Skateboarding History: A Short Brief

There is a lot more in skateboarding than just cruising around. It is a lifestyle for some and just a hobby to others. It is love to some and nothing special to others. Some might be very passionate about it and others might see it just as a hobby or a pastime. So what is skateboarding to you depends on the person.

How was skateboarding started:

In1940s or early 1950s skateboarding was probably invented. Surfers in California wanted to do something in their leisure time when the waves were flat so they tried to replace it with something they created called “Sidewalk Surfing”. It was something the surfers could do when they couldn’t surf because of low waves. So it quickly became a popular thing among the surfers. They couldn’t replicate the exact same feeling but surfing on pavements gave them some gratification and they could forget the sorrow of not being able to surf. So they can be called the pioneers of skateboarding.

Who invented the Skateboard:

You can’t say for certain who made the first skateboard as there are many people who claim to have made the first skateboard but no official inventor for it. Several people came up with somewhat similar ideas around the same time that shaped the first skateboard so it doesn’t really matter who has the bragging rights for it. But for their collective effort we have the skateboard today.  So how was it made you may ask. Well, the first skateboards were made from roller skates which were attached to a board. They were rough and not the safest for skateboarding but they cleared the way for today’s skateboarders with their injuries and sacrifices. You can say they brought us the light at the end of the tunnel. Today the skateboard keeps getting improved and more variants are being made. Nowadays skateboards are evolving to be lighter and stronger. So regardless of who invented the skateboard we should just be grateful that it was invented.

Who invented the first skateboard trick:

Even though Alan Gelfand was credited with the invention of ollie air in the transitional context, Mullen is responsible for the invention and development of the flatground ollie that formed the basis for street-style skateboarding. So both of them contributed significantly in creating the first ever skateboard trick.

Evolution of the skateboard:

The first skateboards were made with wooden boxes, boards, or planks with roller skate wheels attached to the bottom. They were rough around the edges as you can expect with a new invention. But they cleared the way for today’s skateboards. The first manufactured skateboards were ordered when a surf shop owner in Los Angeles, California wanted skateboards to be used by their surfers in their leisure time.  Bill Richard the shop owner who produced the skateboards struck a deal with the Chicago Roller Skate Company to produce sets of skate wheels, which then were attached to square wooden boards and thus the first manufactured skateboards were born.

In the 1950s the first skateboards were seeing Southern California skate shops which were made by attaching a pair of metal roller skate wheels to the bottom of a wooden plank. By 1960s there wasn’t much improvement made to the skateboard as board shape remained relatively similar but clay wheels were invented in this period. But the popularity of skateboarding started to grow rapidly as many non-surfers began to skate. Skateboarding started to grow from street and pool riding to downhill slalom and freestyle skateboarding also started to appear. But there were more improvements made in the 1970s.

In the early 1970s, Frank Nasworthy started to make a new type of skateboard wheel which were made of Polyurethane and he named his company Cadillac Wheels. Before this skateboard wheels were made of metal or clay but this new invention took skateboarding to new heights. Because metal or clay didn’t have the greatest of traction, meaning it didn’t stuck to the ground the best. This made skateboarding dangerous and performing any tricks wasn’t the easiest. But the invention of this new wheel made skateboarding and performing tricks much easier. the  Traction is a very important thing for skateboarders because it makes skateboarding much easier as the skateboard sticks to the ground and thus easier to perform various tricks that makes skateboarding appealing to the general crowd and skateboarders of course.

It was an important step in skateboarding history. The feeling of adding a new trick and mastering a new trick was so satisfying that skateboard skyrocketed in popularity as people of all ages started to take interest in skateboarding. But the polyurethane wheels weren’t the only thing introduced to skateboards in the 1970s. The average width of skateboards were increased by two inches also the kicktail feature was introduced to make flipping the skateboard easier to perform tricks. This was a big improvement over the previous skateboards.


In the 1980s saw new skateboard companies that were run by skateboarders. This was a big thing as skateboarders put way more emphasis on improving skateboarding rather than profits or maximizing company’s shares and stuff like that. They put more emphasis on design and creativity and thus skateboarding evolved into an even more personal style of expression. The initial focus was on vert ramp skateboarding. The invention of the no-hands aerial which was later known as the ollie was invented by Alan Gelfand in Florida in 1976 and the almost parallel development of the grabbed aerial which was invented by George Orton and Tony Alva in California made it attractive for skaters to perform airs on vertical ramps. But this wave of popularity in vert ramp skating didn’t quite last as most people couldn’t afford vert ramps or build their own so street skating increased in popularity in the back end of the 1980s.

In the 1990s skateboarding was heavily influenced by street style skateboarding. Most boards were made about 7and quarter inch to 8inch (180 to 200mm) wide and they were about 30 to 32 inch (760 to 810mm) long. The wheels changed as they were made from extremely hard polyurethane and the wheel sizes were relatively small so that the boards could be made lighter. The shape of the skateboard were derived from the freestyle boards of the 1980s with a largely symmetrical shape and relatively narrow width. This was the standard form of the 1990s. Skateboarding gained new heights in the 2000s.


In 2001 a lot more people under the age of 18 rode skateboards (10.6million) than guys who played baseball (8.2million) which is an extremely popular sport. The International Association of Skateboard Companies founded the Go Skateboarding in 2003. It is annually celebrated to define skateboarding as the rebellious and creative celebration of independence as it continues to be in June 21st. Recently barefoot skateboarding has received somewhat of a revival. In warm countries such as South Africa, Australia, Spain and South America many skaters ride barefoot, particularly in summer. Electric boards became popular in the 2010s along with self-balancing unicycles in a board format.

Skateboard continues to evolve and will evolve with time as nothing is ever perfect and can always be improved upon on. So we can expect better skateboards in the near future as well according to previous skateboarding history.

Leave a Comment

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons