George Rocha can’t say for sure if it’s typical for skateboarders to keep stacks of broken decks in their garages, but he sure did. See, George is the kind of skater who remembers the first board he ever rode.
Actually, he remembers the brand of every single board he ever rode – from the first Vision Tom Groholski he ever spent his cold hard cash on to the gorgeous recycled decks he creates and rides today around the kidney shaped concrete bowl in his back yard and the sloping streets around his Outer Sunset neighborhood in San Francisco.
He’s a passionate skater who dedicated his life to the sport, spending nearly 20 years building DIY skate parks, ensuring people always had a great place to skate. One day, looking at those busted boards in his garage he had an idea.
“Aside from taking a tree that’s died naturally and cutting it into the shape of a skateboard, you can’t make anything that doesn’t have some impact on the environment,” he says.
But he thought - what if he could take those boards and somehow put them together again –
“What better destiny for a broken skateboard than to continue being a skateboard?”
So he got out his grinder, saws and a non-toxic epoxy and put together a prototype. “It was a challenge just to develop the technique,” he admits.
After a few tries he got a board that performed the way he dreamed and Iris Skateboards was born.
Now George gets broken decks from skate shops and companies around the Bay Area and beyond, carefully ripping grip tape, sanding, fusing together, cutting, shaping and sanding each one before finishing the top with 100 percent recycled crushed glass and getting them out on the road.
“Sometimes I get skate boards that aren’t used, they’re more like, discontinued – so they’re still functional skate boards and I don’t feel that would be appropriate to make them into one of my boards, because they don’t need to be recycled.”
Instead, he donates those boards to kids who need a board – ensuring everyone has a chance to ride.