I was looking at a picture of my father that he took while skateboarding and it occurred to me that skateboarding has been around for such a long time. Looking at the picture I realize that skateboarding has phenomenally evolved over time. Apparently, I thought that skateboarding was a millennial event but I realize that skateboarding existed long before I was born. To date, skateboarding has evolved to reach heights never imagined, holding premise amongst conventional sports like football and baseball.
Yeah! We cannot stop with the stereotypes and the misconception on skateboarding especially when it comes to safety. Though I find it fascinating that given skateboarding widely spelled out safety concerns, most people are still increasingly accepting skateboarding partly due to the fact that skateboarding not only being viewed as an active sporting activity but as a recreational activity, a transportation channel and also as a form of art.
In fact, it’s now official that skateboarding is now an Olympic event. Reports indicate that annual revenues from the skateboarding markets are estimated at around $ 4.8 billion with at least 11.08 million skateboarders in the world [source: The state of skateboarding industry 2009].
Throughout the years skateboarding has been influenced and shaped by multiple skateboarders’ inventions. It’s hard to really pinpoint on the first time skateboarding appeared. The first origins of the first skateboard have really never been accredited to anyone partly due to the belief that multiple inventions from many people existed at that time. However, Skateboarding is thought to have originated somewhere in the 1950’s and developed from surfing. The first pioneers had wooden boards, with slapped roller skate wheels at the bottom of the board. 1960’s saw many manufacturers like Hobie and Makaha produce boards that had clay wheels.
Over time, enhancements like better boards and trucks known as decks revolutionized skateboarding. In due time industrial developments in skateboarding changed the status of skateboarding from a fun activity to a sports device. 1970’s was marked by Substantial improvements in skateboards. The kicktail on skateboard decks and the polyurethane wheel was invented during this time. Urethane wheel was better than initial metallic and ceramic wheels; they were more resilient, tougher combined with good transitions and enhanced shock absorption. Following such modifications, over time skateboard decks were also widened to deliver more stability. Safety concerns for skateboarding actually led to outrageous insurance rates on parks as an approach to discouraging the same.
Meanwhile, as the interests in skateboarding declined in 1970s, Alan Gelfand, among a group of skateboarders, invented tricks that revolutionized skateboarding. Alan Gelfand developed a trick called the ‘ollie’ that enabled him to get his skateboard airborne. The new riding style and art of performing tricks on the skateboard opened new doors for skateboarders. In 1981, the National skateboarding Association was opened in 1981. During this period skateboard manufacturers responded with improved decks in size, shape and tolerability.
In 1900s skateboarding was more popularized and even featured in mainstream sporting. In recent times, the evolution of rump skating and skate parks has transitioned the face of skateboarding to increase tricks. Earlier on tricks were limited to a number of maneuvers like riding on only two wheels or back wheeling.
Though today hippie jumps, long jumping, and the Bertlemann slide have become popular. The shape and size of skateboards have been fluid over the years, transitioning to fit skateboarders need and demands, perfectly mirroring changing styles and interests of skateboarders. Numerous pro riders are into production and design of skateboards, perhaps this explains why manufacturers are so perfectly attuned to skateboarders’ demands.