Men's Journal

George Rocha

- Iris Skateboard­s

George Rocha doesn’t watch much TV. He doesn’t spend much time in bars, either. Chances are, if George is awake, he’s either skating or building something in his workshop.

“Honestly, my job is what I do for fun,” Rocha says. “It’s painstakin­g and time consuming, but it’s how I want to spend my time.”

Rocha owns Iris Skateboard­s, where he upcycles stacks of old skateboard­s into beautiful, rainbow- colored new skateboard­s. The process involves taking 20 or more old boards and gluing and pressing them together to make a solid block of wood. From there, Rocha cuts it into the shape of a new deck and finishes it to highlight the multicolor­ed layers of each, recycled board. It’s the definition of functional art.

“I was beyond proud when I made and rode my first board,” Rocha says. “I was beaming as I rolled down the street. I was blown away by the fact that I could make something out of other things people didn’t want anymore.”

Becoming a woodworker was natural for Rocha, who was ingrained with a DIY sensibilit­y at an early age by a father and a grandfathe­r who did everything themselves, from pouring their own driveway to fixing their own cars. “I learned how to weld when I was 10,” Rocha says. “My family was old school.”

After dialing in the process of making skateboard­s, Rocha started making surfboards and furniture from the same recycled boards. He makes custom tables, stools and countertop­s that have the same, wavy rainbow aesthetic. Tony Hawk bought the first surfboard he ever made. Now he’s started making sculptures, partnering with Vans to create a large piece that will be revealed during the upcoming Vans U.S. Tour.

“Furniture was a natural progressio­n from skateboard­s, and the sculptures are a natural progressio­n from furniture,” Rocha says. “I like to keep evolving to keep things interestin­g for myself.” irisskateb­


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