lausanne?
Not yet, I live in the french part and my french is still not perfect, I am sure that in the future I will be spreading my stoke more.
What are the longboarders in Lausanne like?
Wow… They are combined from everything. Old schoolers who did it before it was known, new school riders, some inline downhill skaters who now skate longboard. All types! We have an amazing spot called the Valee - it’s a beautiful garden, quite steep with no cars. People come there also from Geneva and even France. Everyday you can come there chill on the grass and meet riders who come to skate. Sliding, downhill even some slalom.
What sessions happen there?
Its a spot you can come and shred whenever you want, no cars. So for years it has become the mythological spot. A lot of competitions were held here and this year’s IGSA qualifications will be held there. Basically everyday riders come and skate there. In the weekends you will see a lot. Its also a meeting point for all the riders to come and chill and enjoy a good beer with riding friends.
Do you have a crew there?
We have a group in facebook named lozane downhill crew and also a local association which does an amazing job promoting urban sports and longboarding. They will be the organizers of the upcoming IGSA event this summer. (Igsa lausanne)
It will be the most amazing event on the igsa tour, because the road is steep and in the middle of the city with so many spectators and it will be in the evening!
We also have a lot of boards from Fibertec ready for everybody who wants to try longboarding. Also the beer here is so good!
How did the organisers manage to get this as a full time job?
Its a long going accosiation that has done great things for the local scene in a lot of aspects of urban sports, so the city gives them enough budget to keep doing what they do as a full time job. So the riders can keep on benefiting from this. The great thing is that the people who are in charge are legends in their sports.
David Lenoir and Nicolas Gachoud, both were top of the line inline downhill skaters.Nicolas is also an amazing streetluger. They also run the local indoor skatepark, so they have plenty on their hands. As I said, by riders for riders.
When is the IGSA race?
Nicolas Gachoud is the organiser, also the local association-la fievre. There will be also an inline downhill race as part of the IIDA. You can expect the best race of the year, with an awesome after party. We will have freeride sessions in the city before and after. Its the only race that I know which is held in the centre of a city and in the evening!
What do you ride?
Fibertec flying pan 960 symetrical
rpp cnc trucks 206mm self designed
purple nipple bushings
Does your wife longboard?
She can’t bomb like she does with her inlines, but yes she enjoys longboarding very much. My daughter also has a small slalom board!
How was last season for you?
When I moved to Swiss, I started to skate more than ever. It was great until six months ago when I broke my left foot in six places. It was so paintful! It happened to me during a great session. I did some good standees better than ever and it happened. I still have some pains and still can’t slide properly, but its getting better. Its the price we need to pay sometimes for our passions.
I met a lot of new riders, and I am stoked about the future more than ever.
What are your plans for the upcoming season?
Personally keep skating as much as I can, and starting my gravity school here also keeping in touch with all the amazing riders in our scene.
Choose 3 numbers between 1-25
11, 7, 10
11 – What’s your favourite sandwich filling ?
7 – What is your favourite cheese ?
10 – What’s your favourite band
wow thats a too hard question… there are too many and it changes everyday
depeche mode, daft punk, pink floyd, supertramp, dire straits, iron maiden…
Haha thanks a lot for your time bro!
Wish you all the best. Thanks a lot for all what you are doing for our sport. I love your site!