Welcome back to a very special week of Comacan questions, this week we have a creator that makes his product – HIS way. By far our longest interview to date, which goes to show the true love and passion that goes into his work. Specializing in, but not limited to handcrafted skateboards this company has art and passion engrained in every product they put out. Their focus is doing it for the love and supporting small business, never mass producing any product. Quality goods proudly made right here in the north. We are proud to present our interview with the one and only Andrew A, owner of Troubl3 Skateboards.
1. Where does the name Troubl3 skateboards come from?
The name comes from experiences I’ve had growing up and as an adult. It was common that when I rolled up somewhere on my deck or walked in a room, that I would hear “Here is trouble” or “he is trouble”. In a way I would take it as a badge of honour or street cred, but after a while I noticed that it was a term used by teachers and authorities as an insult and judgement. It was a term used to cast me aside and give up on me. “He is trouble, he is a bad apple, he is not worth it.” Let’s just say that I had some challenges growing up and school was tough. I didn’t have positive role models to help me make great decisions.
But as a skater I truly believe that we are tougher than most. More persistent than most and are used to being cast aside, so our skin is thick. After meeting the right person, I said FU to the teachers, some not so nice family members and authorities that said I would never amount to nothing.…. they were wrong, for the record, i have done many wicked things! So, take that.
Fast forward to my adulthood, where I’m working as a professional and I find that the status quo is the only expectation. ……. So here I am again, an outcast, troublemaker. Why? Because I want things to get better, I question the leadership, I am vocal against poor decisions and political bullshit and I can’t stand inequality and preferential treatment of others based on “who you know”. So, I am again considered to be TROUBL3.
TROUBL3 SKATEBOARDS came at a time where I was struggling with personal and professional issues. Skateboarding has always been there, but I wanted a place where I could create something with my own hands, something to make others smile. What else makes you smile more than a fresh skateboard deck? So I did it and around the same time I also started drawing the PUNKO BOTS for fun and as a tribute to being trouble and going against the norms.
With TROUBL3 I can make the decisions away from the norm, expectations, politics, judgment and corporate goals. Believe it or not, it is just as hard to not conform within the skateboard industry. Things have been done one way for so many decades and so many benefits from the mass production and offshoring of skate equipment, that many are pushing against any positive change in the industry. I refuse to give in so… Again, here is TROUBL3.
So, I guess the name is meant to empower me and others, to accept who they are and use it as their special superpower.
To me causing TROUBL3 means: don’t take shit, question decisions, disrupt the status quo, push for improvement everywhere, expect equality always, treat others with respect and above all TROUBL3 means zero judgement!
2. Where are you based out of?
TROUBL3 is just east of Ottawa, Canada.
3. When did you start Troubl3?
The TROUBL3 mission and attitude has always been there, but I’d say officially 2018.
4. Who is Troubl3 run by?
One dude…Andrew…and the Punko Bots.
The TROUBL3 PUNKO BOTS arrived on earth looking to destroy it. Until they tried skateboarding and then everything changed. They have devoted their existence to protecting planet earth and all of its people from the evil power of boredom enforced by “The Department of Status Quo”. The DSQ hails from the same planet as the PUNKO BOTS, with a mission to return the PUNKOS back to their mission and make everything boring again.
5. How did you get into building your own boards?
For years before TROUBL3 was setup, I started looking around for decks, something that spoke to me. Something local, something made from scratch right here. Something that can be custom and still shred…not just considered an art piece. I could not find it…
I can recall from my younger years, I spent some time in Europe, where I surfed and skated. I was lucky enough to be around the surfboard shaping scene (Shoutout to Nuno Matta). I was able to hang out and watch and sweep up the shops (just so I could be allowed in).
Most surfboards are custom. I remember back then, wanting so badly to do the same custom work for skateboards.
I made my first deck, when I was 13. I used plywood, steam and fibreglass. Over the years I made other types, most were junky, but it was the start of something…a good feeling that I would eventually want to get back, later in my life.
Fast forward to 2018, and TROUBL3 was born out of trial and error, as an FU to the status quo and massive amounts of blood sweat and tears….happy ones though.
6. What other products do you offer?
TROUBL3 is mainly about making one by one custom decks. All the products are handmade. I press, I shape, I paint and finish.
I have various molds for different concaves and styles of boards. I can make boards for the tiny rippers to the old school OG slashers.
I have all the hardware you need to setup a complete. As well as a partnership with Jimmy from @grippinjimmyswheels. His wheels are also custom designed with wicked colours and shapes.
Lastly, I have some threads for the sexy TROUBL3 makers. Mostly tees and hats featuring in-house art and Punko Bots.
All the art on the decks is original, the art on the site and stickers are also all original.
7. Where can people view these products?
8. How can people contact you?
Visit TROUBL3skateboards.com and there is a contact form you can use to contact us anytime. Or if you are on Instagram send a dm to @troubl3skateboards
Either one will get to me. Don’t be shy, if you have a question regarding setting up a board or choosing something or advice on what to get, let me know.
9. Do you do custom pieces?
All the decks are made custom. I do have some designs you can pick from, but they are all unique.
The wheels from Jimmy are also custom.
Even the clothing is made in tiny batches, nothing is mass produced… ever.
10. How do you feel about working with local brands?
I love working with local brands. I invest a significant amount of time sourcing materials from the region. Glue and even the paper I use to wrap the decks, have to be local and eco-friendly. The wood and the tools are sourced from companies that employ local workers. The costs for me on materials are much higher, but the quality of the materials and the investment in community is also much higher.
11. What do you like most about making the products by hand?
For me it’s an escape, a place where I can challenge myself, fail, try, fail, succeed. In a world where most things are digital or virtual, it’s humanizing to touch and feel and hold something. I enjoy the entire process from the gluing to the art, it’s a rewarding experience…. therapeutic almost.
12. What makes Troubl3 skateboards special?
Hmmm…I don’t think we are special. But here it goes….
FROM A DREAM TO A GARAGE WOOD SHOP, MAKING SKATEBOARDS.
IN TRUE PUNKO BOT STYLE, GOING AGAINST THE RULING POWERS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATUS QUO (DSQ), AND DOING IT OURSELVES.
WHEN IT COMES TO MAKING OUR SKATEBOARDS, WE ARE COMMITTED TO EXCEPTIONAL CRAFTSMANSHIP, USING THE BEST CANADIAN SOURCED MATERIALS AND SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES.
AT TROUBL3 SKATEBOARDS WE MAKE OUR DECKS ONE BY ONE, TO ENSURE THEIR QUALITY AND DURABILITY – BECAUSE QUALITY OVER QUANTITY IS OUR GOAL. ALL ART AND GRAPHICAL DESIGN IS DONE BY HAND AND BY LOCAL INDEPENDENT ARTISTS.
WE ARE OWNED AND OPERATED BY SKATERS FOR SKATERS. 100% INDEPENDENT.
Here are some other goals I hope to achieve with TROUBL3:
– Promote inclusiveness in skateboarding
– Make the best and toughest decks in the world
– Make decks that are truly unique
– Promote locally made products
– Invest in the community, be eco conscious and really, I want everyone to feel that they can skateboard anywhere in any way they want without fear of judgement or harassment.
It still surprises me when skaters out there make fun or try to intimidate other skaters. Either you are no good at it or do it for the wrong reasons and you are hating on others…which you shouldn’t. Or you are very good but have a crap attitude and you make others feel like shit… Either way you are being a crappy human. So, work on that!
I say…. Skate like no one is watching. Do you and be you!
13. What does skateboarding mean to you?
Man… skateboarding always gets me. It’s there when I am happy, it’s there when I need a break, it’s there when I need to calm down, it’s there when I hang with great people, its skateboarding that makes me look at the world differently, skateboarding means no quitting, it means get it done no matter what, don’t take no for an answer, I will always be part of something, community, I can always dream, and I will always enjoy freedom because of skateboarding.
14. Anyone you’d like to thank?
Everyone that has and continues to support TROUBL3 and believes in TROUBL3.
Everyone that regardless of age and ability is out there skating and inspiring others.
Thanks to Kyle “the herb cat”, a wicked part of the skate team, for sticking with TROUBL3 and being such a wicked ambassador for skateboarding and TROUBL3.
Others for their ongoing love and inspiration:
– Bliss Skateshop
– Comacan Skateboards
– Skateboard Makers Union – SMU 4 Life
– All the other makers across the globe from Canada, US, Australia, France, Singapore and so many others in between ❤️ Much love
– Prof Paul Schmitt from PS Stix
– Daniel Creadon from Factory13
And lastly my friends and fam! Stay Rad! 👊🤘❤️