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    

1987 Lance Mountain Future Primitive Powell Peralta Vintage Skateboard DeckVintage Mark Gonzales Skateboard Deck Gonz VisionVintage Sma Julien Stranger Flying High Skateboard Deck Santa CruzVintage '85 Powell Peralta Ripper Pig Skateboard Deck Not Reissue Baby Blue UsedPowell Peralta Team Bug Skateboard Vintage Santa Cruz Sims OldschoolVintage Z-flex Jimmy Plummer Skateboard Nos W/ Nos Z-groove WheelsVintage Mark Gonzales Skateboard Deck Vision GonzNos Vintage 1980's Santa Cruz Speed Wheels Hosoi Ojii Rockets 95a SkateboardAlva Eddie Reategui Rare Skateboard Deck Nos Old-school Powell ZorlacNatas Kaupas Santa Monica Airline Reissue Skateboard Deck Distributed Santa CruzSuper Rare Og Lonnie Toft Skateboard, Trackers, Sims Snakes Dogtown Era Z BoysTony Hawk Powell And Peralta Vintage SkateboardHosoi Japan Flag Vert Nos Skateboard Deck Personal Competition Board! Vintage Nos Vintage 1980's Org Santa Cruz Speed Wheels Hosoi Ojii Rockets 95a SkateboardSanta Cruz Skateboard Slalom Vintage Powell Peralta Sims OldschoolVision Mark Gonzales Skateboard Color My Friends InSanta Cruz. Skateboards Jeff Grosso Z-roller Z-flex Dogtown Trucks SkateboardVintage 1989 Powell Peralta Tony Hawk Red Claw Forest Skateboard DeckSupreme Sean Cliver Ritual Skateboard DeckMike Mcgill Powell Peralta Aquarium Nos Black Stain Skateboard Deck Bone BrigadeLosi Skate Designs Lsd Airbourne Skateboard Deck Allen Midgette Flower DesignPowell Peralta Vato Team Deck Vintage Old School Skateboard DeckVintage Skateboard Zorlac Mertz Shark Old School Deck Pushead Santa Cruz TrackerPlan B Rick Howard Madonna 90's Vintage Skateboard Deck Collector's ItemNew Carver C2/c7 Trucks And 70 Mm (70mm) Roundhouse Wheels Skateboard LongboardSteve Caballero Autographed Skateboard New- Stickers And Signed Poster Included!Vintage Nos Tracker Half Track Skateboard Trucks Circa 1970sCease And Desist Blind Jason Lee David Bowie Skateboard DeckJason Jessee Signed Neptune SkateboardPowell Peralta Steve Caballero Bats Dragon Reissue Skateboard Deck Black And RedPowell Peralta SkateboardHawaii Koa Surf Classics 5' Longboard Skateboard - Koa Wood & Custom Kapa BagMadrid Mike Smith Duck Nos Skateboard Deck Vintage 1985 Signed Old SchoolMaherajah Skateboard - Rare With Gullwing Hpg Iv And Road Rider 6 Wheels1970s~hobie Brand Weaver "woody" Wood Skate Board Deck Vintage Original Dogtown Skateboard 1987 Eric Dressen- Dressen Designs-"signed"Vintage Vision The Beef Stick 9" Nos Skateboard Deck Rare 1978Vintage Jeff Kendall Santa Cruz Dust To Dust Atomic Man Skateboard Nos 80s Powell Peralta Lance Mountain Skateboard!!Vintage 1980's Gullwing Super Pro 3 Skateboard Trucks - 9" Axle- Lightly Used Bbc Brian Pennington Mushrooms Nos Skateboard Deck Vintage Rare!Santa Cruz Star Wars Boba Fett Skateboard Deck In Blister Pack Sold OutMatt Hensley Pole Swing C&d Cease And Desist Skateboard DeckNew Schmitt Stix Joe Lopes Crystal Ball Old School Reissue Skateboard Deck WhiteNos Vintage Powell Peralta Steve Saiz Hot Pink Skateboard Old SchoolVintage 70's Hobie Competition Skateboard Original Hobie Wheels Bennett TrucksAlva John Thomas Original Vintage Skateboard Krooked Christian Hosoi Guest Board By Mark Gonzales For Legal Defense Fund 2003Vintage Powell Peralta Ray Barbee Ascension Slick Reissue Used Skateboard Ccs Glow In The Dark Complete Skateboard - Spitfire Wheels Venture TrucksVintage Santa Cruz Jason Jessee Sungod Neptune Skateboard Powell SmaNew Santa Cruz Roskopp Face Old School Reissue Skateboard Deck - No ShrinkVintage Skull Skates Christian Hosoi Skateboard Powell Peralta Old School MiniCaballero SkateboardPlan B Pdpr5fel Felipe Gustavo P2 32"x8" Skateboard Deck Blue/white/blackChicago Skate Cruiser Complete Skateboard Penny Style Board New!Santa Cruz Jeff Kendall Ashes To Ashes Skateboard Deck Vintage SkateboardSteve Caballero Signed Skateboard- Signed Cab Poster/stickers Included!Powell Peralta Caballero Skateboard - Complete - Never Used!!

Recent News: Skateboards

Source: Google News

Never Adult Moment: Artist Michael Sieben ollies his skater years into the ...
Austin Chronicle, April 23rd

Michael Sieben, tall and lanky and chill, is approaching 40 the way a seasoned skater on a vintage Powell-Peralta deck approaches a previously undiscovered half-pipe in a vast concrete construction site: stoked and ready for action. The University of...Read more

Gallery and museum exhibits: April 24-30
The Recorder, April 23rd

Exhibition of Original Skateboard Decks. Opening reception and art auction Saturday, April 26. See our cover story, Page D1. Ending soon. LEVERETT LIBRARY, 75 Montague Road, Leverett. 548-9220, www.leverettlibrary.org. “Celebrating the Trails of ...Read more

All decked out: Auction Saturday benefits proposed skateboard park
The Recorder, April 23rd

Kenneth Murphy, 33, of Greenfield works on a skateboard deck that will be up for auction Saturday to support the Unity Skate Park committee's dream of a permanent concrete skate park in Turners Falls. Recorder/Micky Bedell. Artist Terry R. Marashlian...Read more

Polk Museum gets 'All Decked Out' with skateboard art
Tampabay.com, April 22nd

Painted skateboard decks by Dan Lasata are part of the Polk Museum of Art's “All Decked Out” exhibition. Skateboarders may resist their culture going mainstream but it seems inevitable when the venerable Smithsonian Institution creates Innoskate, a...Read more

Supreme to Celebrate 20th Anniversary with Box T-Shirts, Skateboard Decks
The BoomBox, April 21st

Supreme is on a roll. After dropping the Foamposite Ones and the North Face jackets they are back to hit our pockets again. This time in honor of their 20th anniversary, the streetwear company is reissuing the first two T-shirts that helped kickstart...Read more

Museum hosts monthly Fourth Tuesday Tour
Huntington Herald Dispatch, April 20th

The exhibit features more than 50 of his skateboard decks that he has done since 1998 for such companies as Alien Workshop, Element and his own company Darkroom. Pendleton also includes many of his modern art paintings showcasing his unique and ...Read more

Skateboard deckorator: Exhibit by deck artist ramps up at HMOA
Charleston Gazette, April 19th

Interspersed among the scores of skateboard decks hanging in the exhibit are some of Pendleton's canvas works. “I maintain a quote-unquote fine-art career where I do gallery exhibits and I do prints. It gets me away from commercial work, something that...Read more

Skateboarders don't fear downhill slope
The Auburn Plainsman, April 18th

The small white building with a yellow trim has a bench made partly with skateboard decks and a waxed concrete block to skate on in the parking lot. The walls are lined with racks of skateboards, brightly colored wheels and a small shoe selection. A...Read more