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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Artist call for skate art show in NovemberDubuque Telegraph Herald, October 9th
Slide Skate Art Show, in November. For the show, hosted in conjunction with Mind Flip Productions, artists will use skateboard decks as canvasses. ... A blank skateboard deck will be provided, or artists can use their own. Finished decks will be...Read more
Academy of Responsible Tattooing (ART) Holds Ink on Deck Fundraiser for Local ...Benzinga, October 9th
11 through Sept. 30, artists and apprentices from the tattoo trade school painted new skateboard decks and put them on display at Tea NJ, a local coffee shop. All proceeds from the skateboard deck sales go to Pad Paws. "This was a great way to give...Read more
HUF and Patrick Nagel Join Forces for Limited-Edition CollaborationTransworld Business, October 8th
Consisting of reversible satin bomber jackets, fleece hoodies, skateboard decks, 6-panel hats, a blanket, pin set and tees, the HUF x Nagel Collaboration retails from $12-$190 and is available now at HUF Los Angeles, hufworldwide.com, and at select HUF ...Read more
Sexy Ronald McDonald, Simpsons Mutants, and More Weird Street Art From Wizard ...Maxim, October 8th
Brooklyn-based street artist Wizard Skull has built a cult following on Instagram with his wildly irreverent and deeply strange riffs on pop culture characters, ranging from his signature "Sexy Ronald" series to Simpsons-inspired mutants and rappers...Read more
What 5 Celebrity Entrepreneurs Can Teach You about Customer ExperienceBusiness 2 Community, October 6th
and committed customer? Hawk knew exactly what his customers would like and used his wisdom to create his own line of skateboard decks, clothing, and other accessories to offer a better, more authentic customer experience than his competitors...Read more
Lexus creates driveable cardboard IS saloonGizmag, October 6th
We've seen some unusual uses of cardboard before, including for a skateboard deck and for furniture. Lexus has perhaps trumped everything else though, by building a full-size, drivable cardboard car. The Origami Car is a faithful and life-size version...Read more
UPCYCLE CONTEST TURNS TRASH INTO SURF CRAFTSurfline.com Surf News, October 5th
Handplane quiver built from a palm frond, a front yard political sign, a skateboard deck and a plastic bucket. Almost more art piece than surf craft, Oregon's Colin Flynn (left) engineered his wooden paipo from old curtain yarn, wooden strips and some...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