The Beginning of Skateboarding!
Skateboarding was originally developed by the surfing population in California who were looking for a training activity that they could do on land when the oceans were not active enough to surf. “Sidewalk surfing,” as skateboarding was originally called, was initially surfers struggling to ride long pieces of wood on steel roller skate wheels. Awkward and unreliable, these early skateboards were extremely difficult to ride with very little ability to turn or steer. This vision by the California surfers ultimately set the groundwork for skateboarding to really catch fire by the end of the 1960’s. The evolution of the skateboard has been interesting to see with the different shapes, styles and materials used to create fast, durable boards that now can take quite a beating.
The board hasn’t changed much from the 90s until now, but the concave may be a little deeper. However, people are started to ride their own custom -shaped boards and the creativity to design your own unique rides that fit your style and abilities is growing.
You might not know it by looking at the ultra-light, super strong skateboards that are being flipped and spun beneath the feat of extreme athletes today, but the very first skateboards were anything but high performance. Back in the 1940’s and 50’s skateboards were made by attaching roller skate wheels to wooden boxes or planks. As technology and construction materials evolved with carbon, epoxy and now strong bamboo skateboards , so did the performance levels of skateboards, helping grow the sport of skateboarding through the early 70’s, to the heyday of skateboard magazines and videos in the 80’s and 90’s, and into the X-Games era of today.
Evolution of the Board
The first skateboards started with wooden boxes, or boards, which kids added roller skate wheels to in the late 40s and 50s.
Roller Derby Skateboard
The Roller Derby Skateboard Company coined the name skateboard. They were the first to mass produce the skateboard. Their factory was in La Mirada CA. By 1959 people could purchase skateboards nationwide.
In the 1960s NASH came out with their own skateboards, and the called it the Shark. It’s known as the Nash Shark Skateboard
G&S Fiber Flex Pintail
In 1964 the G&S Fiber Flex Pintail was born. It was made by surfers for surfers. In the 1970s these guys became on the largest and most successful skateboard companies in the United States.
The Golden Era of Skateboarding
In the mid-70s a new board hit the streets. It was called the Banana board and it was skinny and flexible, made from polypropylene and added ribs on the underside for structural support.
Road Rider Cruiser
In 1975 Road Rider offered the first ever skateboard that had precision bearings made just for skateboards. This would bring an end to decades of loose ball bearings and uneven rides.
Old School Fishtail
In the 1980s skateboards changed. The ideal board to ride was the Fishtail deck. People still skate the streets with these short-nosed, wide vert, soft-wheeled boards.
In the 1990s skateboarding started ore on street skateboarding. Most boards are 7 1/4 to 8 in wide and 30-32 inches long with a largely symmetrical shape with a relatively narrow width.
Skateboard Technology Today
Modern skateboards and the technology of today are drastic compared to the early wooden plank predecessors. Carefully calculated concaves, nose and tail curvatures, and refined shapes and lines are now the norm when it comes to skateboard design. Wood is still the material of choice for skateboard deck construction, but lighter, more resilient materials like carbon and epoxy are being tested by elite skateboarders to help propel the sport to new heights. This is the evolution of skateboards. What’s next as the sport continues to grow in popularity and technology pushes the design and products further for future generations.