The History of Skateboarding

Topics: Skateboarding, Skateboard, Tony Hawk Pages: 5 (1461 words) Published: September 22, 2013
Skateboarding History

The history of skateboarding from its first appearance in the 1950's to the present day.

The first skateboards were actually more like scooters, with the undercarriage consisting of rollerskate wheels attached to a two by four. Once the pushbar of the scooter-like contraption was broken off, skateboarding was born.

1950's

It wasn't until the 1950's, when the surfing craze was in full swing, that people realized skateboarding could recreate the feeling of riding a wave. This connection with surfing gave skateboarding a direction that would influence everything to come, from maneuvers and style, to terrain, fashion and attitude. It was during this time that modifications were made to the trucks making it easier to maneuver. By 1959 the first Roller Derby Skateboard was for sale.

1960's

In the early 1960's companies such as Larry Stevenson's Makaha and Hobie Alter's Hobie began to mass-produce the first true surfing-inspired skateboards. Some of the early proponents of surf-style skateboarding included Bill and Mark Richards, Dannu Bearer, Bruce Logan and Torger Johnson. Skateboarding became very popular almost overnight, and companies were fighting to keep up with demand. Over fifty million skateboards were sold within a three year period, and the first skateboard contest was held in Hermosa Beach, CA in 1963. Then in 1965 a slew of so-called safety experts pronounced skateboarding unsafe - urging stores not to sell them, and parents not to buy them. The skateboarding fad died as quickly as it had started, and the sport entered its first slump. Skateboarding would experience other slumps in its history. This pattern of peaks and valleys would come to be known as the "ten-year cycle," although the slumps weren't exactly ten years apart.

1970's
It was during this first slump that Larry Stevenson invented the kicktail, and the first generation of skateboarders laid down the foundation of tricks and style. However, they were still largely limited by equipment. Then in 1973 the urethane wheel was invented, revolutionizing the sport. The new wheels provided much better traction and speed and, combined with new skateboard specific trucks, allowed skaters to push the difficulty of maneuvers to new levels. Tricks at this time consisted of surfing maneuvers done on flat ground or on banks. Empty swimming pools and cylindrical pipes were exploited as terrain for the first time.

During the 1970's skateboarding experienced a large growth stage whish saw the construction of numerous concrete skateparks, a rank of professional skaters, magazines and movies. During this period modern skateboarding evolved to include vertical skating among its disciplines of slalom, downhill, freestyle and longjump.

Key advances in the sport included the aerial, the invert and the ollie, which may be the single most important trick in the evolution of skateboarding, next to the kickturn. This was the first time skateboarding had stars, some of the first really big names being Tony Alva, Jay Adams and Stacy Peralta. The look of skateboards also changed from being six to seven inches in width to over nine inches, providing better stability on vertical surfaces. Near the end of the 70's, spiraling insurance and slowing attendance forced all but a few skateparks out of business and skateboarding entered its! Second slump.

1980's

In the 80's the plywood ramp and streetstyle revitalized skateboarding just as the urethane wheel had revitalized the sport in the 70's. Forced to take an underground, do-it-yourself attitude, skaters began to create their own wooden skate ramps in backyards and empty lots and turn previously unrideable street terrain, such as walls an handrails, into free-skate parks. Skater-owned companies became the norm and innovations in board and truck size allowed the trick envelope to be pushed even further. This generation had its own group of skate stars, some of whom...
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