Inventor, Carson Kropfl
Carson Kropfl of San Clemente, CA started Locker Board in October 2016, when he was 11 years old. He had just begun middle school and wanted a skateboard that fit in his backpack and locker. None of his skateboards would, so he decided to create one. His parent's told him he had to clean and do chores to pay for his surf contests and surf lessons. Carson hates to clean, so he asked if he could try selling his Locker Board skateboards instead. Now, he's designed the only non-folding, sustainable skateboard on the market that can fit inside a backpack, appeared on Shark Tank and landed Sir Richard Branson as his investor.
(Read about his first company, Streetubez, here).
Upcycled for New Life
At first, Carson personally designed and built every Locker Board skateboard by hand in his modest backyard workshop out of used, recycled boards. Now, to keep up with increasingly high demand, the company uses the renowned board maker PS Stix Skateboard Manufacturing to handle production.
Locker Board skateboard decks are still upcycled from recycled skateboard decks provided by our manufacturer. However, the recycled skateboard decks are NEW and unused - they are decks that were slightly blemish during the artwork application process at the manufacturer. Manufacturers throw away thousands of boards a year due to slight blemishes that occur during the art application process. Carson rescues these boards from landfills (over 13 million decks are thrown away each year in the US).
He taught his manufacturer, PS Stix, his process. They reshape the blemished decks into Locker Board decks, sand out the blemish and apply the new Locker Board artwork. Each board is unique in color and sanding pattern - creating a one-of-a-kind Locker Board deck.
Locker Board and Nike
Carson’s interest in creating sustainable boards grew even stronger during a visit to Nike World Headquarters in March, 2017 with the Independent Youth Organization. IYO is a non-profit organization through which Carson educates other young people about the joys and challenges of starting a business.
While at Nike, Carson met Noah Murphy-Reinhertz, a sustainability expert in Nike's Space Kitchen with a key role on the company’s renowned Sustainable Innovation Team. Noah helps Nike conceive and bring to market more sustainable products and services. After the Nike tour, Carson and Noah kept in touch, and a few months later, Noah began mentoring the Kropfl’s on how to research and develop sustainable products.
Locker Board and Ocean Unite
Locker Board’s sustainability-driven business model emphasizes upcycling and reuse of recycled materials, effectively reducing the volume of manufactured waste destined for local landfills. The US is the top producer of trash in the world and has a social responsibility to to stop the pollution of it's planet.
Carson's company and products have been inspired by his love of the ocean. He started Locker Board to pay for his surf contests and surf lessons. He invented his first product, Streetubez, so that he could surf anywhere, anytime.
The ocean needs our help. It's turning into plastic soup. Over 8 million tons of plastic goes in the ocean each year. In 2050 it's estimated that there will be more plastic then fish in the ocean. Locker Board now donates $1 for each skateboard sold to Ocean Unite. Ocean Unite is a non-profit focused on uniting and activating powerful voices for ocean conservation.
Shark Tank and Sir Richard Branson
At age 11, Locker Board founder Carson Kropfl faced the “Sharks” in the season 9 premiere of ABC’s hit business reality show Shark Tank and struck a deal for his innovative skateboard company. The show’s celebrity investors heard the young entrepreneur’s pitch and fought to partner with Locker Board, the first non-folding, compact and sustainable skateboard designed to fit in a locker or backpack.
Now 12 years old, Locker Board founder Carson Kropfl of Orange County, California, impressed the group of “Sharks” with a skate demonstration on his portable skateboard alongside his skater friend Sierra Downer. Carson, who was joined by his mother Carrie Kropfl during his pitch, went in asking for $60,000 for 15 percent equity, and ended up accepting $65,000 for a 20 percent stake. Carson left during the negotiation to call his father, Kieth Kropfl, for advice before accepting Sir Richard Branson's offer.
Sir Richard Branson, business magnate, investor, philanthropist and founder of the Virgin Group, outbid Mark Cuban, billionaire businessman and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, as well as Robert Herjavec, tech entrepreneur and investor, for the opportunity to invest in Locker Board. Branson told Carson that the reason he invested in the 7th grader was because he reminded him of himself.