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    

Santa Cruz Rob Roskopp Pro Series 86 Skate Board Deck Vintage 1980s RareNos 1987 Zorlac Metallica Pirate Artwork By Pushead Skateboard Deck VintageNatas Kaupas Skateboard 1987 Vintage Used WhiteVintage Original Super Rare Blind Jason Lee Dodo Spoof Complete Skateboard DeckSma World Industries Rodney Mullen Freestyle Skateboard Deck 1989Powell Peralta Skateboard Hieroglyphics 7ply Full Deck Rat Bones 1990Vintage Sims Andrecht Skateboard Deck Powell Peralta Nos Mike Mcgill Skull And Snake Skateboard Vintage 1980 Powell Peralta Tony Hawk Skateboard Deck Chicken Skull DragonKaws Originalfake Real Skateboard Deck Remix Super Rare New SupremeOmar Hassan Arabian Nights 3 Blockhead Skateboard 1991 NosPowell Peralta Frankie Hill Mini Complete SkateboardPowell Peralta Ray Barbee Ragdoll Vintage Og Skateboard 1989 Sean CliverVision Mini Joe Johnson SkateboardKevin Staab Sims Mad Chemist Og Vintage Complete Skateboard With Free Banner! Vintage 1985 Powell Peralta Mike Mcgill Skull And Snake SkateboardPowell Peralta Tony Hawk Birdclaw Vintage Deck SkateboardGordon & Smith Fibreflex Team Rider Skateboard 1970's Vintage?Vintage Schmitt Stik Lucero 1x Deck Used W/ Gullwing Trucks Rat Bone 97a WheelsVintage Skateboard Original 1985 Full Dragon Steve Cabellero Powell PeraltaSector Nine 9 Longboard Skateboard 9.5" X 41" - 1993Chad Muska Shorty's Skateboard Deck New MintVintage 1986 Zorlac Sacred Cow Skateboard Shut Up And Skate Sims 63 WheelsOriginial Vision Hippie Stick Skateboard 1985 Old Ghosts, Old School1987 Vintage Schmitt Stix John Lucero X2 Skateboard Deck BundleNos Skateboard Deck Christain HosoiVtg 1980s Wrecked Town And Country Skate Designs Skateboard Deck Burst HawaiiJeff Grosso Santa Cruz Reissue Skateboard Deck1of5 Re-dux Hand Painted And Inspired By Vintage Zorlac Metallica SkateboardVintage 1970s Skateboard Tracker Midtrack Trucks Guaranteed Made In Usa Midtrak Tony Hawk Pictogram Deck Powell Peralta Skateboard 1990 NosG&s Vintage Fibreflex Kicktail Model Skateboard (black) G+s1970s Vintage Fibreflex Skateboard Deck Green Gordon Smith Retro No Reserve!Jim Thiebaud Hanging Klansman Real Skateboard Deck Old School ReissueVintage Powell Peralta 1986 Tony Hawk Chicken Skull Deck Signed By Natas!!!!!Original 80's Rob Roskopp Skateboard, Bones Wheels, Tracker TrucksPowell Peralta T Bones Nos Skateboard Wheels Tony Hawk Lance Mountain CaballeroVision Psycho Stick Vintage Skateboard Original CompleteVintage Skateboard Wheels Henry Hester Rare Road Rider Sims LoganVintage 70`s Sims Taperkick Skateboard - Independent Trucks - Gold Cup Stok`ems Mike Vallely Elephant Skateboard Deck Powell Classic 2005 Reissue Old SchoolSchmitt Stix Atv Skateboard Authentic Vintage RareCarver Complete Cruiser, College Campus Cruiser, 30 1/2"l 9 1/2" WA-1 Meats Kings Nos Skateboard Wheels Matt Hensley H-street Life Planet EarthPowell Caballero Skateboard Deck Chad Muska Shorty's Skateboard Deck New MintEric Nash Scratch Off 2 Deck Sims Skateboard 1993 NosVintage Lot Of Skateboard Accessories New Old StockSims Bottlecap Graphic Skateboard 1990's Nos The Ultra Rare Pink!! Vintage 1989 Tony Hawk 'claw' Powell Peralta SkateboardLot Of 15 Vintage Madrid Skateboards StickersPowell Peralta Reissue Bb Lance Mountain Future Primitive DeckSanta Cruz Oj Team Riders Nos Skateboard Wheels Jason Jessee Jeff Kendal SalbaBulldog Skateboards Quadplane 12" Deck Q12 Dogtown Wes Humpston Bds Alva SimsVintage Complete Sma Jim Thiebaud Joker 1989 Skateboard Deck Tracker Oj2 BonesOriginal Vision Psycho Stick Skateboard Deck Not A Re-issue Vintage MintDregs Longboard Red Point Kicktail SkateboardLot Vintage Skateboard Trucks Tracker Cell Blocks, Wheels, Bearing Press+ 1980sVintage Powell Peralta Tommy Guerrero Skateboard Deck(used Original)Fake Jeff Grosso Toy Box Skateboard, Complete Sma Natas

Recent News: Skateboards

Source: Google News

Community reflects on life of skateboarder Georgie Tsushima
Ames Tribune, July 24th

When Tsushima still ran Focus Skateshop, he would advertise at Studio X, mounting skateboard decks on the walls. For a time, he dated Scigliano's daughter, Kassi. Occasionally, he would tell Scigliano that, if her business ever changed locations, he...Read more

Series of classes conclude at gallery
Sturgis Journal, July 24th

It was a busy week at Open Door Gallery in Sturgis. Art teacher Sarah Kalasky taught morning and afternoon summer art classes for children Monday through Thursday. Classes included such varied subjects as skateboard deck painting and topics inspired by ...Read more

Joey hits the 'Deck'
The Nation, July 24th

BETTER KNOWN to rap fans as Joey Boy, Apisit Opasaimlikit recently started his new business of street-smart sunglasses under the brand name of "Deck Funglasses by Joey Boy." The sunglasses have a unique style and also break all the fashion rules...Read more

Tatum Braun of Charlotte sets Guinness world record
Shelburne News, July 24th

A balance board is a device used by athletes to improve their balance and agility that resembles a skateboard deck on top of a thick rolling pin. One keeps upright by rolling back and forth. Braun's mother had previously set the record with a time of...Read more

Verizon Hosts Grand Opening Party For Santa Monica Destintation Store
Santa Monica Mirror, July 24th

It was the Verizon flagship store's grand opening party. The event was complete with a “respect ya deck” event, where attendees designed their own skateboard deck, aforementioned fitness classes, and so many other events to enjoy. The celebration isn't...Read more

The ultimate Albuquerque Dukes throwback: retro game, craft beer mark 100 years
Albuquerque Business First (blog), July 24th

But two years ago, they said, they took over all the rest of the business, from T-shirts and sweatshirts to pint glasses, skateboard decks and all other things Albuquerque Dukes. They pay for production runs, warehouse their merchandise, fill orders...Read more

Basque artist Judas Arrieta gives you a tour of 'Boiseland' with his exhibit ...
The Idaho Statesman, July 23rd

His “Boiseland” installation of posters, painted skateboard decks and large paintings will fill Ming Studios, an international artist residency in Downtown Boise, starting July 24. The exhibit opens in time for Jaialdi as thousands of Basques come to...Read more

Riley Hawk: Pro Skater, Renegade Rider, Shep Dawg for Life, July 16th

Your dad and Ben Harper founded Boards + Bands, a charitable auction of pro skateboard decks with handwritten lyrics by a musical artist. I have seen this summer's preview of collaborations. There's a Chris Cole deck with lyrics by Elton John, a Nyjah ...Read more