The prototype for the first skateboard was a bright red, metal toy from the 1930s called the Scooter Skate. When its handle was removed, a child could ride the three-wheeled contraption like a skateboard, except it had steel wheels and lacked the ability to turn. A four-wheeled Skeeter Skate appeared in the 1940s. It was only marginally better.

The first true skateboards were made in the 1950s. Initially, these were handmade affairs, constructed by kids out of cannibalized roller skates that were nailed to the bottoms of wooden boards. Sensing a market for these new skateboards, one company offered a Scoot Kit, which saved customers the trouble of destroying a perfectly good pair of roller skates.

In the 1960s, skate maker Roller Derby got into the act with its own Skate Board Kit, which came with clay wheels mounted on trucks that could be screwed through metal plates and mounted to a board. It didn’t take long for Roller Derby to figure out that it could sell more skateboards if they were fully assembled, which is what it did with the #10 Skate Board, which had a bright red deck and bone-rattling steel wheels.

The list of 1960s companies from Southern California to Ontario, Canada that made skateboards is very long. There was the Official Skee-Skate Air Master, whose brown deck featured a white box in which the owner could write his or her name. The narrow (4 inches) Zipees Sidewalk Surfboard played on the notion that skateboarding was really just surfing on concrete.

Many of the design precedents for contemporary skateboards were established in the 1960s. Putting logos on the board’s deck was one such standard—in the case of Genuine Skateboard of Canada, that meant a little graphic of a maple leaf. Sokol Surf Skate was one of the first boards to feature letters that were burned into the wood. It also had a rounded, surfboard shape. The decks of Nash Sidewalk Surfers sported a trio of stylized footprints; Bauer, the Canadian hockey-skate company, decorated its boards with a bold white arrow.

Super Skate, also from Canada, was one of the first companies to try to improve upon standard steel wheels by offering its customers wider clay ones. In fact, the clay was really a composite made out of walnut shells. Sincor of Venice Beach also went with clay, but added touches like tapered rails (edges) on its skateboard decks in a manner that was reminiscent of surfboards.

Color started to be a big deal, too. Roller Derby came out with the Mustang (yellow on aqua, with yellow wheels to match). Zipees’ Lahana M-444 had green clay wheels and a pair o...

By the mid-1960s, Makaha of Santa Monica had hired surfer Phil Edwards to pitch its skateboards. Even more significant was the arrival of fiberglass and composite decks. Super Surfer’s fiberglass board, with its textured deck to ensure a good grip, was the hit of the 1965 World Skateboarding Championships in Anaheim, California.

The next major breakthrough came in 1972, when Frank Nasworthy invented urethane skateboard wheels. He called his company Cadillac Wheels, and his invention fostered a ton of new interest in the sport, as well as scores of imitators.

The Hang Ten, for example, was an aluminum skateboard with urethane wheels. Hobie diversified from surfboards to offer the Weaver Woody, which had Power Paw wheels and precision bearings to improve performance.

Skateboards were becoming increasingly sophisticated by the mid-1970s. Logan Earth Ski specialized in high-quality wooden decks, some with diamond tails, bulbous mid-sections, and delicately tapered rails. Bruce Logan, Torger Johnson, and Brad Logan all had signature models. Even Tony Alva of the famous Zephyr team from Dogtown (the area between Venice Beach and Santa Monica) rode a Logan.

In northern California, Santa Cruz Skate Boards was building skateboards with high-quality Bennett trucks and cream-of-the-crop Sims Pure Juice Bowl Rider wheels. Speed Springs trucks were also desirable—the Ed Nadalin Pro Model ran with those. Canadian company Wee Willie Winkels used X-Caliber trucks and Kahuna Tar wheels.

Rounding out the list of 1970s skateboard makers is G&S (Gordon & Smith), whose Fibreflex boards, with Bennett trucks and Power Paw wheels, were state-of-the-art wood-and-fiberglass laminates. G&S made a Stacey Peralta Warp Tail model—with Bahne trucks and Road Rider wheels—that was actually designed with empty swimming pools in mind. Alva Skates was another prominent company, as were the Pipecleaner and Moose skateboards produced by GNC.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

On-Line Skateboard Museum

On-Line Skateboard Museum

This excellent gallery of vintage skateboards, with pictures and historical descriptions, showcases 80 years of col… [read review or visit site]

The Wheelmen

The Wheelmen

This elegant tribute to turn-of-the-century bicycling includes memorabilia, photographs, and an index of 3140 bicyc… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage Skateboard Nos Old School Deck Powell Peralta Santa Cruz Sma Sims BlindSims Kevin Staab Pirate Skateboard Deck 1987 Original! Full Size Vintage Skate!Vintage G&s Fibreflex Original Skateboard Acs Kryptonics Old ClassicVintage Uncle Wiggley Argyle Original Skateboard Gullwing Pro Sims Old 80s PunkPowell Peralta. Tony Hawk. Og Skateboard. Bones Brigade.Vintage 80's Nos Skull Skates Christian Hosoi Skateboard DeckNos Vintage Jeff Kendall Skateboard Santa CruzOriginal 80's Powell Peralta Tommy Guerrero SkateboardVintage Z Roller Skateboard Trucks Z Flex Dogtown Alva Old School RareNos Girl Sean Malto Cat In The Hat Reissue Skateboard Deck Blind Jason Lee 101$.99 Cent No Reserve, Vintage Skateboard Powell Peralta Full Size Tony Hawk!!!!!Kryptonics Krypstik Vintage SkateboardVintage Old School Alva Justin Lynch Skateboard Deck 10.25 X 32 Zorlac RareAnit Hero Jeff Grosso Autographed Signed Skateboard DeckVintage Skateboard Ray Bones Rodriguez Powell Peralta Toxic W/ Slime Ball WheelsTony Hawk Complete Skateboard - Powell Peralta - Vcj Original VintageSigned Ed Templeton 1991 New Deal Skateboard Deck. Vintage Deck And SignatureV Rare Vtg Micke Alba 9.75 Kryptonics K-beam 1978 Skateboard Retro Old Skool 70s$.99 Cent No Reserve, Vintage Skateboard Powell Peralta "stinger" Caballero!!!!!Pocket Pistols Duane Peters Rare Totally Punk Psycho Stick Skateboard DeckNos Skateboard Deck Blockhead Street Standard. Original Vintage Deck.Lance Mountain Future Primitive Vintage 80's Skateboard Deck Not A Reissue Vintage Kevin Staab Sims Mini Skateboard Deck Birdhouse Old School OriginalRare Nos 1989 Bbc Jason Parkes Skateboard Deck Badboy Club Jeff Phillips SimpsonNos Skateboard Deck Blockhead Jim Gray Tv "stance Collection". Original Vintage Metallica Zorlac Skateboard Purple Og 1986 Old School Vintage Pushead Artwork1986 Town & Country Skateboard Deck - Primal Urges - Hawaiian Made - Vintage!Og Old School Schmitt Stix John Lucero Skateboard Rare Vintage Powell Santa CruzRay Barbee Nos Powell Peralta Santa Cruz Alva Vintage Skateboard Vtg Christian Hosoi Skateboard Deck Skull Skates Mini Nos Nearly Mint Rare ColorVintage Powell Peralta Lance Mountain Skateboard....Vintage Alva SkateboardVintage Ken Park Madrid Skateboard Complete Deck Rare!!1987 Nos Walker Jim Mccall Freestyle Skateboard Deck Original James MccallJason Jessee Reissue Skateboard DeckVintage 1980 Powell Peralta Lance Mountain SkateboardVintage Schmitt Stix Joe Lopes Skateboard Deck!! Nos Skateboard Deck Blockhead Omar Hassan Arabian Nights Ii "stance Collection".Vintage Skateboard Tony Hawk Powell PeraltaVintage Skateboard Powell Peralta Skull And SwordVintage 1979 Gordon & Smith Pine Design Skateboard Tracker Trucks Kryptonics Nos Skateboard Deck Blockhead Hard Times Iii Black Letters, Original VintageG&s Fibreflex Rockered Freestyle SkateboardHosoi 1988 Rare Og White Pop Art Skateboard DeckVintage Powell Peralta Skateboard Steve Caballero Pig Shape Natas Kaupas Designarium Dave Kinsey Skateboard Deck Rare Limited Edition SmaVintage 1980's Powell Peralta Blank Skateboard DeckBoosted Board Electric Skateboard Longboard New In BoxSanta Monica Airlines Natas Crazy Cat Vintage Skateboard Deck Santa CruzPowell Peralta Mike Mcgill Reissue Skateboard Deck Tony Hawk Edition Original Powell Peralta Skate Board From1983Fibreflex Skateboard Deck Gordon Smith Nos Mint Nos Skateboard Deck Omar Hassan Street "stance Collection". Origianl VintageVintage Skateboard Titan Rocket Fairfax. Rare! Sidewalk SurfboardVintage Powell & Peralta SkateboardPowell Peralta Bones Brigade Tony Hawk Chicken Skull Skateboard BlueSkull Skates Bill Danforth Rare Autographed Skateboard DeckPowell Peralta Ray Barbee "ragdoll" Skateboard Deck - 7 Day Auction -no Reserve Billy Ruff Joker G&s Skateboard Deck Original! Full Size Vintage Skate!Vintage Z Flex Jimmy Plumer Blue Fiberglass Re-issue Skateboard

Recent News: Skateboards

Source: Google News

Spooky fun planned at 'Brickyard Scare'
Seacoastonline.com, October 23rd

The program will teach kids some skills on skateboard decks without wheels. Beckett said some of the decks will have zombie characters to fit with the theme. “We created an experience that got everybody excited. I think that this year it's going to be...Read more

Skateboards get rock star makeovers
Reuters, October 23rd

In one corner of Ezequiel Galasso's workshop in Argentina, skateboard decks and black grip tape are piled high, ready to be converted into guitars. Galasso said the idea came from a conversation with professional skater Gianfranco de Gennaro about ...Read more

Johnny Umana & Lowrider Decals - Lowrider Skateboards Preserving The Youth ...
Lowrider Magazine, October 23rd

For the last three years, Johnny, Sandra, and their immediate family have been designing one-of-a-kind skateboard decks, grip tape, and wheels dedicated to their love of the lowriding culture and its history. Their custom-built skateboards are handmade...Read more

Shake and shred with Strange Mistress'Anatomy' of rock 'n' roll
Las Vegas Review-Journal (blog), October 22nd

Mounted on the wall above him is a skateboard deck adorned with a deer head with an inverted cross on its forehead. Maybe this has subconsciously inspired A.J. Gerst's analogy. “To me, it's like riding a skateboard. Nobody seems to be trying to pull...Read more

Argentine luthier turns beat-up skateboards into electric guitars
Reuters, October 22nd

In one corner of his workshop in Almagro, Buenos Aires' up-and-coming tango district, skateboard decks stripped of their black grip tape and wheels are piled high. With his bushy beard and haze of long, dark hair standing on end, Galasso, 32, looks...Read more

5 Hamptons Art Shows to See This Week
Dan's Papers, October 21st

Leahy-Miller's skull drawings, both abstract and realistically rendered, as well as his “Dakini Dancer,” Buddhism's female embodiment of enlightenment, reference Tibet as much as they do old school Powell Peralta skateboard graphics. The result is ...Read more

Photos: Skateboard art highlights the macabre and mysterious
Minnesota Public Radio News, October 14th

dark aesthetic of the skateboard subculture. Designs from 60 artists will be displayed on Canadian Maple skateboard decks. ... 8 Jenny Bookler (left) and Lindsay Nohl transfer an image to a Canadian Maple 7-ply skateboard deck. Nikki Tundel / MPR...Read more

Robin Williams Skateboard Deck Up to $11000; Final Skateraid This Sunday!
Decatur Metro, September 24th

When we last discussed, we reported that the Robin Williams signed skateboard deck up for auction as part of the 10th and final year of Skateraid, already had an impressive bid of $2,000. Well, within a day or so of that report, the bid jumped up to an ...Read more