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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Many people supply the 'giving' in Thanksgiving | Turkeys and Trophieslehighvalleylive.com, November 28th
Suddenly Samantha is joining with two other businesses, Brick + Mortar Gallery and Homebase Skateshop, displaying custom decorated skateboard decks that will be sold through a silent auction to benefit the homeless shelter. In Bethlehem, the city will...Read more
Snowstorm abates, driving still trickyHerald and News, November 26th
Alger Jackson watches his son, Devin, 9, ride down a hill on a waxed up skateboard deck at Steen Sports Park on Wednesday after an overnight snow storm. Steen Sports Park snow weather photos. H&N photo by Kevin N. Hume. Devin Jackson, 9, rides ...Read more
Skateboard Turned Guitar Produces Amazing SoundThe West Australian, November 25th
most people aren't the man behind the HectorTepuy YouTube channel. Aptly named Lap Skate Guitar, the instrument was created by fusing a skateboard deck and components of a guitar. This resulted in a custom made instrument which produces a mellow ...Read more
Designer and Professional Skateboarder Alex Olson Perfects the Balance Between ...Village Voice, November 25th
Based on the success of that marketing vehicle, Olson created a spin-off line of T-shirts, hats, and skateboard decks called "Call Me 917," which launched — and likewise completely sold out — last fall. So who is Bianca Chandon, anyway? "I love the...Read more
Skateboards are art on the go at SC4Port Huron Times Herald, November 16th
A skateboard Deck Art Exhibit opened Nov. 13 in the galleries at the Fine Art Theatre. The exhibit, which is in its third year, will continue until Jan. 22. Flatter said she got the idea from an event called Bordo Bello in Denver. "It's a major event...Read more
This Piano is Made of Skateboard Decks: Frontside Heart and SoulTechnabob (blog), November 6th
You probably remember the 1998 movie Big, where Tom Hanks played on a giant electronic piano keyboard at the F.A.O. Schwarz toy store in New York City. Everyone knows it. It's a classic scene that people love. It was clearly a big hit with Russian...Read more
Skateboard Decks Featuring Photos of Santana at Woodstock to Be Sold to Raise ...WFJA Classic Hits and Oldies 105.5 FM, November 4th
A new series of limited-edition skateboard decks featuring famous images of Santana taken by late rock photographer Jim Marshall at the 1969 Woodstock festival will be released on November 20. The decks, which have been created FTC Skateboarding, ...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