In the 1970s California skateboarders, with no skate parks to practice in, would drive through neighborhoods in search of empty swimming pools. While pools were easy enough to find, however, empty ones were not. Many skaters began to cart around hoses, pumps, brooms and other gear so that an unattended pool could be emptied in a hurry. Skateboarding pioneer Wes Humpston on the Biography Channel (Source 1) once recalled draining a 30,000 gallon pool in four hours. He and his friends then enjoyed the fruits of their labors until the police arrived and it was time to flee.
Bridge to Thesis Statement
From these drastic actions, the skateboarding community proved that the lifestyle of skateboarding wasn’t just a temporary fad. It was here to stay. Skateboarding was now a way of life for many people. It was a way to escape the norm and become more individual.
So without further delay, let’s start learning the history of skateboarding!
Statement of Scope
We will first go over the birth of the skateboard. Then we’ll see how skateboards have changed over the ages, and finally we will discuss present day skateboarding as a whole.
Transition to First Main Point
Now let me take you all back to the 1950’s when the first skateboards came into existence.
According to Kathy Fry’s article Skateboarding History on skatelog.com (Source 2), California is where it all started. During the 1950’s, surfing made its way up to the top sport. But some days many of the surfers fell victim to a waveless ocean. Noticing the hilly roads across the city, they got inspired. People started building skateboards to recreate the feeling of riding a wave. It became a savior to the surfing culture, allowing them to surf the sidewalks.
The first skateboards started off as boxes and 2x4’s attached to roller skate wheels. It was basically a scooter. Eventually the box was taken off and skateboard was born. People have been known to make their skateboards using planks, boxes, and even driftwood as the board.
Warwick Brook’s The Concrete Wave (Source 3), explains that these poorly constructed skateboards would last for years until 1959 when the first Roller Derby Skateboards were being sold. Soon after in 1963, Larry Stevenson publisher of Surf Guide came to the rescue. Using his company Makaha, they designed the first professional skateboards purchasable by the public.
And according to the previously mentioned author Kathy Fry (Source 4), many other companies started manufacturing skateboards as well and within only 3 years, over fifty million skateboards were sold. But as fast as skateboarding grew, it then died out. A group of so called skateboard safety experts pronounced skateboarding unsafe. They urged stores to stop selling them and convinced parents not to buy them. This was skateboarding’s first big slump of many to come. These ups and downs for the sport would become known as the “ten-year cycle”.
Transition to Main Point 2
But these slumps would not totally destroy skateboarding. Lets now discuss the modifications and advances in skateboard design that put this sport back on its feet again.
In early skateboard production the wheels were the most problematic feature. Another excerpt from The Concrete Wave (Source 5) explains that clay had always been the main material used for wheels because it was the cheapest to produce. But clay wheels didn’t grip the road well and caused the most injuries for skateboarders. But in 1970 a surfer by the name of Frank Nasworthy teamed up with a friend from a plastics factory and together they promoted their new urethane wheels. Urethane was previously only used for roller skate wheels to provide traction for the skater. Now skateboarders had this technology as well. It made skateboarding easier and much safer.
And in 1973 Frank once...