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Interview with Tomás Borges, Skateforeveryone School founder

It’s in Monsanto Park, almost three times bigger than Central Park in New York, in sunny Lisbon, that lies one of Tomás Borges’s preferred skateparks.

Here he teaches and enlightens young and old. It’s where the fear goes away. At the age of 27, Tomás Borges is still building his dreams, whilst helping others achieve their ones on a skateboard.

When did you start your skate school?

Skateforeveryone was created back In 2019. I started alone but now we are a 5/6 people crew.

How do you work with your students?

We match students in groups and usually classes are held in Monsanto Skatepark or in Campolide, aka Bairro da Liberdade skatepark. We organize sessions by group, level and age.

How have things been going?

Things boomed at first. We received loads of requests while teaching people at the skateparks and it didn't take long before we were getting found online too. But our core is on the field, it’s where who wants to become a skater sees and understands what service we provide. Then Covid-19 hit us, but when the gates were open again many people from all different age groups started to skate because it's an open air and an individual sport (whilst many collective sports where still facing restrictions).

What drove you to create a skate school?

I didn’t want to create something ‘touchable’ because we humans produce a lot of waste and the planet’s sustainability is something I care deeply about. So I decided to create a service from people to people. Since childhood I love skate, worked in skate schools in the past and I have a sport’s academic background, so in 2019 I decided to create my own skate school.

How challenging is it to work with so many different ages?

We must be prepared to understand different levels of fear. A child has no fear of the consequences, whilst adults are afraid of the risks. So we definitely have to adapt our methodology to different age groups. I’m proud when an adult loses his fear on a coping thanks to my tips.

Have you worked with some late beginners?

Yes, indeed. A guy called Zé Pedro, who discovered skate when he was 43 years old. He would come to the skatepark, almost daily, and just try to do ollies. Then, one day, he saw me giving lessons, joined my classes and it didn´t take too much time to become a very good skater. Now he rips in the bowl. So, it’s never too late to start to skate.

By Manu Silva

How Troubl3 Keeps Making Trouble with Skateboards

June 29 2022 - Interview with Troubl3  “I always have been a troublemaker”. If Andrew, 41, had to pitch his idea, this could be a good punchline. It’s one of those cases where a business’s name is not just marketing, but a character’s extension. "So, Troubl3 is giving the middle finger to a lot of skate shops that do not support local people." Andrew (Owner Troubl3)   VISIT WEBSITE TROUBL3 is a Canadian skateboard shop based in Otawa. It was born in 2018 from the desire to go against the flow. “Skateboarding industry has become a mass production machine. Everything comes from China or Mexico, where people are not paid right. I buy something for one hundred dollars that really costs ten dollars”, he claims. “Then I thought: if I’m going to be a troublemaker, I might do something different. If I’m making a board it’s got to be unique like any skater is. I’m going to make one by one; it’s going to be tougher, it’s going to last more, every single board is going to be different. When you buy, it’s not just a board, it’s a piece of art and an experience”, he adds. This is something “one hundred percent customized”, from size, shape, wheels base, and a “seven veneer deck”. He proudly details: “Each veneer that goes into each deck is hand picked.” He buys local (wood from Quebec, for instance) in small batches, presses, shapes and hand paints the decks himself also, when he can, he promotes local artists to draw on the skateboards. “So, Troubl3 is giving the middle finger to a lot of skate shops that do not support local people who make stuff. They say they are local, but do not buy local”, Andrew reenforces, protesting against the rules of the game. “I always compare skateboards with pizza. I love pizza: a large one costs 50 bucks, the same you pay for a skateboard sometimes. Those skateboards are made overseas, they cost nothing to make, the price of pizza is gone to double, but the price of skateboards stayed the same for 30 years." “I evoke Paul Schmitt’s case all the time: a big name in this industry who shifted his business from California to Tijuana because people want to keep the price of a skateboard at 50 of 60 dollars for eternity. So, to keep his business going and pay his people, he had to move”, Andrew says.   He likes to be different. “Being marginalized is something good in skateboarding”. Although he admits the way he runs business is not sustainable: “The breakeven would be making 250 skateboards a month. Right now, I have had a month when I made four or five, others one or two.” It doesn’t matter. He believes this is the way. And he gives a discount if people really ride them and not just hang his skateboards on the wall. Authenticity is his brand, like the style he prefers for riders: “I like to see the most unorthodox skater. Do you do treflips? Fantastic, so can any other kid. I don’t care, throw your board against the wall, flip it on your head, do a back flip, do something I want to see. It’s different, do skateboarding and not do what others do.” “There’s a kid in Indonesia I started to follow who's skateboarding reminds me of a young Christian Hosoi. When I see the kid skate I can recognize Christian Hosoi’s influence. Can you recognize the inventors of other tricks you see people do at the park?”, he asks. Andrew sponsors five “troublemakers”: Eric Martin (Ontario), Dustin Lawrence (Ontario), Connor Callan aka Meat Feet (Arizona), Luis Uribe (Texas), Shinichi Nichiyama (Japan). He enjoys watching them and supports them the way he can. About his local skateparks, Andrew recommends: Bob MacQuarrie skatepark in Otawa Joel Gauthier skatepark in Rockland Local bus stop where where it's super smooth and is perfect for slappies, now that people stopped using busses, due to Covid, it's always empty and available.

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