The History Of Skateboarding

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Skateboarding is probably one of the most known, if not famous, sports. It is a mode of transport for “cool” people, it is a stunt sport for teenagers and adrenaline junkies, and it is simply a fun thing to learn as a sport and recreational activity. It has been through many ups and downs, but overall, it is a pretty fun activity.

History of Skateboarding

Probably started the first skateboards were with what we know as crate scooters where wheels were attached to the bottom of the crates as a fun makeshift activity for kids. Planks eventually replaced the wooden crates, and thus makeshift skateboards came into being.

Modern skateboarding as we see it today was probably originated in California in the 1950s by the local surfers when they needed another thrilling activity to perform when the tide was low. At first, this new form of land surfing was called Sidewalk Surfing. This sport became highly popular among young people. No one knows who made the first skateboard, but a California Surf Shop ordered the first commercially manufactured skateboards. Made a deal with the Chicago Roller Skate Company to produce a set of wheels that could attach to small wooden square boards. The early sidewalk surfing was performed barefoot and resembled surfing maneuvers.

By the 1960s, surfing manufacturers started building skateboards that resembled small skateboards. Small teams were made to promote their products, and thus skateboarding became somewhat of an official sport. One of the first skateboarding exhibitions was sponsored by Makaha, a local surf shop, held at Pier Avenue High School at Hermosa Beach in California.

Evolution of Skateboards

Evolution Of Skateboards in History

The evolution of good skateboards was developed by a man named Frank Nasworthy. He developed a skateboard made of polyurethane. He founded the company Cadillac Wheels. Before this, it made the materials from metal or clay wheels. The new and improved wheels reason that skateboarding became a trendy sport, and its fame started to rise rapidly. It costs numerous companies to invest in it. Several artists were commissioned to draw ads promoting the company Cadillac wheels. This company became so popular that it was featured in the skateboarder magazine and was immensely popular with skateboarding.

The Rise of Skate Parks

Rise Of Skate Parks in History

In the rise of popularity of the sport, there were no spaces to perform the sport. Most skateboarders would rush to urban places to perform since they did not have dedicated places of their own. There would be urban places where the skateboards would practice their sport. The skateboarding magazines would publish the location and give the places unique nicknames such as fruit bowl, the rabbit hole, the egg bowl, the sewer slide, etc. 

The original terrain concept was derived from the Escondido reservoir in San Diego.

In March 1976, Skateboard City skatepark in Port Orange, Florida, and Carlsbad Skatepark in San Diego County, California, were the first two large-sized US skateparks. These parks were open to the public and opened just a week apart. Two hundred skateparks opened in 1982 because skateparks were thought to be a good investment.

But with, the rise of dangerous tricks like ‘vert (invert) Skateboarding was causing the skateparks very high liability costs in insurance. The high liability and insurance costs proved to be the downfall of skateparks, and the popularity of skateboarding declined at the beginning of the 1980s.

Certain cities are still opposed to building a skatepark in the residential areas due to the negative fear of crime or drugs. 

They were further imaged by punk magazines such as thrasher, which portrayed skateboarding as a rebellious and dirty sport.

Skateboards throughout the Years

The very first skateboards were modified surfboards with wheels attached to be used on land. In the 1960s, skateboards were first manufactured commercially resembling small surfboards.

In the 1970s, polyurethane was commercially manufactured, and skateboard wheels were made. They became a more improved version of wheels as before; the wheels were either steel or clay. Polyurethane wheels were perfect in traction and performance, causing the popularity of skateboarding to explode. In 1976, many companies started manufacturing axles, especially for skateboarding. Boards were being made from polypropylene, a material that was flexible and strong. These polypropylene decks were more expansive, reaching widths of 10 inches. In the 1980s, skateboard manufacturers started experimenting with more exotic materials such as fiberglass or aluminum, but the common skateboards were still made from simple maple plywood.

During the 1990s, street skating became a dominating sport. Most boards were about 7 to 8 inches wide and 30 to 32 inches long. The wheels were made of polyurethane which was engineered to be extremely hard, and the wheel size had become smaller too. They allowed the players to perform better tricks and control the board. The style of skateboards has not changed much since.

Trick Skating

When skate parks became popular, tricks creation for skateboards. The early tricks were pretty simple, consisting of two-dimensional freestyle maneuvers like riding on two wheels or spinning on the back wheel, also known as pivoting. Jumping over a bar was also a famous trick known as hippie jumping. Long jumping on skateboards was also popular, which was jumping on while riding the board over barrels and other obstacles.

Skateboarding was transformed in 1976 by Alan ‘ollie’ Gelfand. It was a unique Florida trick that consisted of making the board jump while doing tricks or making the board flip. It was usually done on a ramp but was quickly adapted to flat ground.

One of the most dangerous tricks made was ‘vert, a specialized type of trick staking that involved scaling the vertical wall of pools. They were highly dangerous, considering how a skater could easily get injured. Z-Boys and Kevin Reed first debuted this particular style.


Although, skateboarding is not as popular as it is anymore. It still has its print deep in the cultures, and skateboarding continues to be a sport of play by small groups of individuals who struggle to keep this sport alive. But, In this era, the best electric skateboards are very popular and also the best electric longboards are famous for lovers of e-boards.

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