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    

Nos Skateboard Deck Powell Peralta Tony Hawk Skull "2" Second Blemish. Original Vintage Powell Peralta Per Welinder Skateboard Deck(original) Vintage Nos Skateboard Deck Powell Peralta Frankie Hill DesperadoOne Of A Kind 16 Wheeled Skateboard! (custom Toft/sims Inspired)Vintage Powell Peralta Per Welinder Skateboard Deck1984 Rob Roskopp - (santa Cruz) Skateboard (vintage)Vintage Tony Alva Skateboard Tracker Trucks Kryptonics Wheels Dogtown Sims Vintage Powell Peralta Vallely 2007 Reissue SkateboardVintage Skateboard Powell Mc Gill;no Santa Cruz ;no Visin; Zorlac;no Sims ; NosVintage Og Skateboard 101 Kris Markovich 1992 "baby Boomers" Ultra RareVintage Santa Cruz Sma Natas Kitten Skateboard Deck Board OgVintage Og Skateboard Sma 1993 Tim Brauch "big Eyes" Slick Very RareSims Lester Vintage SkateboardVintage Tony Hawk Powell Peralta Skateboard DeckNos Skateboard Deck Powell Peralta Nicky Guerrero Trip Time Machine "stance CollVintage Yoyo Pro Skateboard Wheels G&s Gordon And SmithNos Skateboard Deck Blockhead Rick Howard Skunk, Original Vinage Deck, Not A Rei1970's Flitewood Skateboard Gullwing Kryptonics Gloves Kneepads Helmet Pads Vintage Tony Hawk Powell Peralta Skateboard DeckNew Spidey Swindle 2 Pocket Pistols Pps Santa Cruz Silk Screened Skateboard DeckVintage Vision Psychostick SkateboardVintage Sims Brad Bowman 10.0 Skateboard DeckVintage 80's Schmitt Stix Chris Miller Dog Mini Model Skateboard Complete DeckVintage Skateboard By Vision Early 1980s Lobster Fantail Never Ridden1987 Powell Peralta Steve Caballero Skateboard Deck In Shrink Not ReissueNos Skateboard Deck Alien Workshop Visitor "stance Collection". Original VintageVintage 1980's Steve Olson Skates Skateboard Santa CruzNos Vintage Atv Schmitt Stix Skateboards DeckVintage Santa Cruz Duane Peters 2007? Reissue SkateboardVintage G&s Kt-30 Skateboard Deck Gordon And Smith Stacy Peralta Warptail Powell Peralta Per Welinder Nordic Skull Skateboard Deck Reissue White 2014Vintage 1970's G&s Fibreflex Bowlrider Skateboard DeckHosoi Hammerhead Deck Skateboard Dogtown Powell Peralta Sims Alva KryptonicsChristian Hosoi Model Sims Pig Re-issue Skateboard Deck Powell Peralta AlvaBarnyard Signed And Numbered Mike Vallely Reissue Skateboard Deck New Sold Out!(original) Vintage Nos Skateboard Deck Real Jim Thiebaud Wrench JusticeMatt Hensley H-street Vista Pole Swing Skateboard Deck Not A Reissue Rare Old School Circle A Joe Lopes Skateboard Monoploy Deck Rare 1988 Nos Og VisionPocket Pistols Skateboard Deck Rick "spidey" DemontrondNos Skateboard Deck Powell Peralta Thorn "stance Collection". Olriginal Vintage Vintage Dogtown Bornagain SkateboardGordon And Smith Fibreflex Skate Board (old School)Nos Skateboard Deck Bbc Reese Simpson Butter Cup Street "sc" Original Deck Not ASanta Cruz Jeff Grosso Demon 30 Fn Years Reissue Skateboard Deck Vintage Natas Vintage Zorlac John Gibson 2006? Reissue SkateboardVintage Skateboard Planb Mike Carroll Everslick Nevertrend Reissue C&dVintage Og Skateboard Life 1991 Dave Donaldson "eye" Very RareNew Powell Peralta Reissue Of Vintage Vato Rat Skateboard Deck Only 60 Made Nos Skateboard Deck Blockhead Omar Hassan Arabian Nights Ii. Original Vintage DeVintage Block Head Hard Times SkateboardVintage Zorlac Big Boys 2007? Reissue Skateboard - MintVintage Sims Superlight Skateboard 1970'sVintage Dogtown Eric Dressen Pup Skateboard 1988?Nos Skateboard Deck Blockhead Hard Times Iii Black Letters, Original Vintage DecC&d Natas Boom Skateboard Deck Gonz Cease And Desist Zorlac Craig Johnson Vintage Old School Skateboard Deck Rare Size Pushead SuasNos Skateboard Deck Powell Peralta Lance Mountain Iii New Job. Original Vintage Nos Vintage Madrid Tech Double Kick Skateboards DeckReproduction Matt Hensley H-street Ray Of Light Skateboard Deck Natas Gonz RareVintage Santa Cruz Steve Olsen 2005? Reissue Skateboard

Recent News: Skateboards

Source: Google News

New Wagga hairdresser is a cut above the rest
The Leader, January 27th

Skateboard decks adorn the walls and customers are greeted by Enrique, the shop's taxidermy scorpion mascot. A wooden palette acts as a display shelf for clothing items and greenery adds colour to a rustic room with exposed brick wall and concrete floors...Read more

Skate Deck Art Show: Opening Reception
San Diego Reader, January 26th

Each artist received a blank skateboard deck and was asked to create an artwork that expresses their originality and displays their artistic skills. Fip Buchanan of Avalon 2 Tattoo and Bill Canales of Full Circle Tattoo join a roster of over 40...Read more

Weekend Planner: 21 Things To Do In Los Angeles
LAist, January 22nd

Curators Seb Carayol and Erica Overskei have brought together a number of skateboard decks and find art pieces by a number of artists, including Andy Jenkins, Alyasha Owerka-Moore, Ben Horton, Cleon Peterson, Donny Miller, Ed Templeton, Marc McKee, ...Read more

A Table Made from Old Skateboard Decks
HUH., January 21st

Focused - a company that specialises in producing furniture from worn out skateboards - has presented its very first product. Named the DecksTop (see what they did there?), the table has been made using old decks collected from local skate stores and ...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

This Guy Took 4 Leafblowers And A Skateboard Deck And Turned Them Into A ...
TechCrunch, December 12th

Fret not! As Texan Ryan Craven proves, you can pull off something of a similar vein with four gutted leafblowers, a sheet of plywood, and some gorilla tape. The disclaimers here are the same as the rest of the “hoverboards” of 2014: it's neat, but it's...Read more

Old Skateboard Decks Gain New Life as Dope Custom Furniture, November 13th

Well-loved and broken skateboard decks are usually tossed in the trash or abandoned at skate shops when they're replaced, but one company has found a way to recycle them into unique pieces of furniture that would look awesome in any room...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