Habitat Skateboards started more than 20 years ago as a sister company to Alien Workshop, later joining the Tum Yeto Collective in 2014. Among the company’s historic highlights, Habitat’s eco-minded founder released one of the first skate decks made from hemp. Though no longer in production, the hemp decks are still a classic find, and they helped inspire other companies to keep the hemp boards rolling.
Rolkaz in Slovenia started despite a failed Kickstarter campaign in 2017, and the company now produces decks made with locally sourced hemp fiber and distributed around the world. “Thinner, stronger and longer lasting,” says Rolkaz of their street and cruiser decks, which stand out for having the cleanest designs and a fast-rising global profile.
On the American side of the Atlantic, San Diego-based HEMPZOO produces skate decks and pads, and the company collaborates with Vibronic on versatile hemp-rubber composite wheels. All products are made in the U.S., including customized decks. Hemp has also made its way into the art-skate scene. Cathy Lee, known for her hemp- and cannabis-themed art, hand paints one-off decks made from hemp, including this cruiser currently for sale on Amazon.
Bigger brands like Holesome, Clutch, Gravity and Arbor Collective have all reportedly used hemp in some way in their skate products, while fashion brands like Vans and Element have produced hemp shoes, and Zero Skateboards and Grizzly even make hemp grip tape.
Some companies have admittedly suffered from false starts. Another San Diego-based hemp skate company, Granny Smith Sports, made a big debut a few years ago but appears to have stopped production in 2018. Lotus Boards also fell short after making some noise in 2015. Still, the number of entrepreneurs embracing the idea of hemp decks highlights the growing momentum.
Hemp continues to grow roots in the skate community, especially among those who see the ecological value in moving away from maple wood decks. With the continued expansion of hemp farming and consumption, hemp decks will continue to multiply as more and more skaters embrace their structural and environment value.