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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These 6 Amazing People Are Turning Ghost Fishing Nets Into ArtOne Green Planet, August 28th
Cruiser Skateboard Decks: Bureo. Question: What's fast, saves animals, and takes you wherever you need to go? Answer: A skateboard! But not just any skateboard. This one's made out of recycled fishing nets! First they're collected off the shores of...Read more
Northern-area Community Events Calendar, Aug. 27-Sept. 2, 2015Las Vegas Review-Journal, August 27th
4; and a live skateboard deck painting show and fundraiser featuring Push Forward Skateboarding all day Sept. 5. Visit dickblick.com/stores/promotions/newlasvegas. Liberty and Libations Mixer: Join American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada for a...Read more
Big city or small town? There's plenty of art events in, near OrlandoOrlando Sentinel, August 27th
Inside was one of the best shows ever at CAF; hundreds of skateboard decks were painted and embellished by amazing local artists. It was truly a "big city" experience. In addition, there was an excellent exhibition of works by a group of African...Read more
PROFILE: Allie McFarlandCrested Butte News, August 26th
She also designed the skateboard deck art (the actual board that you ride on) for Brigette Heckel's Sk8sister. “I went through a phase where I thought, I'm gonna be a chick that skateboards. My friend and I would be at the park at 8:30 a.m. so no one...Read more
Casper man sentenced to five years in prison for death of UW studentCasper Star-Tribune Online, August 26th
The college student had also started a business burning designs into the bottom of skateboard decks and sold his designs at art festivals. “He was a talented, kind, remarkable kid who lit up every room he was in,” Anne said. "We miss him." The...Read more
Going Out Guide for the District of Columbia, Aug. 27-Sept. 2, 2015Washington Post, August 26th
“Finding a Line: Art on Deck” An exhibition of skateboard decks by artists from D.C., Cuba, Miami, New York, California and parts of Latin America opens the skateboard festival “Finding a Line: Skateboarding, Music, and Media.” The main events...Read more
Shoplifter pulls out gun in Wausau storeWAOW, August 25th
WAUSAU (WAOW) - A 19-year-old man attempting to shoplift a skateboard deck at a pawn shop pulled out a gun when a store clerk confronted him and then ran off, Wausau police said Tuesday. The incident happened about 6:30 p.m. Monday at Downtown ...Read more
Skateboard deck made from cardboardGizmag, July 28th
After several rounds of testing, it held up very well without any breaking or tearing, so I proceeded to build it that way." Finally, the team handed the cardboard skateboard deck over to Tony Hawk to test. Check out the video below to see the design...Read more