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 Og Powell Peralta 1990 Mike Mc Gill Kicknose RareSteve Caballero Personal Rider Skateboard 2015 Bondi Bowlarama Contest SignedVintage Skateboard Og Santa Cruz 1990 Corey O'brien Purgatory RareVintage Tonk Hawk Powell Peralta Tony Hawk Skateboard 1989 Black/green/pink Vintage 1980 Powell Peralta Lance Mountain SkateboardClassic G&s Neil Blender Coffee Break Skateboard Vintage Shop Find Rob Roskopp Target Board All Original Condition, SkateboardNos Vintage Tony Hawk Powell & Peralta SkateboardsVintage Skateboard Og Sims Flagship 1983 Team Deck RareVintage Mike Mcgill Powell Peralta Skateboard, Complete, 1980, Excellent Cond.Skateboard Vintage Deck Og 1987 Powell Peralta Nos Per Welinder Nordik SkullEric Dressen Nos 1991 Everslick Santa Cruz Skateboard Deck Fits Powell Vision Keenan Milton Skateboard Deck By Chocolate Skateboards1988 Santa Cruz Corey O'brien Reaper Skateboard Deck UsedNatas Kaupas Sma Santa Monica Airlines Santa Cruz Skateboard Deck Powell 101Rare Vintage Santa Cruz Claus Grabke SkateboardVintage Powell Peralta - Cockroach (bug) Skateboard Deck - 1987 - Bonite1985 Vintage Steve Steadham Skateboard DeckOrginal Powell Peralta Frankie Hill Skateboard!! Set Of 4 Road Rider 6 Vintage Skateboard Wheels New Bearings And SpacersMike Vallely Barnyard From Street Plant Only 100 Made Rare Skateboard Vintage 'bones' Skateboard Wheels From Santa Barbara 70's G&s Proline 500 SkateboardChocolate Skateboards Keenan Milton Chocolate Bar Series Skateboard Evan HecoxVintage Skateboard Mike Carroll Big Mess Plan B Powell Peralta Santa Cruz 101 Vintage Logan Earth Ski Skateboard With Acs-651 TrucksVintage Tunnel Skateboard DeckRare Oop - Natas Kaupas Panther Skateboard Deck - Sma Designarium Signed 60/5001978 Original Vintage Dogtown Bulldog Design Wes Humpston Skateboard - MintG & S Vintage Skateboard Warptail Gullwing Trucks Kryptonics Alva DogtownChocolate Skateboards Stevie Williams Car Series Impala Deck Art By Evan HecoxVintage Dogtown Skateboard Deck,zorlac,powell Peralita, Rob Mertz, Sma.santacruzNos Skateboard Deck Skull Skates Red Hot Chili Peppers Tub TechVintage Skateboard Og Skull Skates 1986 Johnny Ray Very RareDuane Peters Santa Cruz Reissue Skateboard Deck W/ Independent Truck Stickers Rare New Nos Oj 2 Christian Hosoi Skateboard Wheels Fit G&s Sims Dogtown Look-- Vintage 1980s Gullwing Pro Skateboard Trucks Used Skateboarding Vintage Skateboard Complete Og Santa Cruz 1990 Corey O'brien Purgatory RareCarver C7 6.5 Skateboard TrucksBulldog Skates 'shogo Dragons' Skateboard Wheels (nos)Vintage Old School Nos Skateboard Powell Reissue Vintage 'bones' Skateboard Wheels By George PowellMike Mcgill Reissue Skateboard Powell Peralta Skate One New Sealed1980s Vintage Skateboard Trucks Independent Skateboarding Used Cease And Desist Jim Thiebaud Skateboard DeckThe Warriors Zoo York Skateboard Rare Furies Deck Impossible To Find Great ShapeVintage Skateboard Gordon Smith G&s Rare Road Rider Sims LoganVintage Bennett Skateboard Trucks With RisersVintage Hobie Competition SkateboardVintage Skateboards Signed By Several Skateboarders. Tony Hawk, Heath K And Mor Willy Santos Birdhouse Projects - Nos Skateboard Deck Flip World Blind 101 GirlRare Special Edition Plan B Slayer Show No Mercy Skate Board Deck 8"Vintage 'bones' Skateboard Wheels From CaliforniaVintage Tracker Skateboard Trucks Skateboarding 70's 1975 1970 1970'sBulldog Skates 'purple Haze' Skateboard Wheels (nos)Nos Vintage Flo Orange Gullwing Pro Iii Skateboard Trucks 9" Old School BoltVintage Ray Underhill Powell Peralta Skateboard Deck Mini Late 70's Z-pig Skateboard Complete Vintage. Wes Humpston, Jay AdamsVintage Sims Bowl Rider Skateboard Wheels80's Sims Two Tone Rocco Skateboarding Wheels

Recent News: Skateboards

Source: Google News

The Process Of Making An Entire Skateboard Looks Like A Lot Of Fun
Gizmodo Australia, March 4th

Skateboarding is fun but George Powell of Powell Peralta skateboard makes building skateboards look even more fun. It's always cool to see hands and machines and people transform wood into something completely different but especially neat to see how ...Read more

Go to extremes with Urban Riders Games
This Is Wiltshire, March 3rd

Winners will be given the VIP treatment as they pick up prizes such as skateboard decks, trainers, t-shirts, accessories and the grand prize – a Crisp Scooter, donated by the Swindon Advertiser. With esteemed judges including pro-rider and toast of the ...Read more

New skateboard & apparel shop rolls into Silver Lake
The Eastsider LA, February 25th

But those skaters don't have many neighborhood options when it comes to buying a new skateboard deck or accessories, said Christopher Chough. That's why Chough decided to open The Banks, a skateboard and apparel ... “I also wanted to be a part of the...Read more

Watch Stacy Peralta's Short Film Tribute To Skateboarding Pioneer George Powell
Co.Create, February 25th

Back in 1978, pro skater Stacy Peralta teamed up with entrepreneur George Powell to create one of skateboarding's most iconic brands. Since then, Powell-Peralta has split up (the '90s!) and more recently come back together. Now, Peralta—who's second ...Read more

Skate Guitar project recycles broken decks into eco-friendly instruments
Los Angeles Times, February 20th

Skate Guitar project recycles broken decks into eco-friendly instruments. The Skate Guitar project is the brainchild of three friends from Argentina who transform beat up skateboard decks into one-of-a-kind guitars, promoting their combined passions of ...Read more

Skateboard creativity class fosters leadership among Tahoe-Truckee teen boys
Tahoe Daily Tribune, February 17th

It's a school day afternoon and a group of middle school boys is gathered around a drop cloth, painting skateboard decks. Not only is this a positive and creative artistic outlet for boys, but it is also a forum for discussions that explore real life...Read more

Deck the Halls exhibit features the work of local artists on skateboard decks ..., December 27th

Deck the Halls skateboard art show opened to an enthusiastic crowd at the SALT Quarters Saturday evening. On display were tattoo, graffiti, abstract, and illustrative graphics on skateboard decks created by local artists. Live musical performances by...Read more

25 of the Best Skateboard Deck Designs
Paste Magazine, September 8th

Some of the most talented and creative artists choose not to put their work in a frame and don't get to have velvet-roped shows. Their pieces are unlikely to make it into any museum exhibit. Your parents probably wouldn't approve of their content, and...Read more