As a multi-billion dollar industry, skateboarding continues to attract millions of adult and kid skaters alike. While this simple product may not seem environmentally harmful at first glance, every year many skateboarders go through several boards and about 2 million decks find themselves in landfills.
These trashed boards are often broken or worn out from use, but many other discarded skateboards are from factories which constantly produce new decks to keep up with demand. Blemished items in the manufacturing phase can’t be sold and consequently must be tossed. Locker Board, a company based in California, is helping divert hundreds of discarded decks by turning them into unique skateboards that can fit in backpacks and lockers.
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The inventor behind this innovation is Carson Kropfl. In 2016, 11 year old Carson realized his skateboard wouldn’t fit in his locker, so he found old ones at a skate shop and cut the ends down to size. Realizing he could repurpose and sell his customized skateboards to pay for his surf contests, a business was born. The company’s distinctive boards were able to stand out as a product designed by a kid for kids. The result was the market’s only non-folding skateboard ideal for tight spaces and easy travel.
Carson told Green Matters in an email interview, "It's really important to me that I keep my company focused on creating cool, sustainable products that inspire people to shred hard, dream hard and work hard." He went on to add, "My artwork is 50 percent transparent so you that you can see the sustainable deck and the cool patterns and colors the sanding creates. Each board is one-of-a-kind."
While Carson first started off by collecting discarded skateboards at local shops and hand-making them in his backyard workshop, the business naturally evolved. Today, Locker Boards works with PS Stix Skateboard Manufacturing, who help repurpose boards and save decks with blemished artwork which would otherwise be thrown away. As a result every board has a unique sanding pattern and color.
Carson designed the boards to be practical while saving the planet but performance was also a priority. He made sure the smaller design was still a smooth ride and suggests these are as easy to use as a traditional board, but it's all about slightly closer foot placement. The company encourages riders to keep feet on the bolts of the deck when riding around.
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While saving imperfect boards may help reduce landfill waste, Locker Board also gives back to the ocean. Carson’s love of surfing is what inspired him to create this new board so when he learned about how much plastic is destroying the ocean, it made sense to help through his company. For every skateboard purchased, Locker Board donates $1 to Ocean Unite, an organization focused on ocean conservation.
Like most purpose driven companies, Locker Board caught the eye of likeminded investors. The young entrepreneur pitched his company on the popular TV show Shark Tank and found himself having to choose between investors Robert Herjavec, Mark Cuban, and Sir Richard Branson. Branson, a business leader with a passion for the environment, won out and invested $65,000 in Carson’s company. Not bad for an 11-year-old who started out just looking for a way to peruse his love of skateboarding and surfing.
Today, the company keeps growing and recently announced the release of two new boards designs: The Gold Bar and Golden Nugget. As Locker Board expands, the future is bright for Carson Kropfl who, at the young age of 12 has not only launched a problem solving company and signed on a world famous investor, but has also had his own TedX talk, worked with Nike's sustainability team and received an encouraging letter from a U.S. President. All because he believed he could made a difference with one sustainable product.
🌍HAPPY EARTH DAY🌍 To celebrate Mother Nature, let’s take care of her! I’m challenging YOU to recycle ♻️ one plastic water bottle today. Post it on your story and tag me at @lockerboard and I’ll DM you a 15% off promo (video says 10%, but now you get 15% off!) code for your very own lockerboard!! First 50 people to tag me will get the promo code, so get to recylcin’ so we save our oceans 🌊 and our earth. ALSO, for every lockerboard sold, we donate $1 to @oceanunite to help save our oceans from becoming plastic soup. 🙌🏽