Words: Dustin Strong
Photos: Jose Alberto Prieto
Social media, and in larger terms the internet, has become the social norm for creating and branding one’s self in all aspects of culture. Surfing included. Instagram clips, web edits, and entire surf films being released online only and for little to no profit now dominate the industry. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to come across humble, talented surfers and artists who believe that there is value in creating content for core, dedicated, and like-minded people.
This is especially true for us here at RAEN. We truly appreciate the kinds of people who embody this idea of authenticity. Our new friend from across the pond, Legi Alonso, represents this genuine idea of modesty in an industry controlled by 15 second Instagram clips showcasing the best aerial maneuver someone has done all year. Check out the interview below and learn more about the underground shredder we’ve become a huge fan of.
I’m finding it difficult to find really any info about you on the internet. Is being out of the limelight and sort of “underground” something you enjoy?
Is not easy for me to find a filmmaker to work with and nowadays everything is about short clips or Instagram. I live in the middle of nowhere so… It’s kinda hard to jump into the international scene. In addition, I don’t have the support or the ability at an international level. I’m conscious about who I am.
I read that you don’t believe in contests because surfing can’t be expressed by numbers. Based on this belief, what are your thoughts on surfing becoming an Olympic sport?
Surf is like cinema. On the one hand you have Hollywood, which is commercial and frivolous. It represents the majority of bullshit mainstream movies as the result of celebrities and clichés. Fortunately, there is another way. Independent and auteur cinema, a less profitable way but quite deeper.
Hollywood needs the Oscars, galas, triumphant puppets... All this superfluous stuff ruins the original concept of free subculture. Independent cinema is just made of love and small (but pure) initiatives. These kinds of movies have less viewers but the message is enriching.
How and when did you begin surfing?
I didn’t begin surf until I was 17 or 18 because I live far from the beach and my parents, who were terrified of waves, didn’t allow me to go. I spent most that time skateboarding and playing football like the others. Finally, I started to use a bodyboard but I was terrible. Soon after, I was standing up in the boogie and the rest is history.
How has surfing influenced your art in graphic design, fashion, and photography? Do your other artistic expressions influence your surfing?
To be honest, surfing hasn’t influenced my visual stuff. In fact, all my other interests (typography, dark music, graphic design, cinema…) have influenced my surfing and board art beyond the beach style iconography.
I love riding waves for sure! I’ve known many places and good people thanks to surf and I organize my life depending on it, but my head is into other things when I’m out of the water. I’m not a beach guy.
Creating art is conveying emotion. What do you want your art to convey?
Disappointment and sadness.
Can you tell me more about your clothing brand SYLPH and how it came to be?
I started S Y L P H cause I wanted to express my graphic design ideas even though I had a shit job in a supermarket at that time. At first every piece of clothing was handmade by ourselves, but this is unviable.
I want to transform S Y L P H into a little universe, that’s why all the collections are based on conceptual ideas (death, silence, “Alone but strong”, Nietzsche…) complemented with prints, jewels and fanzines.
You won’t find a tee in varied colors: designs are conceived one way. And all our releases don’t abide by season, in fact, I will put something new out when the product is fresh, not when the weather changes. Easy.
What is your relationship with Lamono Magazine?
I met Lamono Mag back in 2014 when they covered “D Mayas y Maras”, a project about a trip across El Salvador and Guatemala. We collaborated on a surf report, an interview and an art exhibition about the lifestyle and ancient culture of those countries (thanks Surfing’s Wanderlust and Surfcity Barcelona).
Since then, I usually share my stuff with Lamono cause they’re very open-minded people and they also love surfing and personal visions beyond the waves! Such a nice crew!
You can always tell which type of surfer someone is by looking at the type of board they ride. What kind of boards do you have under your feet these days?
I used to surf short and fast boards exclusively but I’ve changed the last two years. Now it depends on my mood. Some days I want to go fast and try closeouts in shore breaks and the next one I prefer longer and slower waves, that’s why my quiver is very diverse.
I’ve got a bunch of random short boards between 5’6’’ – 6’2’’ and a twin fin and a single fin. Even we try finless some days (thanks Wat Say surfboards crew)!
Who are the main influencers in your life? From surfing to fashion design.
I’m really inspired by people who have broken the rules and then, after finding the key of success, they’ve changed again. Take risk and reinvent!
I really love the Bauhaus legacy, European Avant-Garde of 20th century, Constructivism, Romanticism. People like Rodchenko, Picasso, Gaudi, James Joyce, Nietzsche, Sergio Lione, Baudelaire, Dostoiveski, and Turner.
My surfing influences? Dion Agius, Dane Reynolds, Wade Goodall, Taylor Steel, Keith Malloy, Ozzy and Dustin Humphrey.
What does music do for you and what are you listening to right now?
Music is medicine for the soul. It`s so wonderful and vast… I’m always listening to music whether at home, car, job…
The best part is investigating new sounds, movements and bands because all of them are essential to understand the world you live. They can change the course of society, fashion or even a whole generation’s mindset. It’s is one of my favorite things in life, for sure.
I love 50s rock and roll, Trash Metal from the 80s, Post Punk, Dark Wave, Soul and Motown vibes, Psychedelic and Jazz... But my lifetime favorite is Norwegian Black Metal.
Any upcoming projects?
Sure! I’m trying to finish my first novel which is my main goal currently. With surfing, I’m going to continue my 2017 project with Backreal.eu, make a nice collab with some Aussie friends, Flamingo Amigos, which will consist of a video, online editorial, and thematic garment. And I hope to finish the year with an art expo which will include all the work I’ll be working on this year through pictures, surfboards and drawings.