What You Might Not Know: Skateboard History Timeline

For those who identify with skateboarding, we know it is more than just cruising around. It is part of our identity.

Skateboarding is a lifestyle and one of our first loves. For sure, it shall continue to be.

Just where does skateboarding come from? Who invented it? And why can it become one of the most popular sports in the world nowadays?

Let us take a look at the skateboarding timeline, shall we?

In this article, we will provide you with some facts about the skateboard history timeline by dividing it into smaller phases.

Firstly, you may be wondering:

Who invented the skateboard?

The answer is…

No one knows.

Many people have claimed that they made the first skateboard, but the truth is we will probably never know who created it.

The 1950s

Sometime in the 1950sSometime in the 1950s, all over California, surfers got the idea of surfing on pavements.

Skateboarding was seen as something to do as a warm-up on the way to a surf spot or just for fun after surfing.

It seems that several people got the idea at the same time.

The original skateboard was started with wooden boxes or boards, and roller skateboarding wheels slapped on the bottom.

As you can imagine, a lot of people got hurt in skateboarding’s early years.

Therefore, the boxes turned into planks. Eventually, companies started producing decks of pressed layers of wood—similar to the skateboard decks of today.

In 1959

In 1959In 1959, the Roller Derby released the first official skateboard with some technical improvement as compared to the board on wheels.

As a result, this board could do tricks and also executed better maneuvering abilities.

You might feel kind of sleepy now, right?

Wait!

In the 1960s would be the boom for skateboarding.

Skateboarding Got Popular

In 1962

In 1962In 1962, the surf shop “Val-Surf” in Hollywood sold the first self-produced skateboards.

These boards featured a typical surfboard shape and roller skate trucks.

In the same year, the company Patterson Forbes developed the first industrially produced complete boards with more developed trucks.

Also, the clothing industry specialized more and more on skateboarding. One of the most famous skateboarding shoe brand named Vans was established in 1966.

From this day on, Vans supported skateboarders from all over the world.

Shoe companies like Vans, Etnies, Converse, and DC Shoes developed and manufactured skateboarding related footwear and streetwear.

In 1963

In 1963In 1963, skating reached its peak, and more companies including Patterson Forbes make boards that are well developed, especially for the trucks.

The skateboard brands started holding skateboarding competitions. The first ever skateboard competition was held in Hermosa Beach in California.

At this time, skateboarding was mostly either downhill slalom or freestyle competition.

The kind of skateboarding tricks at this time looked almost completely different from what skateboarding looks like today!

The style of skateboarding at the time was called “freestyle” and is more like dancing ballet or ice skating with a skateboard.

However:

After that, the popularity of the sport seemed to die.

Crash

From 1965

As from 1965, skateboarding’s popularity suddenly crashed.

Most people assumed skateboarding was a fad that had died out, like the hula hoop.

Skateboard companies folded, and people who wanted to skate had to make their skateboards again from scratch.

Skaters were using clay wheels for their boards, which was extremely dangerous and hard to control.

Don’t worry!

If this was the end of skateboarding, we couldn’t enjoy it like today.

This might surprise you:

As after that, skateboard had a major comeback.

In 1972

In 1972In 1972, Frank Nasworthy invented urethane skateboard wheels, which are similar to what most skaters use today.

His company was called Cadillac Wheels, and the invention sparked new interest in skateboarding among surfers and other young people.

These wheels gave the skateboard the grip and durable that allowed for better control and higher speed compared to its predecessors.

Look!

This was what made an evolutionary boost toward the sport that we see today:

Evolution Of The Skateboard

In the spring of 1975

In the spring of 1975At a slalom and freestyle contest in Del Mar, California the Zephyr team showed the world what skateboarding could be.

The Zephyr team blew the contest away with a new aggressive, innovative style of skateboarding. This event catapulted skateboarding into the public eye.

The most famous of these Zephyr team riders were Tony Alva, Jay Adams, and Stacy Peralta.

Do you know who changed the course of skateboarding?

Zephyr style of skateboarding?

NO.

It was Alan Gelfand (nicknamed “Ollie”).

In 1978

In 1978In 1978, only a few years into the popularity of the Zephyr style of skateboarding, a skater named Alan Gelfand invented a maneuver.

By slamming his back foot down on the tail of the skateboard and simultaneously jumping into the air, thereby popping him and the skateboard into the air, he created a trick known as the Ollie.

The Ollie is the single trick that completely revolutionized skateboarding — most tricks today are based in performing an Ollie.

This also led to the introduction of street skateboarding.

The trick still bears Gelfand’s nickname, and for his trick creation, in 2002, Alan Gelfand was inducted into the skateboard hall of fame.

In order to grow, a person’s life always has up and down moments, so did skateboard history.

What happened next?

Second Crash

Towards the end of this decade, the insurance cost for skateboarding was increased due to the dangerous nature of the sport.

This created less interest in the sport and as a result, lots of the skateboard parks were closed down.

But those completely dedicated to skateboarding kept skating.

Through the 80’s skateboarders started to build their own ramps at home.

They started to skate whatever they could find including curbs, stairs, banks, and other city structures.

Skateboarding began to be more of an underground movement, with skaters continuing to ride, turning the underworld into their own skate park.

Skateboard companies owned by skateboarders started cropping up.

These were smaller companies, but this enabled each company to be creative and do whatever they wanted – creating new styles and shapes of skateboards.

It was also during the 1980’s that the VCR came on the scene, and opened up the world of skateboarding to any kid, anywhere.

Professional skateboarders such as Stacey Peralta and George Powell created a company under the name Powell Peralta.

They pulled together a team of young talented skateboarders named the Bones Brigade.

Stacey had a talent for filming, and in 1984 filmed the first of a long series of revolutionary skateboard videos – “The Bones Brigade Video Show.”

The Bones BrigadeStacey made more Bones Brigade videos – Future Primitive in 1985, and the famous Search for Animal Chin in 1987 and many more.

With the birth of these videos, skateboarding began influencing clothing styles, music, and culture.

As skateboarding fell in the late 80’s, vert skateboarding which was extremely admired during the 1980’s, quickly lost a lot of attractiveness to street skateboarding in the early 1990s.

Extreme Games

Extreme GamesIn 1995, ESPN held its first Extreme Games in Rhode Island.

These first X Games were a huge success and helped pull skateboarding closer to the mainstream and to being accepted by the general population.

In 1997 the first Winter X Games were held, and “Extreme Sports” were classified.

Into the Mainstream

Into the MainstreamWho made skateboard popular?

There were so many people getting involved in making this sport popular.

However, we believe media played a very important role in this process.

Here’s the kicker:

As the 90’s continued into 2000, the rise in popularity for skateboarding fueled more and more commercialized skateboarding competitions like the X Games.

This brought back vert skateboarding and CBS coverage of skateboarding events.

As time goes on, skateboarding is seen more in the media pulling skateboarding more into the mainstream.

The advantage to this is the money being pumped into the skateboarding industry.

It helped create more skateparks, better skateboards, skateboarding companies to keep innovating and inventing new things.

The 2000s to Present

At the beginning of this century, video games such as Tony Hawk Pro Skater became an instant hit and gave more exposure to skateboarding.

With more money being brought in, more skateparks, better skateboards, and skateboarding companies have kept innovation at an all-time high.

In 2004, the International Skateboarding Federation was formed and was in charge of the talks with International Olympics Committee about adding the game to Olympics.

The 2000s to PresentThe Dew Tour in 2005 gave rival to X Games, other local contests and international ones as well gained popularity.

As you can see,

Skateboarding has evolved from its rebellious ways in local parks and shopping centers into one of the world’s most beloved sports.

In 2020, it will be a brand new event at the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, where it will cement itself as a legitimate and exciting sport.

Aside from its upcoming debut at the Olympics, the sport is already prominently featured as part of Red Bull’s impressive sporting calendar and popular X Games.

There have been so many competitions for skateboarders throughout the years.

Therefore, if you are like me, you might ask yourself a question:

Who Are The Best Skateboarders In The World?

We know each person has their own legend in their heart. Therefore, it is not fair to say who is the best.

However, in our perspective, below is the top 5 of the most celebrated, iconic and talented skateboarders to ever perform an ollie.

Here’s the list:

1

Tony Hawk

Tony HawkThis is skateboarding’s most recognizable name.

Putting his name onto one of video games biggest franchises, setting up a massive skateboard empire and building skateparks all over the world.

It was his skateboarding that launched him onto the scene, being the first to ever land a televised 900 in 1999.

He was a voted skater of the year by Thrasher Magazine in 1990.

Tony Hawk, to this day, continues to be an ambassador for the sport of Skateboarding.

2

Bob Burnquist

Bob BurnquistOne of the most creative skateboarders ever, Bob Burnquist is known for his difficult yet innovative tricks.

He has won numerous gold medals at the X-Games including Big Air golds, Vert Golds, and Best trick awards.

His home is also home to one of the very few permanent Mega Ramps, where he is able to learn and perfect his innovative skateboard tricks.

3

Steve Caballero

Steve CaballeroHe is the Thrasher Magazine’s Skater of the Century.

Caballero is credited with the innovation of many skateboarding tricks, such as his signature ‘Caballerial’.

He is regarded by many as being one of the best ever and an important skater during the rise of skateboarders.

4

Rodney Mullen

Rodney MullenThe inventor of the Flatground ollie, kickflip, 360 flip, heelflip. This formed the basis of competitive street skateboarding.

Rodney Mullen’s influence on the sport is now a vital part of the very basics of skateboarding.

Many other legends of skateboarding consider Mullen to be the most influential skater of all time.

5

Danny Way

Danny WayOne of the few people to be awarded the prestigious Skater of the Year award twice.

Danny Way is known for his extreme skateboarding stunts and helping to popularise the use of mega ramps.

One of his most famous stunts was completing an ollie over the Great Wall of China in 2005.

With his extreme tricks, he has also won gold at the X Games 5 times.

Wait! It is not the end.

Below is the common question we have been received recently:

What Came First Scooter Or Skateboard?

What Came First Scooter Or Skateboard?Let’s find out the answer.

The first scooter was made in 1817 by Wim Ouboter in Germany.

It then spread fast soon in the U.S. On the street, you could see a lot of people zipping around with scooters.

In Berlin, policemen used scooters to get around.

In some Walmarts, employees also used to zip around the store.

Scooter is supposed to be easier to ride and safer than a skateboard.

Meanwhile, back to the history of skateboarding, the first skateboard was made in 1958.

Therefore, we can confidently say that scooter came first.

In summary

We hope the information above informed you some skateboarding facts about skateboard history timeline.

Skateboarding is an action sport which involves riding and performing tricks using a skateboard.

It is a recreational activity, an art form, an entertainment industry job, and a method of transportation

Back in history, when the skateboard first came into existence in the 50s, nobody could have imagined that it would last this long.

This is a walk down memory lane.

Over the past decades, skateboarding has gone through many phases and swings in popularity. Riding styles have changed many times, and are still evolving.

In our opinion, there are five legendary skateboarders in the world including Tony Hawk, Bob Burnquist, Steve Caballero, Rodney Mullen, Danny Way.

Scooter and skateboard are popular sports for young people around the world. Scooter was created in 1817, whereas skateboard was first introduced in 1950.

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