The Evolution Of Skateboarding: 1940’s-Present

The Evolution Of Skateboarding

Skateboarding history and evolution:

Skateboarding has evolved over the years by leaps and bounds. It’s nothing like it was at the start as you can expect with anything. The nature of life is change and things change for the better or the worst. So skateboarding also changed with time and we can look back at it and wonder what could’ve been and why it is like this now and we can also understand why some things get abandoned for the better. So let’s take a look at it from the start and look at what we have now in the skateboarding world.


This was the period when skateboarding was just getting started. You can say this was the period when skateboarding started to take baby steps. This was the period when the first skateboards were being made with wooden boxes or boards with roller skate wheels attached to the bottom. They evolved with time and boxes turned into planks much like today’s skateboards with roller skate wheels attached to them. In the late 1940s, or early 1950s skateboarding was starting to become a pastime for the surfers when the waves were flat. This was recognized as “Sidewalk Surfing”- a new way of surfing on the sidewalks as surfing became quite popular. It is still a mystery to this day who created the first ever skateboard as no one received the official recognition for it. In Southern California, small surfing manufacturers started to make skateboards that look like small surfboards and had their own teams promote the boards by 1960s. Stan Richards hosted a television show called “Surf’ Up” in 1964 that featured skateboarders to help promote skateboarding as something interesting and a fun activity to do. The first skateboarding magazine ‘’The Quarterly Skateboarder” was published in 1964 by John Severson. It only lasted four issues but resumed publication in 1975 named as Skateboarder. The first skateboarding competition was broadcasted in 1965 named National Skateboarding Championships which were held in Anaheim, California and aired on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports”. Originally there were only two disciplines during the competitions: flatland freestyle and slalom downhill racing. One of the earliest sponsored skateboarders was Pattie McGee who was paid by Hobie and Vita Pak to travel and do skateboarding exhibitions and demonstrate skateboarding safety tips around the country. He made the cover of Life magazine in 1965 and also featured on various television programs. By 1966 there were various claims made that skateboarding was hazardous and that resulted in parents being reluctant to buy them for their kids. In 1966 sales of skateboards dropped by a considerable margin and remained low until the 1970s. Skateboarding companies began to die out and skaters were forced to create a lot of their own equipment.

skateboarding history


In 1972 Frank Nasworthy invented urethane skateboard wheels which was a big step in the right path for skateboarding as a whole. This new type of wheels had a lot better traction to them and made performing tricks and stunts a lot easier. In the early 1970s, skateboarders would group up and skateboard in urban places such as The Escondido reservoir in San Diego, California because there were no skateparks invented still. In 1975 The Ocean Festival was held in Del Mar, California consisting a traditional freestyle and slalom contest. It was the largest skateboarding competition since the 1960s and had up to 500 competitors. The Zephyr team arrived and blew the contest away with a new aggressive and innovative style that no had seen. The most famous of these Zephyr team riders were Tony Alva, Jay Adams, Peggy Oki and Stacy Peralta they brought a new progressive style of skateboarding to the event based on the style of Hawaiian surfers Larry Bertlemann, Buttons Kaluhiokalani and Mark Lidell. This team became known as the Z-Boys and went on to become one of the most influential teams in skateboarding history. In 1978 Alan Gelfand invented the Ollie and opened the way for tricks in skateboarding. In 1979 skateboarding started to take a dive in popularity and many skate parks had to close.


Skaters took skating to a more underground way and started to create their own skateboarding companies which put more emphasis on skateboarding and skaters than gaining profits and maximizing their worth. The initial focus went in vert ramp skateboarding. This also sparked a new interest in street skating as vert ramps were really expensive. In 1984 the first skateboarding video- the Bones Brigade Video Show created by Stacey Peralta with George Powell made skaters feel a part of something bigger and showed new ways to skate. In 1988 vert skateboarding died down and that made most skaters interested in street skating. In 1989 the movie Gleaming the Cube came out which further helped skateboarding as a whole.



Street skateboarding started to gain popularity in this decade but taking on punk culture and a strong angry image. In 1994 World Cup Skateboarding was founded to manage the largest skateboarding competitions around the globe. Thus helping the professional skateboarders. In 1995 the first X games were held giving a lot more attention to skateboarding and giving them more incentive to innovate and learn new levels of tricks to add to their repertoire.  This was a big step towards making skateboarding more mainstream towards the general public.


Skateboarding contest and competitions started to grow in popularity throughout the 2000s. The Dew Tour began in 2005 and quickly started to rival the X games. Skateboarding started to become mainstream in this period but still retained a strong dose of the punk and individualistic attitude. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 came out for Nintendo 64 in 2002 and was a major hit. This helped to generate a lot more attention towards skateboarding. This game has been followed by many Tony Hawk video games, each one a hit. In 2004 the International Skateboarding Federation was founded which had both positive and negative reactions from the skateboarding community. The International Association of Skateboard Companies started Go Skateboarding Day in 2004 and they set the date to June 21st . In 2006 there were over 2400 skateparks around the world and skaters themselves started to design the skateparks. In 2009 the Skateboarding Hall of Fame & Skateboard Museum was founded by Skatelab. Nominees were chosen by the International Association of Skateboard Companies. In 2010s Electronic Skateboards started to become popular which was also a new step for skateboarders. Skateboarding continues to evolve to this day and will surely do in the future as well. We can hope that skateboarding will continue to progress in the future and will influence a lot more people with its unique characteristics.

 Skateboarding wasn’t something that was built in a day but rather from a lot of peoples shared efforts over a long span of time. It changed a lot from the starting surf style skateboarding to what it is now. It continues to change to this day and will continue in the future as well. But we can just be happy and grateful for what we have now thanks to the time and effort that went behind making it the phenomenon that it is today.

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