History of Skateboarding
The Advent of Skateboarding (1940's-1950's)
It's hard to think that skateboarding ever even started anywhere. It seems like an omnipresent sport that has been around forever, since the dawn of our days. But, sorry to burst your bubble, cavemen weren't doing ollies and the Flintstones weren't doing fakie kickflips off a halfpipe.
Sixty years ago, starting in 1958, what resembles 'skateboards' are first constructed by attaching roller skates to the bottom side of a board. This is the advent of skateboarding. As surfing takes off alongside, skating became a way to surf when there are no waves. Take a stroll back to memory lane and think of Rocket Power, where Otto and the gang would take to the streets and go out skating when the surf was flat. With the similarities you find between the two sports growing in their infancy, the phrase was coined, "sidewalk surfing".
Just the next year, in 1959, the company "Roller Derby" generally known for specializing in roller skates, produces a skateboard with metal wheels on a large scale.
Over the next few years, starting from early 1963 through 1966 companies began to come in like Makaha and Hobie creating even better-quality skateboard for an emerging market. These new boards had clay wheels and even had trucks which were made to fit this new niche. As skating became more popular the first skate contest was hosted in Hermosa Beach, California in the year 1963.
To add to the buzz in 1964 the musical group, Jan and Dean make an appearance on the Dick Clark's American Bandstand and sung the song "Sidewalk Surfing".
..."Grab your board and go sidewalk surfin' with me... Don't be afraid to try the newest sport around (Bust your buns, bust your buns now) It's catchin' on in every city and town You can do the tricks the surfers do, just try a "Quasimodo" or "The Coffin" too (why don't you) Grab your board and go sidewalk surfin' with me... You'll probably wipeout when you first try to shoot the curve (Bust your buns, bust your buns now)."..
At the start of the show, Dean does a few easy tricks and rides the board across the stage. Around the same time, Surfer Magazine releases a new quarterly magazine called Skateboarder. A total of only four issues are printed with ABC Wide World of Sports following up in the same year broadcasting the Skateboarding Championships inviting a whole new audience to enjoy the sport.
Skateboarding begins to invent itself in a whole new way in 1973 with the new invention of urethane wheels, this brings untold new possibilities to light. A ride that was once very noisy and a bumpy especially while street skating, is now smooth and silent, breaking way for new terrain. Bringing in new skate spots like banks and ditches since these new wheels are able to grip the concrete.
Famous surfers like Larry Bertlemann are influential in introducing a new radical form of skating as surfing begins to turn towards an even shorter board with even more fluid movement and in the process influencing the way in which people skate. With this new style, it transforms skating into more of what it is today.
With everything else that is fairly new people begin to experiment creating progression. Through the years 1973-1975 surf shops begin to use fin-material to design fiberglass boards, which are an instant success with the surf crowd becoming popular, leading to companies to experiment with various kinds of skateboard decks making them from anything ranging from wood to aluminum. The first feature-length skate film also makes its debut called, Spinnin' Wheels.
The following year through 1978 the California drought forces all homeowners to drain their pools. With the introduction of urethane wheels the previous year this opens up new territory for skaters, conjuring new tricks being invented around the clock.
Skaters invent the aerials, more commonly known as 'airs', which are performed on half-pipes, pools, or quarter pipes where you have the ability to hit a vertical wall with a transition available. This trick set combines a rotation with different grabs.
This style trick can be executed by ollieng just as the front skateboard wheels reach the lip of a ramp, or by lifting the front wheels over the lip. Common forms of this trick are 180's, 540's, and the 900 made popular by Tony Hawk when he did it on live tv for the world to see. The ollie was invented during this time making this trick possible.
Concrete skateparks began to make their way during this time first being constructed as professional skaters began to get noticed. Many of these parks are forced to close since attendance was still low, and because of the liability on the park insurance rates were very high.
At the turn of the next decade in the 80's street-skating turns regular handrails and walls around town into free skate parks. Skater-owned companies began to spring up and become more and more common.
In the 1990's skateboarding becomes the sport as we see it, and what we grew up seeing, taking a huge leap into the mainstream world with the first annual ESPN's X-Games turning skateboarding into more of a spectator sport. Skating begins to make its appearance in commercials for phone companies and even soft drinks.
Fashion brands began to turn focus to skaters creating gear designed strictly for skaters beginning new trends in clothing.
With advancements in skating, skateboarding can be enjoyed by children as young as two, but in 2000 most skaters ranged in age from the early teens to those in their twenties. Cities built high-quality skate parks, and many camps and lessons devoted to young people.
Bringing us to today where skateboarding is not only a pastime but a modern day sport enjoyed by many. Even Lil' Wayne taking a liking to it, developing his own brand Trukfit. Skateboarding is a sport that can be enjoyed and learned at any age.
Just make sure to take precaution, and always ride safe.
Happy Skating! 😋
Sources: Scholastic; Wikipedia