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.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
On-Line Skateboard Museum
Clubs & Associations
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Skateboards
Source: Google News
Like other art, tattoo work takes training and practiceSt. Cloud Times, April 18th
Look for the work of Trevor Muzik and other artists on painted skateboard decks displayed at the White Horse bar in downtown St. Cloud through Saturday. The pieces will be auctioned to raise funds for charity in a project called SKATE UNITY, organized...Read more
All Hands on DeckTeton Valley News, April 17th
James Fitzgerald, who owns and operates Casual Custom Screen Print in Driggs alongside Allison Emerson, said they wanted to do something a little different. They ordered up blank skateboard decks then put out a call to artists. There will be familiar...Read more
Moonage set to bring more art culture to TempeThe State Press, April 16th
The shop walls have dozens of different photographs, paintings and even painted skateboard decks. Wood floors and warm lighting give the shop a welcoming feel, but possibly the best feature of this little mom and pop shop is its diversity and what...Read more
Four Sacramento punk shows for anti-establishment typesSacramento Bee, April 16th
The Southern California band is a pivotal skate-punk band, releasing a skateboard deck through Vision and featuring pool skating scenes in its video for “Bloodstains,” an Agent Orange anthem. While many of its SoCal contemporaries took more of a ...Read more
Surfer offers sustainable alternative for skateboardersThe Sunshine Coast Daily, April 15th
A SUNSHINE Coast surfer will offer locals a sustainable alternative for skateboards, at the 2015 Maleny Wood Expo. Steveo, of Wooden Surfboards Shapes, will teach skateboarders and budding wood artists how to build their own, unique skateboard deck ...Read more
5 things seniors must do before graduatingLos Angeles Loyolan (subscription), April 15th
food on lunch trays, so said trays were used as vehicles. We no longer have these trays, so I have to recommend you don't use a couple thick pieces of cardboard, maybe an old skateboard deck or go bareback as you plummet into relatively dense brush...Read more
Crathes Castle adventure park offers chance to design skateboard zip deckAberdeen Press and Journal, April 12th
Bosses at an Aberdeenshire adventure park are inviting members of the public to come up with a new design for part of a popular attraction. The team behind Crathes Castle's Go Ape Tree Top Adventure course are seeking fresh ideas for the skateboard...Read more
Memories made in Portland: Don Cox's memorabilia collection recalls 40 years ...OregonLive.com, April 2nd
Portland Timbers skateboard deck A look at the Portland Timbers "Soccer City, USA" skateboard deck given to fans during the USL era. On the base of the skateboard, Don Cox is pictured in the bottom right hand corner cheering with other fans...Read more