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
Teaching the etiquette of taggingKamloops This Week, April 24th
It was one of three art-related projects the school has been doing thanks to an Art Starts in Schools grant that saw Bose and Vaughn Warren working with students on graffiti, skateboard decks and a large mural. The mural will be unveiled on Tuesday 1 p...Read more
Sterling High School students place in top 50 for Vans art competitionJournal Advocate, April 24th
The top 50 semi-finalists will also have the opportunity to compete for $10,000 by customizing a skateboard deck inspired by truth's "Finish IT" campaign. New for this year, the Laguna College of Art and Design has committed to offering $125,000 in...Read more
Millinocket machinist styles wild cigar box electric guitarsBangor Daily News, April 23rd
Baker said he has never seen a T-Bone, but he knows many guitar fans and players who craft homemade electric cigar box models out of old skateboard decks. “It sounds like what he is doing is in the same spirit of most makers. It is just regular people...Read more
Things To Do In Manchester This Weekend (24-26 April)Manchester Confidential, April 23rd
Armed with reclaimed skateboards as their canvas, Northern Quarter shops and cafes including Koffee Pot, McCalls, Oklahoma and V Revolution have teamed up with Dia Artio to design and create customised artwork upon their own skateboard deck, which ...Read more
Comic Book, Art Store Opens In AshburnLeesburg Today, April 22nd
He's created custom skateboard decks and artwork of The Walking Dead characters, among many pieces. There are five artists with art for sale. “That's one thing that we do that I think is different than other stores,” Kaylin said. Gollhofer said even...Read more
HUF x South Park x 420 PackTransworld Skateboarding, April 20th
Consisting of a custom shaped skateboard deck, easy shorts, socks, tote, towel and tees, the 9 piece graphic collection features infamous characters Towelie and Randy during their finest moments from the show. The collaboration pack retails from $14 to...Read more
The new skate city: how skateboarders are joining the urban mainstreamThe Guardian, April 20th
Likewise, the “Create a Skate” initiative – founded by skateboard manufacturer Paul Schmitt – lets kids fabricate and decorate skateboard decks, and so acquire design and technology skills. Still other ventures have even more ambitious social agendas...Read more
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