photography by Scott Womack

Man on Deck

Since he first picked up a skateboard as a kid growing up in Venezuela, Al Coker has been testing his mettle on four wheels. Even now, at age 53, he skates several times a week. By day he is the principal of Al Coker and Associates, a real estate consulting firm that did $500 million in sales last year. The venture more dear to his heart, however, is Guapo Skateboards, his startup that launched a line of skateboards in April. The boards, made from wood from rapid-growth sustainable maple forests, are manufactured in Mexico, but designed here by local graphic artists. They range from $40 to $70 and are sold nationally and nearby at C&S Skateshop and Alliance Skate Park. This year Coker also opened the members-only Guapo Skill Center skate park near downtown, where he and other local boarders, whom he refers to as the “Guapo fam,” go to perfect their ollies. The first phase of the park is complete, but Coker is seeking sponsors to build a bowl and another street course. Come fall, he’s introducing Guapo clothing for boarders and surfers (t-shirts are already available online at All of which turns the stereotype of skateboarders as apathetic slackers on its ear. “Skateboarders are successful businesspeople,” Coker says. “Skateboarding is a way to give back to society.”

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