What is Skateboarding? – Brief History of Skateboarding

Have you ever heard of skateboards or skateboarding? Skateboard is a wooden board with a pair of wheels on head and tail with a curved part. Skateboarding is a sport or a recreational sport which is done using a skateboard. You can also refer to skateboarding as an action sport as people often prefer to do some great stunts using a skateboard.

It’s great fun to learn skateboarding, and many people choose skateboarding as their profession too. Many skateboarders might amaze you their skills, and you would be in shock seeing the way they use a skateboard to perform the stunts. Skateboarding is always fun. Don’t mind me saying that it’s tough. It’s very tough; getting your balance right on a piece of wood and performing stunts with it on a curved surface is always a tough job to do. You need to appreciate them for doing it so precisely without any chance of error, as that might cause some severe injuries to them.

What Are Skateboards:

The skateboards contain deck, trucks, and wheels. The decks were made of wood in the earlier days but now are made of fiberglass or aluminum. The back part of the deck is bent upwards to form kicktail as in modern-day boards the nose. The axle, hangar, and a cushion (it helps in absorbing shocks and improves the flexibility of the board for steering) are part of the truck. Wheels which are made up of polyurethane.

The skateboards are mostly 38 to 60 inches long with 7 ½ to 8 inches width of the boards. Also, street luge is almost 8.5 feet long, which can reach nearly 80 miles per hour. The other modifications are wind-aided rading and blades for ice-skating.

History of Skateboarding:

Earlier in the 1940s, the skateboards would pretty much be just wheels attached to wooden planks. During those days the surfers in California used to surf through the flat waves which were called sidewalk surfing, required a surfboard. So, the California surf shop owner Bill Richards ordered the Chicago Roller Skate Company to make roller skates attached with the wooden planks. Thus, the skateboards initially created for sidewalk surfing, performed with a naked foot.

Later in 1960s people started adopting the way of making skateboards and starting promoting them. In the process of expanding the skateboards, the TV show “Surf’s Up” hosted by Stan Richards invited people and discussed the advantages of the skateboards made by them.

Also, after skateboarding was getting popular in 1964, John Severson published a magazine called The Quarterly Skateboarder in which had the following editorial-

Today’s skateboarders are founders in sport, the pioneers, they are the first. There’s no history in skateboarding its been made up by you now. The game is being changed, and we believe we are doing the right thing, which will lead to a bright future for the sport.

But the magazine did not quietly work out and was republished in 1975. ABC’s Wide World of Sports did the first skateboarding broadcast of the National Skateboarding Championship in 1965, and as it was a whole new sport back them only flatland freestyle and slalom downhill racing were held in the competition.

Also, in 1970s skateparks were constructed for freestyle BMXs and skaters.

Exhibition of Skateboarding:

Hobie and Vita Pak paid Patti McGee one of the best skateboarders at that time to go around the world and conduct skateboarding exhibitions and promote skateboarding. Make people aware of the sport and also tell about the safety measures to prevent accidents during skateboarding. After that he was on the cover of Life Magazine in 1965 and also featured on The Mike Douglas Show, What’s My Line? And the Tonight show starring Jimmy Carson.

Cadillac Wheels and the Biggest Competition:

After the invention of Cadillac wheels by Frank Nasworthy, the skateboards performance increased and also saw a tremendous increase in popularity of skateboards. After that in 1975, one of the most prominent skateboard championships Del Mar National Championship which had almost 500 participants was held and won by the skate legend Russ Howell.

Evolution of Skateboarding:

In the 1970s the Signal Hill Skateboarding Speed Run was held which saw most of the participants entering Guinness book of world records for getting their skateboards at more than 50mph.

Then in 1976 Ty Page, Bruce Logan, Bobby Piercy, Kevin Reed, Z-Boys started practicing skateboards on the vertical walls of swimming pools and then the style VERT came in. This would help skateboarders skate faster-adding risk to skateboarding, which made the manufacturers build skateboarders with more precaution, and also it required better knee pads for safety.

In the 1980s, many people could not afford to make verts and then started skateboarding on the streets, thus making street skating popular. Also, back then, Rodney Mullen invented some basic freestyling such as impossible, and kickflip as freestyling was becoming more popular back then.

Later in 1990s street, skateboarding geared up and started taking over all other styles and became quitter popular. Back then the skateboards were 7 ½ to 8 inches wide with wheels made of polyethylene, with hardness 99A making the skateboards more efficient and increasing the performance of the skateboards. As the inertia increases due to small-sized wheels, the tricks and stunts are done smoothly.

In 1994 World Cup Skateboarding started becoming the most significant street and vert skateboarding along with the European and Asian contests with Australia, Brazil, Canada and United States included.

In 2001 almost 10.6 million people started skateboarding and most of them being below 18, as skateboarding took over baseball. Then schools started taking lessons on skateboarding and made it quite famous, also teaching students in skateparks and skateistan.

Later in 2003 International Association of Skateboard companies founded Go skateboarding day on June 21st to make skateboarding worldwide popular. Now according to the estimated reports, skateboarders increased from 7.8 million to 12.5 million, almost 60­%.

After that people started taking skateboarding seriously and many skateparks were built during 2003-2006. In 2006 more than 24,000 were built all over the world. After that Rob Dyrdek initiated the Safe Spot Skate Spot program which helped to build small skate places at fewer costs. After which the SMP Skate park was established in China which is of 12,000 sq.mts accommodating almost 5000 people. After which in 2010 electric skateboards became quite popular, with self-balancing unicycles.

Then in 2015, John F Kennedy Centre for Performing Arts conducted an event for skateboarders for American Culture.

Trick Skating:

  • Riding on two wheels (either wheelie or manual)
  • Spinning on back wheels (pivot).
  • Hippie jump (jumping on bars and landing onboard).
  • Slalom (jumping on one bar from other).
  • Bartleman slide.
  • Ollie. – Alan Ollie Gelfand invented it in 1976, later adopted by Rodney Mullen in 1982.
  • Magic Flip or Kickflip.
  • 1080- the most recent one and Tom Schaar first landed on it in 2012.

Riding a Skateboard:

People often use three ways to ride a skateboard. They are:

  1. Regular Foot: It involves placing your left foot in the center of the deck and pushing the board with right foot involving Newton’s third law of motion.
  2. Goofy Foot: It is just opposite to the regular foot.
  3. Mongo Foot: In this type, the rear foot is on the board, and the front foot pushes, as it reduces speed.

Styles of Skateboarding:

Downhill: It only depends on speed. It involves downhill skiing, which is all about completing the run-in shortest time, also Long Boarding, which is famous among surfers, beachgoers.

Freestyle: It involves spinning the board, rolling, flipping in the best creative way possible. In competitions, skateboarders showcase their skills by playing music and performing tricks as it is almost close to dancing.

Vert Skating: Ramp Skating in other words and the most popular one. These are half-pipes, quarter-pipes, bowls.

Street Skating: Skateboarders perform their tricks on benches, rails, picnic tables, walls, stairs, shopping carts, parked cars, etc.

We can also use skateboarding for transportation, military, tramp boarding, and swing boarding. In transit, the skateboards are made with longboards and it is also illegal to use skateboards outside residential areas. You can also use skateboards instead of automobiles to travel shorter distances.

In the military, the main intention to use skateboards was to identify tripwires and sniper fires. The United States Military Corps tested it in 1999 in Urban Warrior.

Tramp boarding is used to perform ollie on trampoline only by using wheels but not the truck.

Conclusion:

Skateboarding is a great sport and helps increase your balance and lets you ride comfortably without any efforts.  But you need to learn it before riding it in public places and also take care of your safety as it might be slightly dangerous while performing tricks on the boards. Although skateboards have a great future ahead and people are getting to know about it. Among teenagers, it is quite popular, and they are interested in showing their skills and entertaining audience and performing at events. Also, the involvement of music has made the sport more popular as freestyling involves showing your skateboarding skills on music. So, learn skateboarding and explore the whole new world of skateboarding.

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