Skateboarding roots come from the era of World War II. While the war was destroying Europe, Asia, and Africa, Americans were looking for a way to relax. The first skateboard is invented during the World War II.
The first skateboards were made of wooden boards. Rollerblading wheels were attached to the board. Skateboarding roots in Europe are related to late 1944s when children were seen in the Paris riding the skateboards. It was in the late stages of World War II when France was released from Nazi Germany.
There were so many legendary skateboarders throughout the history. This thread will describe the evolution of skateboarding, alongside skateboarding roots.
Skateboarding roots – the birth of skateboarding
Skateboarding roots are the most interesting for the period of the late 1940s and early 1950s. American surfers were looking for a way to surf when there were no waves. Here is how first skateboards were looking.
At the first place, it was called “sidewalk surfing”. The first board is manufactured in Los Angeles, California. The owner, Bill Richards, made a deal, in which the rollerblading wheels were attached to the wooden boards. Skaters in the early age performed acrobatics and movements barefoot.
Skateboarding roots – 1960s
During the 1960s, there were a number of manufacturers which started to make the smaller boards. One of the first skateboarding events was held in 1963. It was promoted by Larry Stevenson, founder of Makaha, one of the first manufacturers. Skateboarding roots in the 1960s have two more important details – the first skateboarding show, called “Surf’s Up” in 1964, and the first skateboarding magazine, “The Quarterly Skateboarder”, published in 1964. The founder of the magazine was Stan Richards.
The first skateboarding event appeared on TV in 1965. There were only two disciplines – slalom downhill and flatland freestyle racing. Many television programs helped skateboarding grow during the year 1965. The most known skateboarders of the 1960s were Torger Johnson, Danny Bearer, Bruce Logan…
The popularity of skateboarding grew between years 1963 and 1965 when parents found skateboarding dangerous. The sale remains low until the early 1970s.
Skateboarding roots – 1970s
The first skateboard wheel made of polyurethane was made by Frank Nasworthy. His company was called Cadillac Wheels. In the earlier stages of skateboarding roots, the wheels were made of metal. It was a big problem. Especially when you try to perform breathless tricks. A new style of skateboarding was created and promoted.
During early 1970, there were no skateboarding parks. Skateboarders had to use urban areas to train. There were many names, like Sewer Slide, or the Egg Bowl. Later, companies started to make the areas specially designed for skateboarding. A banana board was made of polypropylene with ribs on the underside of the support and it was very popular during the 1970s.
The first huge competition with over 500 competitors was held in 1975 – Del Mar National Championships. Russ Howell dominated the contest, but Zephyr team brought a new era in the world of skateboarding. This is one of the most important moments in skateboarding roots – competitors started to compete for cash and money rewards. The popularity was growing.
The sport of street luge was very interesting at the time, but many skateboarders crushed going over 50 mph. The technology was not so precise at that days, so the sport didn’t last for long.
In the year 1976, two skateparks were opened in March. Until 1982, more than 200 skateparks is opened. Some of the known competitors at that age were Ellen Berryman, Shogo Kubo, Robin Logan, Jana Payne, Laura Thornhill, Tom Inouye, Ellen O’Neal…
Manufacturers started to experiment with new metals, like fiberglass and aluminum. The skateboards were made of maple plywood. Vert skateboarding is born at the end of the 1970s.
Skateboarding roots – 1980s
Many skateboarding companies found their part in the skateboarding market during the 1980s. These were golden years for the sport. Vert ramp and vert skateboarding competitions started to develop more and more. George Orton and Tony Alva focused on the series of grabbed aerial. Vert tricks were developed more and more. Unfortunately, many people had no money to afford vertical ramp. The street skateboarding also started to develop.
Freestyle skateboarding was gaining popularity too. Rodney Mullen was the most known skateboarder in the early 1980s. He built the basics of street skateboarding. Many new tricks were invented. Noseslide and tailslide became popular. The late 1980s made a revolution in the world of skateboarding. These are maybe the most important years for the skateboarding roots. Since there were not many skateparks, famous skateboarders rode through shopping centers, buildings, private properties… They were looking for the attention. Despite there were legal limits, skateboarders of 1980s were rebels who did what they wanted. As an era, the 1980s are known for one thing – searching its own “spot for skating”. The legends of the 1980s were Tony Hawk, Tony Alva, Steve Caballero, Christian Hosoi… The profile of the skateboarder is created – it is a rebellious, non-conforming teenager, who follows his own dreams and breaks the laws. He/she is also an adrenaline junkie.
Skateboarding roots – 1990s
This is known as the era of street skateboarding. Boards were mostly 18-20 cm wide and 76-81 cm long. The wheels were made of the new mixture – extremely hard polyurethane. Wheels became smaller, while the board became lighter. This is the time of transition in skateboarding roots. The shape of the skateboard you know today is created during the mid-90s when freestyle skateboarders needed something that will be suitable for all types of breathless tricks. The most known skateboarders of 90s were definitively Mark Gonzalez, Tony Hawk, and Bob Burnquist, who remained popular even today. He is known for the sentence that he will skate for life.
Skateboarding roots – 2000s
This era is known for rising popularity for kids under 18. Even baseball didn’t bring as much many as skateboarding did to young teenagers. Skateparks were used for commercial purposes. Skateboarding instructors started educating specific programs – Skate pass, Skateistan… Strength and conditioning training sessions gained more and more important role in the creation of the professional athlete.
Go Skateboarding Day was found in 2003. Its main goal is the promotion of the sport. It is celebrated on June 21st, every year. The number of skateboarders in the world started to grow rapidly. Many skateboarding campaigns started to take place. Good skaters were invited to skate in the skateparks and stay away from prohibited areas. A lot of money is invested in public areas and public skateparks. Rob Dyrdek, a former skateboarding champion, initiated the creation of skateboarding plazas. It costs less money than skateboarding park but keeps skateboarder of the street and dangerous zones. For example, SMP Skatepark in China is one of the biggest in the world, and it even has a huge stadium. Skateboarding Hall of Fame is opened in 2009.
Barefoot skateboarding started to revive again. It mostly happens in warmer countries, like Spain, South Africa, Brazil… The plastic penny board is used for this type of skateboarding.
Skateboarding roots – interesting facts that followed the rise of skateboarding
Trick skating is invented since the 1970s. This is a competition where skateboarders perform various tricks that impress the crowd. While earlier there were only maneuvers on two wheels, and spinning on the back wheels, it became very popular later. The main trick, in the beginning, was “hippie jump”. Later, other tricks were invented – ollie, 360 kickflips, pop shove it… The latest extremely popular and difficult trick is 1080, developed by Tom Schaar in 2012.
Culture, alongside the description of a rebel, uses the hard rock, hip-hop, or reggae music to define the skateboarder. Many skateboarders put these types of music in their videos. It is believed that skateboarders respect no authority. The movie Gleaming the Cube (1989) described the life of the skateboarder. Many famous skateboarders appeared, like Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen, who was the stunt of the main actor, Christian Slater. The skateboarding culture orders innovation, not a replication of the videos.
It has been worked on safety a lot at the later stages. In-line skates and scooters were very dangerous. A small crack could take the skater down off the board. Today, injuries are very rare. Here is a thread which describes how to minimize injuries. A skateboarder must have bicycle helmets and other protective gear (wrist guards, knee guards) in many countries. It is regulated by law. In Norway, it is even ordered during the late 1970s that skateparks have to be made outside of urban areas. Skateboarders were a danger to the pedestrians and traffic earlier. However, every single day is worked on skater’s awareness. Heavy injuries occur very rarely. Often injuries are bruises, sprains, cuts, and scrapes.