Skateboarding is a sport that is more considered a lifestyle. Those who skateboard have to build a specific lifestyle involving this game. It is not something that you intentionally do; it just happens. Skateboarding is a sport that is viewed more as a lifestyle, and it plays a massive part in the fashion industry. Skateboarding is a sport that is considered while understanding a person’s interests and vibe. Those who skateboards have an immense passion for this sport. It starts as a hobby for most of them, and from there, it grows.
This sport is loved and enjoyed by many. Skateboarding feels like a dance form to me. It is delightful. Those who skateboard understand its joy. And I am one of them. I am a skateboarder and a skateboard enthusiast. This sport gave me joy and gave me motivation in life. As I played this game, I learned how to balance and work my way through life’s ups and downs.
This game helped me through the most challenging times of my life. And I became curious to know how it all started. And how was this game invented? And to find the answer to my questions, I did research. By researching, I have found the answers to my questions. And here, I will present you with the answers to your questions about the skateboards you have in your mind.
What is Skateboarding?
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Skateboarding is a recreation and sport that involves riding and performing tricks using a skateboard. Skateboarding is a sport that is loved by all. And this game is most popular among the youth. This sport involves doing new tricks and always taking it up the level. This sport allows the players to show their creativity and individuality. The players try to be creative and make their new tricks as skateboarders.
This game is often called one of the most extreme sports. Players always challenge themselves to take it up to the next level. And that’s why this game has gained the reputation of being outrageous and dangerous.
Skateboarding is an alternative to mainstream team sports. Mainstream team sports are formally organized and controlled chiefly by adults, whereas Skateboarding is a more casual and street-like sport organized by mostly youths. Skateboarding has developed its own culture, which is mostly youth-based.
The Journey of Skateboarding
The idea of Skateboarding came from surfing. You can find similarities between surfing and Skateboarding. Even though they have their similarities, they are very different. Skateboarding has evolved and gained recognition. Skateboarding is different, unique, and has its forms and varieties. But Skateboarding does have a similar resemblance to surfing due to its origin.
Skateboarding has gone through a significant change from where it started. It is very different now from what it was. It has evolved and now turned into what it is now. We can separate a few different eras of Skateboarding.
The 1940s – 60s
Skateboarding was born adequately around the late 1940s or the early 1950s. At that time, surfing was at its peak, and slowly, a new sport began from surfing. The surfers in California invented a new wave of surfing, which was called “sidewalk surfing.” The surfers of California wanted to do something when the waves were flat, thus developing this. There is no account of the first person who made the first-ever board. It seemed as if this idea popped up in a few persons’ minds around the same time.
A Los Angeles, California, surf shop ordered the first manufactured skateboards. It was meant to be used by surfers in their downtime. The name of the surf shop owner was Bill Richards, who had made a deal with the Chicago roller skate company to produce sets of skate wheels, and they would attach square wooden boards.
Skateboarding was initially known as “sidewalk surfing.” The early skaters tried to surf on the sidewalk, which later on became Skateboarding. They tried to follow the surfing style on the sidewalk barefooted.
By the 1960s, a few surfing manufacturers had started building skateboards. They resembled mini surfboards. They assembled teams to promote their products. Larry Stevenson, the founder of Makaha, sponsored one of the first exhibitions of the skateboard. This exhibition was held at the Pier Avenue Junior High School in Hermosa Beach, California, in 1963. In 1994, this TV show called “surf’s up” was hosted by Stan Richards. This show promoted Skateboarding as something new and fun to do.
Soon, Skateboarding became more and more famous. It was becoming more popular and getting recognized as time passed by. The first skateboarding magazine, The Quarterly skateboarder, was published by John Severson in 1964. In his first editorial, he wrote:
“Today’s skateboarders are founders in this sport—they’re pioneers—they are the first. There is no history in Skateboarding—it’s being made now—by you. The sport is being molded, and we believe that doing the right thing will lead to a bright future for the sport. Already, there are storm clouds on the horizon with opponents of the sport talking about ban and restriction.”
The first actual skateboarding competition was the National Skateboarding Championships in 1965. This broadcast was held in Anaheim, California, and aired on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. There were only two original disciplines during competitions due to the newness of the game. They were flatland freestyle and slalom downhill racing.
Patti McGee was one of the earliest sponsored skateboarders paid by Hobie and Vita Pak to travel around the country to do skateboarding exhibitions and demonstrate skateboarding safety tips. Patti McGee made it to the cover of Life magazine. McGee was featured in several TV shows – The Mike Douglas Show, What’s My Line? And The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1965. This helped Skateboarding become more popular and get more recognition.
By 1996, many sources claimed that Skateboarding was dangerous, and for this reason, many became scared to skateboard. And they stopped purchasing skateboards, and the sales of Skateboarding significantly dropped due to this negative attention.
Since 1966, Skateboarding had remained low till the early 1970s. Frank Nasworthy developed a skateboard wheel that was made of polyurethane. The name of his company was Cadillac Wheels. Due to this new material in the wheels, the skateboarders improved their performance immensely. This improvement was eye-catching, and due to this eye-catching improvement, Skateboarding started to grow again in 1972 rapidly.
Nasworthy commissioned Jim Evans to do a series of paintings promoting Cadillac Wheels. This was very helpful to skateboarders’ growth as they announced the new and improved style of Skateboarding.
There were no skateparks in the early 1970s. Skateboarders would skate in urban places like the Escondido reservoir in San Diego, California. Magazines would publish these locations where skateboarders skate. And skateboarders would make up nicknames for these locations, such as Tea Bowl, the Fruit Bowl, Bellagio, the Rabbit Hole, Bird Bath, the Egg Bowl, Upland Pool, and the Sewer Slide.
Many companies started manufacturing trucks for Skateboarding and thus reached Tracker Trucks in 1976. The equipment slowly started to get wider and gave skateboarders more control. There was one board that was extremely famous during the mid-1970s. They were Banana boards, skinny, flexible skateboards made of polypropylene with ribs on the underside for structural support.
In 1975, the largest skateboarding competition since the 1960s took place. The Del Mar National Championships had up to 500 competitors. This two-day competition was sponsored by Bahne Skateboards & Cadillac Wheels. The competition was won by Russ Howell, a freestyle spinning skate legend. The Zephyr team was a local skate team from Santa Monica which ushered in a new era of surfer style skateboarding during the competition, which had a lasting impact on skateboarding history. They bought a unique style of Skateboarding in the match with a team of 12, which included skate legends such as Jay Adams, Tony Alva, Peggy Oki & Stacy Peralta. This style was based on the type of Hawaiian surfers Larry Bertlemann, Buttons Kaluhiokalani, and Mark Liddell. The Dogtown articles immortalized the Zephyr skateboard team and gave it the recognition it deserved.
And as time passed, there were many competitions for cash and prizes. Many world professional championships were held throughout California, featuring freestyle and slalom competitions.
Another major competition was “The Signal Hill Skateboarding Speed Run,” which bought negative limelight to the sport. In that competition, skaters were skating, clocking a speed of over 50 mph on a skateboard. While the competition, many skaters crashed due to technology and safety concerns. This caused the sport badly and put the sport in the wrong position. And to this incident, the sport started to lose its popularity again.
In March 1976, the first-ever skate park was opened. Skateboard City skatepark in Port Orange, Florida, and Carlsbad Skatepark in San Diego County are the earliest skate park that opened a week apart in California. A few of the fantastic skaters of the 1970s were Ty Page, Tom Inouye, Laura Thornhill, Ellen O’Neal, Kim Cespedes, Bob Biniak, Jana Payne, Waldo Autry, Robin Logan, Bobby Piercy, Russ Howell, Ellen Berryman, Shogo Kubo, Desiree Von Essen, Henry Hester, Robin Alaway, Paul Hackett, Michelle Matta, Bruce Logan, Steve Cathey, Edie Robertson, Mike Weed, David Hackett, Gregg Ayres, Darren Ho, and Tom Sims.
A trend started in the name of “Vert.” Ty Page, Bruce Logan, Bobby Piercy, Kevin Reed, the Z-Boys, and other skaters started to skate the vertical walls of swimming pools left empty in the 1976 California drought. And this started the trend. This gave the skaters more control and enabled them to perform more tricks. Due to this movement, skate parks had to contend with high liability costs, which caused many parks to close. To solve this situation, vert skaters started to make their ramps, and freestyle skaters continued to pursue their flatland style. And Skateboarding started to downfall in its popularity.
At the beginning of the 1980s, Skateboarding was not at its peak. Street skating reached popularity due to less access to the ramps, and most people could not afford to build their ramps. But as time passed a little, the 1980s was all about skateboard companies run by skateboarders. In 1976, Alan Gelfand invented a no-hands aerial known as the Ollie in Florida. And in California, the almost parallel development of the grabbed aerial by George Orton and Tony Alva made it possible to perform airs in vertical ramps.
Pioneer Rodney Mullen invented many of the primary tricks of freestyle skating. Later on, these tricks became a few of the primary and essential fundamentals of modern street skating. And a few examples are the “impossible” and the “kickflip.” In 1981, “Thrasher Magazine” was founded, and it stands for street skating. In 1983, another well-known magazine, “Transworld Skateboarding Magazine,” was founded. Other than these two, a few smaller magazines were established, and more skate shops opened. Due to this, the popularity of Skateboarding started to grow again. Videography became an essential part of Skateboarding. Skaters would often make videos of their new and outrageous tricks, which became a rather important part of Skateboarding.
A rapid evolution occurred in the late 1980s in response to the tension created by the confluence of skateboarding genres to accommodate the street skater. During the mid-80s, freestyle’s influence on street skating became apparent. In this period, only a few skate parks were available. So, street skaters would skate in local places and malls and call them their “spots.”
A film called “Back to the future” was launched. And many skateboarders in the industry paid tribute to the scene of Marty McFly skateboarding in the film.
Skateboarding during the 1990s was mostly influenced by street skating. In the early 1990s, various trends rose in this sport, and Skateboarding went through a different depth phase. And it went back to its roots. In the 1990s, Skateboarding was constant and mostly street style. It maintained its presence in public. From the mid-1990s, Skateboarding went through a high phase, continuing to this date. X games were launched and televised, which was very big for Skateboarding. From this time, Skateboarding reached recognition worldwide due to magazines, TV shows, events, videos, and most importantly, the internet.
Street League Skateboarding is a contest series for international pro skaters. Worldwide known and a big event like “Street Leagues” started. And all the legendary skaters like Nyjah Huston, Eric Koston, Paul Rodriguez, Andrew Reynolds, Ryan Sheckler, and Torey Pudwill took part in this event. These competitions’ cash prizes were approximately 200.000 US dollars for the winners. And due to this amount of cash prize, skateboarding became a professional sport.
Skateboarding is an essential and famous sport in Europe and Germany. In Europe and Germany, skateboarding is independent; it has its industry, pros, and a national contest series.
Skateboarding has become a job for many. It started its journey in the 1940s and will continue to live with us. It had its ups and downs, like its mesmerizing tricks. And it will continue to have its jumps. But at last, we can say Skateboarding has earned its individuality in this world of sport. Thank you for reading this article. I hope you have found the answers to your questions.