35 Years of Shaping Skateboards: Interview with Shaper Andy Dobson, Folk Skateboards
Q: How’d you become a skateboard shaper and what inspired you? A: I became a shaper by default when I fell in...
Back in 2012 I met Shari White, and we became fast friends. She had recently moved to Vancouver from Gold Coast, Australia, chasing milder weather and a change of pace. Within about a year, we started The Skate Witches‘zine together, and have since travelled the world to skate, host events, make videos, and support our scene as much as possible. Recently she took a leap of faith from her full-time gig at a local print shop, to document some of the best women in street skateboarding for an upcoming Vans video. Although our schedules don’t align as easily these days, I was lucky enough to catch up with her to check in on what’s new, what she’s hyped on, and what the future holds.—Kristin Ebeling
Photos by Norma Ibarra
Do you want to start by telling us a little bit about the new project you’ve been working on?
We’re making a video with Vans, with a focus on Breana [Geering], Fabi [Delfino], and Una [Farrar].
Sweet, can you describe kind of what your life was like before you got this new gig?
I was screen-printing full time for three years; managing a shop. Working nine to five, like the song.
What’s been your favourite place you’ve travelled to work on this so far?
New York was my favourite place for sure.
Was it the spots, or the content you were able to get? What made it special?
Yeah, both of those, plus just the city was really sick to skate around. We didn’t have a car so we were skating spot to spot and taking Ubers around a bit.
What neighbourhoods were you in? I know Brooklyn has a lot of spots.
We were in Lower East Side, but we went out to Flushing one day, and definitely got around in general.
Was that the trip that Una got hurt on, though?
Yeah, that was a bummer. It was our first trip.
Damn, that’s crazy she hurt her knee on the first trip. So sad.
Yeah, I know.
But she’s been on trips since right?
Yeah, she was filming on the Florida trip. If she can’t skate she’s going to film long lens.
So I know this is an HD project, so what kind of camera are you using?
The fisheye camera is Sony A7S with a Canon fish, and the long lens is a Canon XA11.
And how did you pick those cameras?
The fisheye was because I was inspired by some videos on Grey Skate Mag, by this filmer James Cruickshank. My friend Sam showed me those—thanks, Sam! I knew I had to film HD, but I liked the way VX footage looks because of the format, and that’s just how I’m used to filming. A different fisheye is like a different style like with the angles, distance, style of filming.
And this camera is more similar to the VX?
Yeah, that one is really similar. So it was easy for me to pick up that camera and get going right away. I got the whole new camera set up, and literally started using it the next day for the project.
What are your favourite types of tricks to film, or you feel you’re good at?
I like lines with ledges. Yeah. Cutty stuff, too.
Tell us about your recent contest victory at Vans Downtown Showdown.
I guess I did it because Frank [Mare] and Zach [Sheats] put the contest together, and they’re my bosses. They like my skating and wanted me to be in it. So that was random. It was crazy to be in one place with all those skaters. Big names.
What an eclectic mix out there on the course! Burnett, Dane Barker…
Yeah, Johan Stuckey, Corey Glick—Rowan Zorilla was insane to see, he’s so good, and the industry division was really fun to watch. I think the most cheering was for that.
Fabi won, right?
Yeah, she did not stop skating. She barely took a break the whole five minutes.
Wild, so what are your favourite skate videos?
Enjoi’sBag of Suckis sick.
That’s the one with Louie skating to that song … “Young hearts…be free…tonight…”
Yeah, I love that video! That’s one of my all-time favourite parts. Jerry Hsu, too.
Yes! What a good era.
Yeah, I feel like our videos sometimes draw from that vibe. Silly and fun.
Not too serious, but also ripping. Good vibes. Anyways, who are all the other people besides Una, Breana, Fabi who are featured in the video we should know about?
Helena Long, she came to Florida, Beatrice Domond, Clara Solar, and Dayana Young got a clip in SF.
Big question: Would you rather everyone lands everything first try, or you never get kicked out of a spot?
Well, if everyone landed everything first try, you wouldn’t get kicked out of a spot.
True, but what if someone gets their trick first try, and then you get kicked out, and no one else can get a turn.
True. I guess, I’ll change my answer. Yeah for sure actually because that wouldn’t be very fun. If you just went around and got a trick first try and then had to leave right away.
You wouldn’t be as hyped either. Like if everyone just did everything first T. I like when I have to work for it at least a little. Like 10 tries.
If we never get kicked out we could session there forever! Yeah! Never get kicked out is my answer.
Wow that was suspenseful. So are there any tricks you hate to film? Anything that makes you say, “Fuck, if I gotta film another one of these…”
I would just say the 50-50 Front Shuv.
Honestly, yes. That’s the Bigspin Front Board of women’s skateboarding. Men, no more Bigspin Front Boards. Women, no more 50-50 Front Shuvs. There’s just been too many.
Actually, Fabi did one that was really sick, on an out ledge though. I liked filming that one.
Respect. Let’s just say we are no longer accepting 50-50 Front Shuvs.
That’s pretty much the only thing I can think of right now. I guess slow tricks, too. I skate slow, so I can’t really talk shit, but you know.
You’re also the filmer, not the skater, am I right?
There’s a reason why I’m the filmer!
Are there people that meet you now as “the filmer” and don’t know you skate, and are like, “Damn, you can Nollie Flip?”
Yeah, there have been a couple of comments.
So any hopes and dreams for this video when it comes out later this year? What would make you happy when it’s all said and done?
If everyone in the video and involved with the video were happy, and people enjoy watching it.
Any last words?
Thank you, Kristin, you are my inspiration.