New life for old boards
Skateboard recycler wants to bring
the right to roll to underprivileged kids
Photo Rachel Granofsky
by CHRIS BARRY
Name: Pablo Perugorria
His thing: Main man behind RECY-kate
Bio: This loveable, vaguely quixotic Argentinean fella arrived in Montreal with his girlfriend Andrea some eight years ago looking for work as a video editor, soon finding his current gig on the Discovery program How It’s Made. “There wasn’t much work in Argentina, but finding a job here was easy—of course, I had a Montreal friend who already worked in television, so that helped.” Deciding they liked it here, the couple settled into their Rosemont digs and, six years ago, birthed themselves one bouncing baby boy by the name of Juan-Pablo. Last year, Pablo purchased a skateboard for lil’ JP, something he found himself riding far more often than his son, who was initially skeptical about the gizmo, much preferring his bicycle. As Pablo became more immersed in skate culture, he started noticing “how people here just threw their old skateboard stuff away when it could so easily be recycled and re-used, preferably by kids from low-income families.” So guess what happened next? Yup, Pablo started up something he calls RECY-kate to do just that and has been struggling to make it run smoothly ever since. If you’ve got any old skateboarding gear to give away or would like to get involved somehow, contact him via recykate.blogspot.com.
Where he gets his stock: “I keep going to skate shops and skate parks and ask the employees to spread the word about RECY-kate. When people hear what I’m trying to do, they love giving me their stuff. I’ve got so much now: aluminum trucks, bearings, wheels, boards, bearings, helmets, knee pads—so much stuff! I mean, every inch of our apartment is covered with skate parts. I have more than 150 boards at the moment.”
Someone who is currently somewhat less than thrilled with RECY-kate: Pablo’s wife Andrea, who’d like to have her apartment back someday.
Something Andrea is no doubt looking forward to: Next spring, when Pablo hopefully relocates his operation to the soon-to-be-opened Taz Mahal skate centre. “They say they’ll be giving me a space to store my stuff, where I can also give workshops to underprivileged kids who want to skate but can’t afford a decent board. I’ll teach them how to make one from recycled parts that they can keep afterwards.”
The number of skateboards he’s given away to date: Very few. “Actually, I’ve found it’s hard to give them away. I’ve tried giving them to kids in the park before but it’s weird, because whenever you go up to a child and offer them things for free, their parents tend to be pretty suspicious of your intent. I guess that’s normal, that’s why it’ll be so much better when I’m hooked up with an institution like Taz, so everybody will know for sure that what I’m doing is clean and legitimate.”
So in the meantime, can any bozo reading this column who figures they’d like a skateboard just stop by and take one? “Well, I really want them going to poor children, but I guess if somebody called me up saying, ‘Hey, I really want to ride but don’t have the money to buy a board,’ I’d give them one, for sure.”
Last book read: Brooklyn Follies, by Paul Auster.
Musical preferences: R.E.M., Bedouin Soundclash, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Alpha Blondy.
Words of wisdom: “Skateboarding makes sense.”