As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Hello, sports freaks! Hope you are doing well. Today I am here with another interesting essay on the history, culture, etc. of skateboarding.
Skateboarding is a tremendously popular activity all over the world. It is not only a game but also a medium of transportation. Among students who live around their campus, skateboarding is now a preferred mode of travel. It is a recreational activity. An art.
You can define it in as many ways as you like. From the late 1940s, skateboarding has evolved in many ways and gained popularity gradually. Today we will know those history, interesting facts-in a word, ‘all you have to know about skateboarding’.
Why wait anymore? Let’s jump in the story then!
- Strongest Skateboard Decks in 2021 [Most Durable Ones!]
- 17 Skateboard Equipment List [Best Guide For the Beginners]
What Is Skateboarding?
Skateboarding is a form of sport in which someone (who is called a rider) rides standing balanced on a board that has wheels mounted under it. This game is quite extreme compared to other riding games. There are two types of skateboarding. One is on street style and the other is called vert, or vertical skateboarding.
Vert is way more complex than street skateboarding. It features aerial acrobatics which is performed in half circle shaped places. Street style skateboarding does not mean skateboarding on flat streets only. It also features tricks performed on stairs, rails, etc.
Facts You Should Know About Skateboarding
Every game has a long history of its’ evolution. We have already discussed the history of skateboarding previously. But there are certain events in that history which are so remarkable that they deserve to be written separately.
Now we are going to know some of those interesting events in the prolonged history of skateboarding. We will cover some myths and hacks of skateboarding in this section as well.
- Skateboarding has been evolved from surfing. You can surf easily in the water. But what about surfing on plain land? This intention had given birth to skateboarding and that is why skateboarding was called sidewalk surfing in its early days.
- The initial skateboarding was barefoot. Early skateboarders tried to introduce the whole essence of surfing on the water surface through skateboarding. Though shoes were introduced in this sport later, barefoot skating again got popularity in recent decades.
- What determines the speed of a skateboard? Many of you may think that it is the wheel that governs the speed. But that is not correct. Many pieces of research have been done over this and the result is that the bearings determine how fast you can run with a skateboard. So the key factor is the bearings, not the wheels.
- The skateboard you have now has a nearly round shape on both of its sides. But the first ones were not like this. They were quite rectangular on both sides. As time went, research was done and it was understood that the shape of the skateboard has a vital role in the speed as well. And the round shape has more speed and balance than a rectangle shape. So the boards were redesigned later.
- The first shoe that was used in skateboarding was designed in 1965. Its name was Randy 720. Randolph Rubber Company made it and the specialty of this shoe was, it had a flat outsole.
- Before polyurethane wheels were invented, wheels were made from clay or metal.
- The United State military began using skateboards in training in 1997. It was done for indoor maneuvers.
- Probably you have fidget spinners on your table. These spinners are made with the same bearings that are used in skateboards.
- The popular term ‘Goofy’ in skateboarding was introduced from a cartoon show made by Disney.
- Most pro level skateboarders are ambipedal. They can use both of their legs with quite equal expertise.
- Erik Lundberg, a Canadian skateboarder set the record of fastest speed in the entire skateboarding history in 2016. His speed was 89.41 miles per hour.
First Skateboarding (Skate History)
Today when you go to a sports shop and ask for a skateboard, you will get a nice, nearly convex shaped (sometimes flat as well) board that has wheels under it to roll on the street. You may find the boards in your favorite color, design, etc. But how did the first skateboards look like? Were they the same as we see them now?
The answer is a big ‘NO’. First skateboards were merely a wooden boards or a box having roller skate wheels under them which allowed them to roll. I am talking about the 1940s. Skateboarding has been developed from surfing actually. It was known as sidewalk surfing then. That was 1950. The birthplace of skateboarding is California. Skateboards had handles then so that the balancing was quite easy. They looked like scooters at that time.
The first commercial skateboards came to the market in 1959. Makaha and Hobie company started to popularize skateboarding in 1960 under the name of sideway surfing. But it was Makaha who created the first professional skateboard team in 1963. The first skateboard competition was also held that year in California. Skateboards were not so maneuverable then. Skateboarding itself was not a safe game at all. There were risks. So, slowly it started to lose its’ popularity among people.
In the 1970s, more maneuverable and faster polyurethane wheels were made. This amazing invention along with the introduction of kicktail gave a boost to the falling popularity of skateboarding and it started to revive again. It started to spread among young peoples at a bigger rate than ever before and the first ever skate park was built in Florida. It was 1976. Vertical skateboarding was also gaining its’ own popularity along with street skateboarding. In the mid 1970s, skateboarding began to gain popularity in Germany. A skateboarding park was built in Munich and the first German skateboarding championship was held in Munich.
Alan Gelfand, a famous skateboarding freak of that time invented a completely new maneuver in 1978. Its’ name was Ollie. It is counted as “the greatest trick invented ever in the history of skateboarding” and it gave a huge thrust in the world of skateboarding. Skateboarding was completely revolutionized after the invention of this trick.
Another famous skateboarder at that time, Rodney Mullen used Ollie for different maneuvers on the streets. He was also the founder of a new style of skateboarding. Many famous skateboarding magazines began to gain popularity among the masses. For instance, we can say the name of “Thrasher”, “Transworld Skateboarding”, etc.
In the 1980s, skateboarding boomed in the USA. When you look at the dominating brands who produced skateboarding accessories then, you can see Powell Perelta, Santa Cruz, etc. Street skateboarding began to flourish quickly than vertical skateboarding and good skateboarders became more and more famous throughout the world just like the soccer stars. Patti McGee was the first female professional skateboarder.
Between the years 1978 and 1989, skateboarding was banned in Norway. Can you imagine why? Well, the reason is those severe injuries which were caused by skateboarding. Skateboarding is an extreme sport. You have to keep it in mind. And this extreme sport can cause fatal injuries during playing if you do not pay full concentration on it. Even it can break your bones or something even worse than that.
Britanica has more info here.
From the mid 1990s, skateboarding entered the modern phase which slowly evolved and got to the position of today. Big championships like “X-Games” was held and due to tremendous telecast, magazine, skateboarding became common all over the world
Events like “Street League Skateboarding” started to flourish. However, this event is only for pro level skateboarders. For instance, you may see skateboarders like Paul Rodriguez, Ryan Sheckler, Torey Pudwill in Street League Skateboarding. It is not for the newbies or intermediate level skateboarders. There are other events where amateur and intermediate level skateboarders can participate.
In recent decades, barefoot skating is gaining popularity gradually. In comparatively warmer countries like South Africa, South America, barefoot skating is becoming a trend nowadays. Penny boards are intended to ridden barefoot. These boards are made of plastic.
After 2010, electric skateboards are gaining their popularity quickly. This year, I mean 2020 was going to be the year of the debut of skateboarding in the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games. Both men’s and women’s events were to be introduced in the Summer Olympics. Unfortunately due to the Corona outbreak, we have missed the amazing events. But there is nothing to be sad about. Hopefully, the very next Olympics will be the event where skateboarding is going to be introduced.
Let’s Look At The Board Closely!
The flat surface where you have to stand at the time of skating is called the deck. Similar to the deck of a ship, isn’t it? The edge of the skateboard is called rail. The front side of the board is called the nose and the rear side is called the tail.
Grip tape is attached to the deck to increase the friction between the surface of the board and the feet of the skateboarder. The assemblies that connect the wheels to the deck is called the trucks.
Then the most important part of a skateboard. That is the wheels. Usually, the wheels are made of polyurethane.
Related: All about Cruiser Board
If we talk about the most popular tricks of street skateboarding, that is must Ollie and jump. Hundreds of jumps, spins can be done with those tricks. The longest ollie done yet was 16 feet, 6 inches. It was done in 2011 at the Maloof High Ollie Challenge. The record is held by Aldrin Garcia. The competition was held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Though certain tricks are attributed to special types of terrains, maximum tricks can be performed anywhere. No special ramps or terrains are needed.
Some popular tricks for amateur skateboarders are the kickflip, nose ollie (nollie in short), ollie, etc. Wallride, heelflip, fakie bigspin, inward heel flip, blunt fakie, etc will be quite difficult for absolute beginners. But these tricks are very essential to upgrade your level in the world of skateboarding. Obviously, a lot of practice can make you comfortable in performing these tricks. All you need to do is practice and most importantly a good board to pick.
Skateboarding Injuries Which Are Common
The most common injuries which happen during skateboarding involve the wrist, ankle, face, etc. The most severe injuries are head traumas. Injuries to the neck, arms, legs, etc. Injuries vary from cuts to sprains, even broken bones. Wearing protective gear can prevent most injuries.
An important piece of advice you must keep in your mind is, ‘Don’t ever land on your face.’ Landing on the face can break your nose, jawbone, and can cause severe brain injury.
Also, you have to know what gives rise to the probability of injury during playing. Having poor balance, a slow reflection of muscles, an improper judgment of ramps, barriers are some common reasons behind injuries. Trying tricks beyond ones’ level of expertise is another common reason behind injuries.
Enough For Today!
Skateboarding is one of the top ten most popular sports all over the world. And it is becoming more and more popular every second. Maybe you are the one who is going to be the next pro level skateboarder from your country. So, knowing the history and facts about skateboarding is quite obvious if you are a sports freak. This article is intended to let you know those histories and facts.
Probably you are getting tired after reading such a long essay. Actually, this is an introductory essay on skateboarding facts. In upcoming articles, we are going to discuss in brief detail each and everything you need to know to become a good skateboarder. Wait for those amazing articles. No more for today! Stay tuned and stay safe! Good luck!