Inspired by his three teenaged skater sons, Steve Gross invented a contraption he calls Sk8Drive, a gas-powered engine that hooks up to the back wheels of a skateboard and can propel riders up to speeds of 39 miles an hour.
“It was a way to skate with my kids and maybe keep up with them,” Gross said. “But it kind of took on a life of its own.”
After making a few Sk8Drive prototypes, Gross convinced his wife to sell most of their possessions, buy an RV and head out to promote the invention and look for investors. The family headed to San Diego to make videos of people using Sk8Drive and to be closer to his daughter and an active skater culture. You can often spot the Grosses out and about at places like Fiesta Island zooming around on their gas-powered boards.---
“We just hoped someone would find us and, lo and behold, the History channel contacted us and asked of if we wanted to be on a show," said Gross.
The History's Invention USA show debuted a few weeks ago and Gross and his family will be the featured on the Dec. 23 episode. It's the moment Gross—who makes a living as a freelance contractor by standing in Home Depot parking lots early every morning—has been waiting for. He thinks once the episode airs, he'll have folks lining up to invest in the product.
“We're in awe that we're all going to be on TV,” Gross said. “We're just a bighearted family…. kind of like The Beverly Hillbillies—people call us the Grossbillies. After the show airs, there's no doubt in my mind that at least people will know who we are and what we're doing out here.”