The History of Skateboarding. Stevie Goff 10/15/08. The History. The history of skateboarding from its first appearance in the 1950's to the present day. .
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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 Roller skate wheels attached to a two by four. Once the publisher of the scooter-like contraption was broken off, skateboarding was born.
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.
In the early 1960's companies such as Larry Stevenson's Makita and Hobbies Altar's Hobbies began to mass-produce the first true surfing-inspired skateboards. Some of the early proponents of surf-style skateboarding included Bill and Mark Richards, Danni Bearer, Bruce Logan and Torero 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.
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.
It was during this first slump that Larry Stevenson invented the cocktail, 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 skate parks, 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 long jump.
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 kick turn. 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 skate parks out of business and skateboarding entered its! Second slump.
In the 80's the plywood ramp and street style 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 unreadable 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 still compete today including Tony Hawk and Steve Caballero. Towards the end of the 80's the focus shifted to street skating and Overt riding became less popular, it was the era of the first street stars like Mark Gonzales, Nat's Kuakas and Mike Valley.
In regards to the "ten-year cycle," the sport once again started on an upward swing in 1995, due in part to exposure it received from ESPN's first Extreme Games in Rhode Island. This served to bring skateboarding, which had long been viewed as a rebel sport, perhaps because of the danger and occasional illegality of the endeavor, a step closer to the mainstream.
Many of the skaters who competed felt that ESPN's coverage of the sport raised skate boarding's overall image with the general public and is a good thing for the future of the sport. In 1996 the Extreme Games were again held in Rhode Island, once more exposing the sport of skateboarding to millions of people. Skateboarding was also included in the 1997 Winter X Games in the form of a Crossovers event that also included in-line skating, bicycle stunt, and snowboarding.
"Today a pro can make anywhere from $1000 to $10,000 a month," says Danielle Bo stick of World Cup Skateboarding and the X Games. These earnings are based on winnings, depending on how well a skater places in any given competition and how many competitions a skater competes in during any given month. Most skaters who are sponsored also earn a monthly salary from one or more companies, which sponsors them as team riders. This is a considerable change from the past when pro skaters had to work a regularjob as well as compete according to Bo stick.