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.
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Beyoncé-inspired skateboart - buy of the dayThe Guardian, August 29th
This is really a Skateboart, as inspired by the word Surfboart, as mispronounced by Beyoncé in Drunk in Love, and which has now ended up in a shoot in Carine Roitfeld's magazine CR Fashion Book. Got it? They're pretty, 8in 7-ply skateboard decks and...Read more
Weekend Planner: 17 Things To Do In Los AngelesLAist, August 28th
The show Dreamland Summer includes both collaborative and solo pieces, including hand-printed t-shirts and a limited-edition artist's series skateboard deck. Music, open bar and free to the public. BOOK SIGNING: Actor and photographer Scott Caan signs ...Read more
You Can Literally Grain On That Wood With This Beyoncé-Inspired “Skateboart ...Global Grind, August 28th
There's a 50 percent chance you don't even know how to skate. But we're 100 percent sure you're going to want to get your hands on this board. Brooklyn-based Aaron Rhodan created the skateboard deck you never knew you needed so that you, too, could ...Read more
Golden Girls, skateboard show and moreCanton Repository, August 28th
Brothers Thadeus and Steffan Oswald, whose company is T&S Skateboards, will display custom-built, hand-painted skateboard decks in a show opening from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at The Dreg Spot, located on the second floor of 2nd April Galerie at 324 ...Read more
Permanent Turners Falls skateboarding park in the works, volunteers plan ...The Recorder, August 27th
Barry Scott of Turners Falls launches off a ramp set up in the alley beside The Brick House Community Resource Center on Tuesday. A skater for over 18 years, Scott is new to the area and discovered the Unity Skate Park when searching for people to...Read more
Blockhead Skateboards launch new brand Skate CrateShop-Eat-Surf.com, August 27th
Utilizing high quality Baltic Birch and Canadian Maple for both the crate and modern skateboard deck, Skate Crate replaces the bone shaking metal wheels of old with smooth riding urethane cruiser wheels. The crates feature eyelet hooks to easily tie...Read more
New downtown Loveland Skate Ratz shop focuses on four wheelsReporterHerald.com, August 25th
Skate Ratz is filled with a wide array of skating supplies: assembled skateboards; skateboard decks, trucks, bearings and wheels; quad skates and skate components; videos; clothing; helmets and pads; and much more. "We sell a lot of safety gear," ...Read more
the new museum skateboard deckDesignboom, July 30th
the new museum skateboard deck by chapman skateboards the new museum skateboard deck is made with from canadian hardrock maple wood featuring a high-gloss paint mix. the new museum skateboard deck by chapman skateboards the limited edition ...Read more