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...
My name is Tiffany Scott. I’m from Lubbock, Texas. I’m 29 and I have an eight-year-old daughter.
How and when did skateboarding become a part of your life?
Honestly, I tried to skate when I was younger, but I kind of grew up in a very strict household. My mother was completely against girls skateboarding. To her that was a boys sport, and I didn’t need to be around it. She busted my first board in half actually. She didn’t like me being a tomboy. She wanted me to wear dresses down to my ankles, that type thing. So I didn’t really get back into skating until I was an adult. I’m still technically learning about it. While I was living under my mother’s roof, I was like, okay, I’ve got to abide by the rules.
As soon as I kind of started getting back into it as an adult, and got myself a real board, I got into a really bad accident. So I’m still kind of just cruising around. I’ve never even really tried a trick before, but I’m more of a cruiser as it is. But my daughter, she’s the one that wants to learn the tricks.
Was your daughter part of you getting back into skateboarding?
I wanted to before her but she’s the one that really pushed me into doing it. She’s really been encouraging for me as well. So, yeah, I got really into it once I started taking her to the skate park.
What was the scene like in Lubbock when you and your daughter got into it?
Honestly, I kind of just met some of the people in the scene here. At first they were very standoffish. Like, they didn’t say hi. So I went out with my friends. I’d be like, “We should get boards!” And they’d be like, “No, let’s watch our boyfriends skate.” Okay, I don’t like that. In the past month, I’ve gotten to know a few people. I’ve been out there all the time. So I guess you could say I’m just now getting to learn and getting to meet the skaters here in Lubbock.
How did Twisted skateboards get started?
Well, a couple years ago, I made a custom board for my daughter. I had gone to one of the local skateshops here. She wanted something to represent her and just couldn’t find a board. I was like, “Okay, I understand.” So I bought a blank and I started to design it. She wanted me to put all of her favourite cartoons on it. It got a lot of attention on social media and just people around. When I was making that board, it felt so much different to me than painting on a canvas. I enjoyed it. It was something that I wanted to do more of.
What have you been doing lately?
When this COVID stuff started, I had so much time at home, I was out of work. It was just, you know, feeling that depression and things like that. Art gets me out of depression though, and I thought, “Why not start my own brand? I feel so connected and close to it, and I feel a sense of family, a skateboarding family.” So I was like, I’m not going to give up on this one. So I technically started Twisted with the actual name and getting everything started this year. I started customizing a couple of years before though.
What’s been the community’s reaction to Twisted?
Well, after meeting the people here in the community and being on being on a local news show, a lot of people have come forward wanting to help. For the most part, the skate community has been coming forward and they’re like, “We love what you’re doing. We want to help.” I’m definitely feeling more welcomed. I’m really shy and introverted, and I just get really nervous talking to people. And I think it shows in person.
You are working now, you have a daughter, and you’re painting and doing Twisted. How do you find the time to do all this? What does life look like for you right now?
Right now, it has been a little difficult, especially when I have a deadline to get the work done and get it out. I get up early and I make my coffee and I work on it before going to work. Then when I get off on work, I work on Twisted. It’s a continuous thing.
Are you able to get outside to skateboard in your area with your daughter right now?
I try to go once a week for my daughter to go skate. I honestly don’t know if I will be back in a while though because the cases here have shot up. We are technically a hotspot. Now like hundreds and hundreds of cases a day.
What does the Black Lives Matter movement look like in your area and through your eyes?
Well, you know that they’re behind me, being a black-owned brand. We did a Push for Peace recently that somebody put together, but it was kind of last minute, so only about 10 people showed up for it. I do business with Troy’s Ski Supply here in Lubbock. It’s a sports shop with a skate shop inside of it.
Here in Lubbock, we’ve had some protesting and slowly, as time goes by, you see less and less people out, until there’s only one person. But even if there’s only one person out there, they’re staying true to what they believe in. They don’t care how hot it is, they’re gonna stand there.
That also opens something up for me too. I understand both sides of it. I understand all lives matter as well as black lives matter. I don’t think growing up when I first heard Black Lives Matter, I don’t think that I understood what the movement was for until now. I’ve experienced these things. Now it’s starting to shed light, for me to just understand what all this is all about.
With regards to your involvement in the skate scene, do you work with any community groups or charities?
Yes, as far as my own community, one of the main things that I would like to do is be involved with the foster youth here, because I’m a foster kid. I want to just kind of get closer to some of these kids here. I’ve never reached out in my community until recently. I had always wanted to do something, but now I’m getting out there and doing it.
I would really like for a skatepark to be built in the east part of Lubbock. There’s a lot of poverty. It’s an area where mainly black people live, but I want the kids to have something to go to. There is a lot of crime there, but if I’m being honest, I’ve lived in both, you know that area and like a nicer area, and I’ve been I’ve been robbed in the nicer area and never been robbed in the other. I want the kids that, you know, think that they have to join into that type of lifestyle to be safe, I want them to have another family that they can go to. I want them to be introduced to skateboarding and you know, find unity and have somewhere that they can go and be themselves.
What drives you? What do you get out of doing Twisted?
I really have a need for helping people. I think I always have. I tell my daughter, even if this work doesn’t get us a house or a good working car or stuff like that, the most important thing is to always help people if you can. Even if we make 20 extra dollars a month with this business, we know that we’re helping out there with every charity that I choose to donate to.
Interview by Jeff Thorburn