Skaters turned entrepreneurs are introducing a new type of sustainably-produced skateboard to the streets
By Kirsten Merritt
Are you skating on a board that is built mostly using fake wood—a board that lacks longevity? Part-time Capitola residents Tait Detro and Margot Czeropski could probably tell you. The pair just launched a new sustainable longboard company called Potaito Boards. Their production message is unique to the skate industry—they create handmade longboards from whole cuts of reclaimed wood, shaping them into three different models that each possess “beautifully strong craftsmanship, wicked kicktail, and well-researched rideability,” Czeropski says.
While there are other skate companies that make boards using similar upcycling practices, “most boards made of reclaimed wood are flat and not as high-quality oriented as ours,” Detro explains. “We put in a lot of effort to produce the shapes of a regular skateboard.” Detro grew up working in his dad’s high-end cabinet store in East Palo Alto, the same place they currently produce their boards. When asked who does the woodwork, Czeropski explains, “Tait’s pretty experienced when it comes to that. He grew up making skateboards out of the off cuts of cabinets.” Detro adds, “I’ve been making boards for quite a long time, about 9 years.”
As long-time skaters, Detro and Czeropski were unsatisfied with the products the industry was offering, along with the practices being used, so they set out to create their own designs. Detro explained that a lot of companies use methods to produce boards that have a negative impact on the environment. He added, “They just have a computer-generated veneer under normal maple or normal birch wood. It’s just totally artificial.”
These boards composed of fake wood lack durability in the long run. Margot mentions that another drawback that exists in the longboard industry is the lack of availability of boards geared toward everyday commuter use: “A lot of companies out there market toward downhill riders or their products are made in other countries. I think there is definitely a gap in the market for high-quality, made-in-USA, sustainable cruisers that can be used by anybody.” Until now, that is.
Potaito Boards offers three models: “The Wedge,” “The Taiter,” and “The Baked.” The variety of boards appeals to a large range of riders, offering something for everyone. “The Wedge,” their smallest board, is a hybrid between a standard skate deck and a mini cruiser—it can be suitable for either riding style depending on the setup the rider chooses. Of course, they created designs to accommodate those who feel similarly about the lack of commuter boards as Margot mentioned. “The Taiter” and “The Baked” are now on the menu.
In addition to all of the woodwork being done by Detro, all other parts on a Potaito Board—wheels, trucks, as well as hardware— are made in the United States. They are currently working on building partnerships with Bay Area woodshops to make sure they have a steady influx of quality wood. Margot explains, “[woodshops] normally have to pay someone to pick up their unused wood or they throw all their wood in the fireplace. They get rid of really nice pieces that we can actually work with.” They see this as a long-sustaining route, a way to continue turning one person’s trash into another person’s treasured Potaito Board.
To see Tait and Margot’s creations, check out Berdels in downtown Santa Cruz at 1233 Pacific Ave. They’re on display in the front window and available for purchase.
You can also check out their website at potaitoboards.com.