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    

1986 Vision Psycho Stick Vintage Skateboard CompleteSanta Cruz Salba Witch Doctor Skateboard Deck Steve Alba1987 Schmitt Stix Lucero X2 Vintage Complete SkateboardUsed Vintage 1985 Powell Peralta Lance Mountain Skateboard Tracker Trucks SimsPowell Peralta Team Bug Bones Brigade Nos 1987 Skateboard DeckVintage Caster Skateboard Wooden Deck Tracker Trucks And KryptonicsVintage Skateboard Deck Powell Peralta Mike Mcgill Hot Pink! 80s Old School CoolVintage Nos Og Kris Markovich Skateboard Deck Gordon Smith Natas Lee 101 GonzOriginal Vintage 1980's Powell Peralta Lance Mountain Crest B Brigade Skateboard Powell Peralta Vintage Rare!!! Wade Speyer 1993 Evil Klowns Slick Skateboard2001 Element Natas Kaupas Pro Skateboard Deck Panther Graphic Rare Sma UnusedCaballero Vintage Skateboard Deck Tracker Trucks Ampro Wheels Powell Peralta Ltd. Jason Jessee Signed Skateboard Powell Santa Cruz Zorlac Sims G&s Vision SmaKaws Real Skateboards *rare* 2007 Supreme Huf Ltd Skate Deck 219/500Santa Cruz Jeff Grosso Alice In Wonderland Og Vintage Skateboard Nos Rare OldH Street Andrecht Skateboard Sims Motobilt Trucks Kryptonics 63.5 Wheels DogtownNew Old Stock Vintage Sims Pure Juice Skateboard Wheels, New!!!, With Bearings1980s Madrid Jester Xteamrider Rare Vintage Skateboard Deck Tracker Trucks Oj LlSanta Cruz Rob Roskopp Face Reissue Of 80's Skateboard DeckKaws X Krooked X Mark Gonzales Skateboard Huf Supreme Skate Deck Ltd RareSupreme Halloween Skateboard Deck Sean Cliver Box Logo Family Ritual NewNos Skull Skates Skateboard Powell Vision Santa Cruz Alva Sims Zorlac G&s Sma1979 Vintage Sims Snakes Conical Wheels Alva Dogtown Skateboard Hosoi GullwingNos Lucero Cross Skateboard Deck Santa Cruz Old School 1980's Vintage Santa Cruz Skateboard Deck, Jason Jessee, "sun God" 30 Fkn Years, Mini Orange.Nos 1987 G&s Chris Miller Skateboard Mini Lizard Deck VintageVintage Skateboard Trucks Independent 169 Stage 1 T-hangers Old School Indy 80sVintage Skateboard Deck G&s Fibreflex 27 Inch 70's Old SchoolVintage G&s SkateboardSanta Cruz Skateboard Vintage Special Edition 5 Ply 1984 No Concave Nos Vintage 1979 Sundancer SkateboardVintage Complete Skateboard 1986 Alva Chris Cook "jester"Vintage Complete Skateboard 1987 Vision Schmitt Stix Joe LopezRare Nos 1970s Vintage Tracker Trucks Midtrack Skateboard Copers New In Wrapper2 Powell Peralta Mini Skateboards Santa Cruz Vision H Street Alva G&s Nos Vintage Powell & Peralta Lance Mountain Skateboard Deck 9.5 X 30.5 Nos2004 Hook-ups Pro Team Skateboard Deck Rare Oop New Sealed Skate Hookup HookupsVintage Gullwing Pro 8 Skateboard Trucks 70's 8.0Vintage Skateboard Deck Rob Roskopp Face Santa Cruz 1987 Original RareVintage 1970s Taper Pro Skateboard Wood Deck Acs-430 Trucks & Power PawsBoosted Skateboard Dual Plus +Seaflex "bomb Cat" Skateboard 80's Vintage Felix The Cat BombJeff Grosso Santa Cruz Skateboard Deck Cease And Desist C & D Sma Gonzales NatasPowell Peralta Mike Mcgill Skateboard Santa Cruz Vision Sims Alva H Street G&s Vintage Old School Tracker Oak Leaf Skateboard Deck By Lester Kasai 1980'sVintage Bahne Skateboard Fiberglass Deck With Bennett Pros And Super Mag WheelsVintage Thrasher Magazine Skateboard T-shirt Xl Santa Cruz Powell Peralta Tony Hawk Skateboard Santa Cruz Vision H Street Alva Sims G&sZ-flex Vintage Skateboard Reissue The Original Signed Rodney Mullen Bones Brigade Silk Screened Framed Lim Ed Skateboard Rare Vtg 1989 Santa Cruz Speed Wheels Skateboards T-shirt Nhs Cow Skull Stedman!Vintage Ray Barbee Tarot Complete SkateboardVintage Santa Cruz Nos Bullet 97a Skateboard 4 Wheels Mixed Colors Vtg Powell Peralta Quartermaster Skateboard T-shirtSims Ayers Complete SkateboardVinatge Powell Peralta Skateboard DeckVintage Makaha Pro Adjustable Skateboard Trucks. Tracker Logan Acs Bennett G&s Yuneec Electric Skateboard E-go Longboard Great Condition!Santa Cruz Bart Simpson Skateboard Deck Rare Oop New Sealed Skate Simpsons The BNos Powell Peralta Steve Saiz Totem Pole Skateboard Deck New 1989