The inspiration behind Rockochet came three years ago. It was Halloween night and I received a seemingly ordinary call from my sister. I was in the middle of taking pictures of my adorable little kids in costumes, getting ready to head out to trick or treat. The joy and laughter surrounding me as I answered, was quickly overpowered by the hysterical crying that I heard on the line. I felt my breathing stop as I could barely make out the words, “Marco got run over by a car.”
Marco, was 15 at the time of this accident. He was a very dedicated skater, president of a skating club, with aspirations of someday turning pro. To say that he was comfortable on a skateboard would be an understatement. But on this night, all of his skills that he built up over the years could not help him. What happened to him has happened to all skaters at some point. He hit a rock that he did not see. This “stoprock” as it’s known with skaters, wedged itself under the wheel and stopped the board instantly. Marco’s momentum did not stop and he was thrown off his board into the street. He recalls seeing the tire of the car coming straight to his face. In a split second, he tucked his shoulder and rolled and waited for impact. The car hit him and the driver panicked and instead of braking, she continued to drive for an additional 20 feet. As he was being dragged under the car, he could hear his bones breaking. He was rushed to the hospital and underwent emergency surgeries to repair his pelvis that was completely shattered and to fuse his fractured lower spine. Even after the numerous surgeries, doctors told him that because of the extensive nerve damage they were not sure if he would ever walk again. A depressed, battered young man, went home in a wheel chair not sure of what the future had in store. During the months of recovery, his leg muscles atrophied to the point where his leg was the same size as his wrist. Finally, one day Marco was able to move his toe, the first sign that his nerves were regenerating. His first statement when he realized he would regain his leg movement: “I’m going to be able to skate again.”
My first thought was that this kid is CRAZY! He almost died and he wants to skate again!?! Then my thoughts turned to the rocks. This can happen again, if not to Marco, maybe one of my kids or a kid in the next neighborhood. I hit plenty of rocks when I skated as a kid and I knew that this problem had not been solved. At that point, I consulted with Marco and went to work on designing Rockochet. Faced with challenges of deflecting rocks, but not changing the way the board performs, I was not sure if it was possible. I came up with an initial design and even though it failed, I saw enough promise to continue working on it. In essence, Rockochet was like a skater, attempt something new, fail, get up, dust yourself off and try again. To overcome something that you failed at before, empowers and motivates you to keep pushing forward. That is what makes skating great! Rockochet, has overcome all of it’s initial failures and is now ready to provide safety, without the loss of performance. We want to welcome you to a new era of skateboarding, Ride Free!