Skating Along The Road Less Traveled
Not every person in this world is destined for the standard path to success. As Robert Frost once penned, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I…took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Brock Harris has taken the road less traveled, but it was the path he was meant to take and it has made all the difference.
A Utah native, Harris is a reluctant graduate of Alta High School and an unrepentant snowboard and skateboard addict. He started skateboarding at a very early age, trying to keep up with his older brother Trent. Brock was Trent’s most loyal disciple and wanted to do everything his big brother did, which also included a love of art and design, in addition to skateboarding.
At the age of 12, Harris began snowboarding and found his home and first love on the slopes of Brighton in Big Cottonwood Canyon. He was a self-taught acrobat and could amplify the tricks on the ski slopes. He would spend hours upside down working on flips and spinning, skills that just came naturally to him. He even got early release from high school for a job with the sole purpose of maximizing as much time as possible at the ski resort.
When Brock turned 17 he decided he wanted to become a professional snowboarder. College was not on his radar. During the spring of that year, Brock met Seth Huot. They formed an immediate friendship based on their mutual obsession with snowboarding. It was all consuming. Seth Huot, now a snowboarding legend, turned pro soon after and with Huot’s help and the guidance of a few other close friends, paved the way for Brock to turn pro a few years later. With sponsors like Burton, Nixon, Electric and Ogio, Brock was paid to invent tricks, travel internationally, do photo shoots, win competitions and be an ambassador to promote company brands. He did this for five years, but had to retire because of injuries.
During his stint as a professional, Harris was able to tap into talents he didn’t consciously know he had, like product design and development. “I had an extraordinary amount of passion. I was developing into a product designer, and I didn’t even know it.” Brock always had input as a professional and he had the ability to articulate why products needed to be changed and how to do it.
With the end of his snowboarding career, Harris had to find a new profession. It didn’t take long for him to realize that he loved the idea of being an entrepreneur and decided to start a skateboard company called Binary and an indoor skate park. As Harris observed, “Binary was a great experience in learning how to run a business. We had everything going for us, the best team, the best skate park, and the best products on the market, but I still had a lot to learn. I consider these times my college years in business.”
After Binary and the skate park folded, he started Mothership Distribution, a company that manufactured shop decks for local skate shops. He would manufacture plain skateboards at a factory in China and then customize them here in Utah, which were then sold in local stores like Milosport. It was an OEM (original equipment manufacturers) business. Soon after, Harris partnered up with Nate Coan, Chris Brunstetter and Dustin Ortiz and started GoldCoast Skateboards.
GoldCoast is a design-centric skateboard and longboard lifestyle company. They purposefully stopped looking at what other people were doing and just started to design the perfect skateboard based on Harris’ extensive knowledge and expertise. The skateboards are made with every detail in mind. The boards are carried in major stores like Zumiez, Tilly’s and Van’s. GoldCoast, now six years old, covers the globe and has risen to be one of the most renowned skateboard companies in the industry. It is currently in 26 countries and the brand continues to expand.
Brock Harris is fortunate to have found success with something that he loves so much. All those years on the ski slopes, snowboarding his guts out have yielded big dividends for him. He found his passion, he found his life’s work, and he even met his wife Bri while snowboarding. Now Harris, a happily married father of three young children is grateful that he took a snow-covered road less traveled because it really has made all the difference in his life.