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    

Original Nos Powell Peralta Ray Barbee "fire Hydrant" Skateboard DeckNos Vtg 80s 1988 Powell Peralta Steve Caballero Skateboard Deck1988 Sims Kevin Staab Mighty Genie Vintage Nos Skateboard Deck Mint Condition Original Nos 1990 Powell Peralta Frankie Hill Skateboard1970s Caster Skateboard With Independent Trucks And Sims Wheels Pool Dog TownVintage Original 1989 World Industries Jef Hartsel Complete Skateboard 80s RarePowerll Peralta 1980s Skull And Sword Rat Bones Skateboard Vintage Skull TrucksOriginal Nos 1991 Powell Peralta Tony Hawk SkateboardOriginal Alva Skate Deck. Mint Condition! Eddie Reategui Skateboard Model Powell Peralta Lance Mountain Street Crest SkateboardVintage Og World Industries Dune Skateboard Deck Set Pastras Mckee Blind 101Rare Vintage 1986 Ken Park Mugger Town And Country Nos Skateboard DeckNos Mint Vintage 1986 Zorlac Craig Johnson Fire Demon Skateboard DeckVintage Skateboard Old School G&s Custom Airbrush Model Pineapple Gordon & SmithVintage Zorlac Pushead Pirate Head Metallica Skateboard ©1987Yuneec Egocr001us E-go Electric Skateboard 37.8"x10.8", Black/orange1990 Frankie Hill Bulldog Mini Skateboard Skate Nos Powell Peralta Old School NrVintage Original Cease And Desist H Street, Matt Hensley SkateboardOriginal Nos 1991 Powell Peralta Frankie Hill SkateboardJosh Kalis Love Park Alien Workshop Skateboard Deck Vintage Aws 2001Powell Peralta Tony Hawk Bam Bam Tracker Old School Skateboard Vintage 80s1970's Vintage Skateboard CollectionVintage Santa Cruz Keith Meek Slasher Skateboard Deck CompleteVintage T&c Town And Country Skateboard Hawaii Primal Urges Vintage Og Rare Yellow Dip Powell Peralta 7 Ply 1988 Mike Mcgill Skateboard DeckVintage Sims Lester Skateboard Gullwing Trucks And G&s Yoyo Wheels Vintage Skateboard Hobie 1970 Fiberglass Collection All 10 IncludedZorlac Metallica Vintage Skateboard Old School Skateboarding Powell Peralta Skull And Sword Old School Skateboard Used Vintage Sims Jeff Phillips Tie Dye Demon Skateboard Deck Natas Element Skateboard DeckVintage H-street Skateboard W/ Stickers Pro Model 90's Cruiser Ron Allen Vintage Old School G&s Mona Lisa Skateboard Deck 1991Skate Rags Skateboard Vintage Skate Board Powell Peralta Bug1980 Vintage Powell Peralta Per Welinder Complete Freestyle SkateboardVintage Skateboard Vintage Skateboard Schmitt Stix John Lucero X2 1987 Og!Vintage Og Powell Peralta 7 Ply 1988 Mike Vallely Street Style Skateboard DeckBoosted Electric Skate Board Dual Plus LongboardVtg Steve Caballero Skateboard Deck Dragon Bones Brigade Powell Peralta 7plySanta Cruz Skateboards Homer Simpson "rob Roskopp Face" Deck- The Simpsons JimboGullwing Pro Vintage Skateboarding TrucksBoosted Board Dual + 2000w 22mph Electric Longboard Skateboard No ReserveRay Barbee The Firm Skateboard Lance MountainVintage New Deal Siamese Twin Slick Team Skateboard Deck 1991Bmw Streetcarver Street Carver Longboard Skateboard Good Condition1976 Sims Quicksilver Pro Slalom Skateboard Orignial, DogtownLance Mountain Ray Barbee Salman Agah Matt Beach The Firm SkateboardsRare Santa Cruz Bart Simpson 500 Episode Skateboard Deck Alva G&s Vision The Firm Skateboards Joe & Keith Gurber Lance MountainVintage Amber Urethane Skateboard Risers/shock Pads. G&s Sims Logan Hobie BahneVintage Powell Peralta Lance Mountain Future Primitive Mini SkateboardBenchwheel Dual Drive Electric Long Board Fast Skateboard Boosted Used Nr1983 Tony Hawk SkateboardKaws Guest Artist Krooked Skateboard Deck Limited Edition Marc Gonzales Pro ModePowell Peralta Bucky Lasek Skateboard Nos 1990 Rare Hawk Mountain Mullen CliverRob Roskopp Santa Cruz 30 F*cking Years Face 2 Skateboard DeckG&s Flying Aces Skateboard Vintage Skateboard Hobie Surfboard 1970's Fiberglass Rare

Recent News: Skateboards

Source: Google News

Your Guide to the Force: Celebrate Star Wars Day With These Deals
LaughingPlace.com, May 3rd

This week the retailer is offering 20% select Star Wars Lego sets as well as IMS skateboard decks featuring characters from the saga. Additionally, if you have little ones, they may be interested in building a mini Millennium Falcon in stores from 12 p...Read more

Skateboarders hold fundraiser at Hardywood for Texas Beach park
Richmond.com, April 30th

Matt Samsky prepares to jump over a barrel at Thrash for Cash at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery on Saturday April 30, 2016. Thrash for Cash was put on by Richmond Area Skateboard Alliance as a fundraiser for the Texas Beach Skate Park...Read more

Sustainability Best Practices Part 1 | Fair Trade & Social Programs
Transworld Business, April 29th

To consumers who are not familiar with the manufacturing supply chain, they may think being a sustainable-driven company means using solar energy, recycled paper in the office and selling organic cotton garments. All of those are true, but...Read more

Step on it! Gregori High shoe artists need online votes
Modesto Bee, April 27th

The Truth Skateboard Deck Challenge judges entries on their anti-smoking message. It is one of four separate contests aligned with the Vans competition. Winning in the five-region Vans competition boils down to getting the most votes out of 10...Read more

Sabino High School makes semifinals in Vans competition
Tucson News Now, April 27th

Participants will be challenged to customize a skateboard deck inspired by their reaction to a raw fact about tobacco. This year's challenge is: "Only 7 percent of teens smoke. That's down from 23 percent in 2000. We can get it to 0 percent. Now: Show...Read more

'Decked Out' takes bonsai into gritty, beautiful world of skateboard art
The Olympian, April 23rd

The bonsai — collection specimens chosen for both quality and variety — are offset in the arrangement by a vibrant skateboard deck (minus trucks and wheels) instead of the painted scroll that's been used in tokonomas in Japanese houses and temples...Read more

April 7th Skateboard Deck Charity Art Auction at KBC
UPMatters.com, April 6th

The Houghton Skatepark Group is holding a charity art auction at the Keweenaw Brewing Company in Houghton this Thursday, April 7, from 7-9 p.m. The event will feature work from 25+ local artists. Quincy Woodwrights, a Houghton-based skateboard deck ...Read more

Evolution of the Skateboard Deck
The Good Men Project (blog), February 16th

Shark, banana, fishtail, popsicle… Are these skateboards or items from a day at the beach? –––. Evolution of the Skateboard Deck Infographic - An Infographic from BestInfographics.co. Embedded from BestInfographics.co. Sidewalk Surfboards. The first ...Read more