How Skateboarding Became Popular

How Skateboarding Became Popular

Skateboarding has been around for quite some time now but have you ever wondered how skateboarding became popular? Well, let’s try to answer that question. Skateboarding is more than just cruising around. Skateboarding is reaching heights never dreamed of and is finding its place among traditional sports like baseball and football. Skateboarding is a lifestyle.

Skateboarding is love.

Parents aren’t so resistant to the idea of their children preferring to skate versus trying out for shortstop on the HS Baseball team. It is fascinating that in such a short time Skateboarding has gained such ground. Over the past 60 years, skateboarding went through a kind of evolution.

Let’s dive a little deeper into the history that’s shaped skateboarding today.

The Beginning Of Skateboarding

By the early 1950s, surfing can be traced as the source of skateboarding. Surfers in California got the bright idea to surf concrete and invent skateboarding. The origin of the first skateboard has never been proven as it seems to have been the spontaneous invention of multiple people.

Wooden boards with roller skate wheels slapped on the bottom where the makings of the original boards these pioneers took to the streets. You can imagine the looks on the faces of people seeing this for the first time. As you might imagine, a lot of people got hurt in skateboarding’s early years.

During this time, skateboarding was seen as something to do for fun after surfing.

Some surfers had the idea to transfer the feeling of riding waves onto the streets to defy times of days with a gentle swell. Not without any reason, these dudes were called ‘asphalt surfers‘. At two spots in the world, a kind of skateboard was developed for the first time in the early 1950s: California and Hawaii.

They used shorter surfboards and wheels made out of metal without some bearings. In the late 1950s, skateboarding had the first peak. During the post-war period, the U.S. economy boomed and this also affected the toy industry. During that time, the toy industry became aware of the board with wheels.

In 1959, Roller Derby released the first official skateboard with some new technical developments. Thereby, the handling characteristics have been improved. For this reason, skateboarders were able to develop new tricks and manoeuvres.


Skateboarding Becomes More Popular

Between the years 1959 and 1965, skateboarding became more and more popular in the United States. Particularly affected were the states on the east and west coasts. Due to industrial development, the skateboard’s status changed from toy to sports equipment.

By 1963 skateboarding was all the rage. The popularity of the sport was at its peak. Companies such as Jack’s, Hobie, and Makaha started having real competitions consisting of Downhill Slalom and Freestyle where skaters like Torger Johnson, Woody Woodward, and Danny Berer paved the way for future skaters.

In 1962, the surf shop ‘Val-Surf‘ in Hollywood sold the first self-produced skateboards. These boards featured a typical surfboard shape and roller skate trucks and were sold as complete boards. In the same year, the company Patterson Forbes developed the first industrially produced complete boards with more developed trucks.

In 1963, the publisher of the ‘Surf Guide Magazine’ Larry Stevenson released the first advertisement for skateboards in his magazine. Also, the clothing industry specialized more and more on skateboarding. One of the most famous skateboarding shoe brand named Vans was established in 1966.

From this day on, Vans supported skateboarders from all over the world. Especially shoe companies like Vans, Etnies, Converse, and DC Shoes developed and manufactured skateboarding related footwear and streetwear.

Another landmark event in 1963 was the first skate contest in Hermosa Beach, California. Skateboarding was not just cruising anymore. Skateboarders showed their skills in different disciplines like slalom or freestyle and companies started to assemble a team to sponsor the riders.

As the popularity of skateboarding began to expand, the first skateboarding magazine ‘The Quarterly Skateboarder‘ was published in 1964.

Skateboarding – The First Crash

Then in 1965 for some reason, skateboarding seemed to simply die. Considered to be a fad that came and went, skateboarding seemed to fade overnight. Most people assumed that skateboarding was a fad that had died out, like the hula hoop. Skateboard companies folded, and some people who wanted to stay true to the sport had to make their own skateboards again from scratch.

They had created homemade boards and fine-tune their craft. One of the reasons suspected for skateboarding losing some of its ground was the fact that the sport was very dangerous. The clay wheels they used were everything but safe and lead to many injuries.

Skateboarders who continued the sport were using clay wheels for their boards, which was extremely dangerous and hard to control.

But then in 1972, Frank Nasworthy invented urethane skateboard wheels, which are similar to what most skateboarders use today. His company was called Cadillac Wheels, and the invention sparked a new interest in skateboarding among surfers and other young people.

Skateboarding – 70s Evolution

In the spring of 1975, skateboarding took an evolutionary boost toward the sport that we see today. In Del Mar, California, a slalom and freestyle contest was held at the Ocean Festival. That day, the Zephyr team showed the world what skateboarding could be.

They rode their boards like no one had in the public eye, low and smooth, and skateboarding was taken from being a hobby to something serious and exciting The Zephyr team had many members, but the most famous are Tony Alva, Jay Adams, and Stacy Peralta.

Then in 1978, Alan Gelfand (nicknamed “Ollie”) invented a manoeuvre that gave skateboarding another revolutionary jump.

He would slam his back foot down on the tail of his board and jump, thereby popping himself and the board into the air. Rodney Mullen was one of the first riders who transferred the Ollie for different manoeuvres onto the streets and spread a new style of skateboarding.

Next to other fun sports activities like BMX or inline skating, street skateboarding developed more and more and became very popular.


Skateboarding – The Second Crash

At the end of the 1970s skateboarding took another hit. It faced its second crash in popularity. Public skate parks had been built, but with skateboarding being such a dangerous activity, insurance rates got out of control. This, combined with fewer people coming to skate parks, forced many to close.

But skateboarders kept at it. Through the ’80s skateboarders started to built their own ramps at home and to skate whatever else they could find. Skateboarding began to be more of an underground movement, with skaters continuing to ride, but they made the whole world into their skate park.

During the ’80s, smaller skateboard companies owned by skateboarders started cropping up. This enabled each company to be creative and do whatever it wanted, and new styles and shapes of boards were tried.

Skateboarding Evolution Till Date

Skateboarding continues to grow as the anti-establishment subculture that we all know it as. Skateboarders had become hell-bent on progressing their passion for the sport so they started building their own ramps in their backyards. It’s no secret that this became a problem for local construction companies when they started to notice their lumber was disappearing.

During this time many new board shapes took form allowing for skaters to overcome obstacles otherwise impossible. Another invention in the 1980s played a major roll in skateboarding history. The intention of VHS. Stacey Peralta and George Powell’s Bones Brigade team starts recording skateboarding videos that will reach kids all over the world.

The team included Steve Caballero, Tony Hawk, Mike McGill, Lance Mountain, Rodney Mullen, Stacy Peralta, and Kevin Staab. This is the team responsible for The Bones Brigade Video Show.

At the end of the 1980s skateboarding took yet another dive in popularity when vert skateboarding became far less popular than street skateboarding. In the early 90s skateboarding starts to rise again as it found some common ground and harmony with the emerging punk music.

Then in 1995 ESPN holds the first-ever X-Games. The event was a huge success and brought skateboarding into the mainstream light sparking interest in many more young kids. Because of brands like Chocolate, Girl Skateboards or Flip Skateboards, the skateboarding hardware was developed more and more and skateboarders could buy high-quality skateboards in every bigger city.

More indicators are the big and worldwide known events of ‘Street League‘. ‘Street League Skateboarding’ is a contest series for international pro skaters. Here, you only see the best street skateboarder you can think of like Nyjah Huston, Eric Koston, Paul Rodriguez, Andrew Reynolds, Ryan Sheckler or Torey Pudwill. Due to the cash prizes of 200,000 US Dollars or more for the winner and 10.000 visitors at the “Street League” stops, skateboarding became more of a professional sport.

Skateboarding – The 2000s

Since 2000, attention in the media and products like skateboarding video games, children’s skateboards and commercialization have all pulled skateboarding more and more into the mainstream. With more money being put into skateboarding, there are more skate parks, better skateboards, and more skateboarding companies to keep innovating and inventing new things.

Tons of companies emerge to sponsor different events and skateboarding has become more and more acceptable in society. The notion of skateboarders being criminals has dwindled. The X-Games continues to become more and more popular with skateboarding at the helm.

In Germany, street skateboarding is the most popular discipline at contests just like in the USA. The European and German skate scene is independent, has its own industry, pros, and a national contest series. This is evidence of how big the role of skateboarding is in our society.

One of the big factors today that makes skateboarding so huge is the fact that pros make real money. Wining events can bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars. Kids are realising that you don’t have to become a doctor or lawyer to make a buck. Skateboarding has become a job for a lot of people. Because of the increasing networking inside the skate scene, skateboarding will grow and bring more innovations in the future.

Skateboarding has also played a big role in fashion earning its place among the masses. Companies like Diamond Supply Co, Hurley, Vans, and RVCA all making millions off the skateboarding lifestyle.

Skateboarding is no longer merely the realm of misfits and guys who wear needlessly oversized pants. Skateboarding has now permeated society, leaving a surprisingly large footprint on global pop culture. Some of the popular culture we can find skateboarding include;


As skateboarding became more accepted by the mainstream, the music became more inclusive, expanding to the commercially friendly sounds of bands such as Blink 182 and The Offspring throughout the 80s and 90s. With the line between skate punk and pop now thoroughly blurred, the sounds of Good Charlotte and even Avril Lavigne ensure skateboarding’s musical influence continues whether the originators of skate punk would enjoy this comparison or not.


From the functionality-based early days of tight shorts, T-shirts and tube socks in the late 70s and 80s, skate fashion has evolved into a massively commercial enterprise. As skateboarding’s popularity increased and skateboard videos became more widely viewed, opportunities arose for companies to appeal to the lucrative youth market, leading to clothing sponsorships for well-known skaters and events such as the Vans sponsored Warped Tour music festival.

Movies And TV Shows

From Bart Simpson and The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to serious documentaries such as Dogtown and Z-Boys (and its biopic counterpart, Lords of Dogtown), skateboarding has long been a common subject in movies and TV. The infamous Jackass crew also largely emerged from the skateboarding scene, with their anti-authoritarian sentiment and ‘anything goes’ attitude proving appealing to mainstream audiences regardless of their interest level in skateboarding.


Skateboarding’s usage in videogames similarly extends far beyond an appeal to skateboarding enthusiasts. Tony Hawk’s game series remains one of the most successful in videogame history despite the majority of players unlikely to have ever picked up an actual board.

One benefit of skateboarding is that it is a very individual activity. There is no right or wrong way to skate. Skateboarding still hasn’t stopped evolving, and skaters are coming up with new tricks all the time.

Skateboards are also continuing to evolve as companies try to make them lighter and stronger or improve their performance. If this is what happened in the last 60 years I can’t help but wonder what skateboarding has in store in the next 60 years.

Is It Bad To Skateboard On Wet Ground?

Is It Bad To Skateboard On Wet Ground?

Have you ever wondered if it is bad to skateboard on wet ground? As a new skateboarder, it’s okay to have tons of questions and in fact, you should have tons of questions. You just need to be aware of the right questions to ask also know when to check the right source. That increases the chances of you knowing if it is safe for you or not, and what to do to avoid getting caught out.

So in this article, I will be addressing the very important safety question: Is it bad to skateboard on wet ground? Is it dangerous, unsafe, or just downright tricky? To find a suitable answer to this question, I am leveraging on the experience I have skateboarding as well as the bit of research I have done to hopefully give you the answers you need.

There are a number of reasons why skateboarding on wet ground is not a great idea. All of them bordering on your own safety and the wellbeing and integrity of your skateboard. For instance, think about what happens to wood and iron when they get wet, especially on a regular basis.

The wood on your board (deck) gets really damaged and the board’s bearings rust.

Apart from the damage you get to your skateboard, there’s a high chance of injury to yourself as skateboarding in such conditions is unsafe for you, the rider, as well. So, bearing these in mind, if you have an option that will lead you to avoid skateboarding on wet ground, I’d advise you to take it.

Now let’s discuss in more detail the things you need to know if riding your skateboard on wet ground is inevitable. How to stay safe, and how to manage the situation if anything goes wrong in the process.

The Hazards Of trying to Skateboard On Wet Ground

Like I mentioned earlier, skateboarding when it is wet is not a great idea and should ideally be avoided as much as possible. There are a number of dangers that it is worth noting.

  1. Distorted Skateboard Deck.

Wood and water are not a good mix. Your skateboard has a deck and that deck that is made of wood. Do the math.

Riding your skateboard when it’s raining or immediately after a rain shower and the ground is wet can be pretty detrimental to your skateboard. Now, I know there are situations where doing this is unavoidable. For instance, a surprise downpour of rain randomly catching you out. While the weather is out of our control, it is important to take immediate care for your skateboard right after.

Never leave your board dripping wet.

Employ whatever means to get the moisture off, whether with the use of a hand towel or a hairdryer.

  1. Your Trucks And Bearings Will Rust.

This particular problem is not one that can be completely ignored because damage to your bearings and trucks will eventually endanger you – the rider.

When your trucks and bearings are wet, there’s a higher chance that it will lead rust.

It doesn’t take a lot to make them rust as well. Just a little splash of water frequently and that’s that. Bearings are not cheap to buy, so before you grab your skateboard and head out onto a wet surface – think about it. Think about how much it’ll cost you to replace the damaged part. Although, skateboard bearings have varied prices, these cheap ones with over 1,000 user reviews are great options to have just in case.

If your skateboard happens to come with expensive bearings, then you should wipe it down after using it on a wet surface. It is best for you to take your skateboard apart and have the bearings wiped with a paper towel, blowdried and lubricated properly before putting it all back together.

Dangers To The Skateboarder

There are videos out there of skateboarders who have performed awesome tricks in the rain or on wet ground. What you don’t see is how much of a challenge it was to see what record they could break despite the considerable risk to themselves.

While it is fun and cool to see the tricks being performed, it is also very risky to skateboard on wet ground or in the rain. When you are on a wet surface, the wheels on your skateboard lose its grip on the pavement. When this happens, it is easy to lose control of your skateboard, hydroplane, and have a bad fall, which most likely will result in a very serious injury.

How To Know When Your Board Is Waterlogged

While this article mainly focuses on skateboarding on wet ground, sometimes, it happens by accident. It’s easy to ride into a puddle by mistake and when that happens, there are ways to know when your board is waterlogged.

The Weight

Skateboards that are waterlogged are a lot heavier than one that isn’t. To be precise, they are about three times as heavy so when you notice that your board is waterlogged, you should pick it up and figure out a way to attend to it.

The Sound

If you notice your board is giving off a muffled sound and has less bounce, especially when you land a trick, then it most likely is waterlogged. A sure way to test this out is to stand on tail or nose if you board and let it fall on a tough surface. If it gives off the usual sound it does when you land a trick, then it is not waterlogged.

Your skateboard shows visual evidence of distortion. If your board seems like it has changed shape, looks twisted or warped, then it has been exposed to moisture. Warped boards aren’t only caused by wetness, but also prolonged exposure to humidity.

How To Dry Off Your Wet Skateboard.

There are a number of instances of how your skateboard could get wet. It might just be a case of you forgetting to take your board back into the house after a day of playing or riding in the park and it rains, for hours.

There’s also a chance that the damage to your skateboard will mean little can be done to save it, if at all. You can try leaving it out in the sun to dry, but there is little or no chance that it will actually be saved.



If, however, you got caught in the rain for a few minutes while out with your skateboard or you rode over a puddle for a few seconds, then this is what you have to do:

  • Dismantle your board, removing all the hardware. Use a towel to dry off the board, hardware, grip tape, and the trucks as best as you can.
  • Take out the wheels from the skateboard and dry the outside and inside of the bearings using a Q-tip. Use some skateboard lube on the wheels to lubricate the bearings while rotating the wheels. To avoid rusts, do this within a day of your skateboard getting wet.
  • Put your board’s deck out in the sun with the grip tape faced up to dry it out. If it rains all the time, then air-dry it.
  • To check if your board is dried and good to go, drop it and listen to what sound it makes. Check the weight as well. If it still feels heavy and makes a muffled sound, then your board needs to be replaced because it is waterlogged.
  • If it sounds the way it should, you can go ahead and reassemble the parts.

So there you have it. Try as much as possible to avoid riding your skateboard on wet ground or in the rain, for your sake and the sake of your board.

As much as you can, try using any of the above methods to properly clean your skateboard to help avoid damage and rust.

How To Progress Faster In Skateboarding

A variety of options can flash through your mind when thinking about skateboarding. You will be forgiven for asking yourself if it’s a surfboard with four wheels attached to it. While waves help guide a surfboard, the rider’s feet help propel the skateboard. A skateboard can take an individual a short distance on a road and can even be used to perform stunts.

So if you’re wondering how to progress faster in skateboarding, then this post will explain everything you need to know. But first, let’s look at skateboards and what they consist of. A closer look at the skateboard shows that it consists of three parts: The truck, the deck, the wheels. What an individual stands upon when riding is called the deck. It’s best described as 32 inches long, 8 inches wide and less than one and the half-inch thick. The truck which is made of metal holds the deck to the wheels. The wheel’s inches which are about one and a half in diameter are made of polyurethane.

On its own, this cannot be used to describe what skateboarding is. An array of skateboarders have helped define and influence the growth of skateboarding.

Types of Skateboarding

  • The Street: The skateboard rider tries to overcome challenges on paved surfaces such as streets
  • The Ramp: This type incorporates ramps such as half-pipes or mini-ramps that are typically less than 6 feet high
  • The Vert.: The Skateboarder rides on a vertical ramp mostly 10 feet in height that is a larger version of a half-pipe.

Riding Styles

  • The Regular: The skateboarder’s left foot is in front while standing.
  • The Goofy: The skateboarder’s right food is in front while standing.
  • The Mongo: The skateboarder pushes the deck with the front foot.

Skateboarding Safety Tips

Always ensure you wear a helmet before getting on the deck for a ride. All skateboarders should wear a helmet. Also, knee pads, wrist guards, and elbow pads tend to be a good idea for everyone, especially people who are new to skateboarding. Mouthguards are also good protection against chipped or broken teeth.

On average, 85,000 people are treated in the hospital emergency rooms for skateboard related injuries. Over the years, skateboarders have also been killed by head injuries and collisions with cars.

The Reason We Aren’t Learning As Fast As We Could

There are a number of different reasons why people can get bored with skateboarding while learning. The main reason is the ‘stuck in a particular spot syndrome‘ – in other words, the inability to progress. In the process of trying to nail an Ollie, some skateboarders can get stuck. They also fall off the deck countless times. This could be particularly frustrating for the learner which could lead to giving up, heads dropping amongst others.

Besides getting stuck and falling off skateboard decks, another reason people stop is that they lack the basic idea of the required moves to progress. A lot of people learn by watching YouTube videos and witness how stunts are being performed by skateboarders but get frustrated with their inability to do the same.

A skateboarder tells a story of his journey from practising to becoming great at skateboarding. In his words, “Practice sessions never crossed my mind when I initially started skating. Practising tricks was a waste of time I said to myself. I was only interested in skating with friends in whatever way I wanted; a factor that contributed to my slow progress in learning”.

It took him 6 months to learn to kickflip and he skateboarded almost every day with a session lasting about thirty minutes. He tried scores of kickflips every session. Over the six months period, he had attempted a total of about one thousand six hundred and eighty kickflips.

Being conversant with the techniques acquired in the practice sessions, it would take twenty-five minutes to attempt 1680 kickflips which would have been learned in only thirteen days

The combination of the practice sessions with visualisation, goal setting, and success questions dramatically reduces the lengthy time in learning. They are indeed powerful techniques and if diligently followed, one can learn a new trick in a session or two at most.

Preparing Your Practice Sessions

Preparing properly for practice sessions can be achieved by watching numerous skateboarding trick videos to have a clear picture of what you want to achieve. You can also read up on the different kinds or types of trick trips available.

Pre Practicing Technique I: Stretching

Stretching is a key factor in this technique. This is because it increases flexibility, balance, circulation and reduces and most importantly the dangers of getting injured.

There is a high tendency that you skateboard better in the summer than the winter. This owes partly to your muscles being a lot looser in the summer, which is due to warmth in temperature which results in better muscle efficiency.

The focus would be on dynamic stretching. This is different from static stretching which involves maintaining a position till you get to the farthest. Dynamic involves the movement of parts of the body. Unlike static stretching, which involves holding a position and reaching to the farthest point, dynamic stretching involves moving parts of your body and carefully increasing reach and speed of movement.

Knee runs, butt kickers, hops, skips, lunges leg kicks and, slides amongst others are some of the dynamic stretching exercises you can practice.

Pre Practicing Technique II: Visualisation

When you have stretched your body for between five to eight minutes, the second aspect of preparation can take off which is visualisation. This involves sitting in a comfortable position and seeing yourself nailing the trick.

Before attempting any trick, it is good practice to visualise for about three to five minutes. Station yourself in a particular spot and imagine in your head the board meeting your feet, landing and rolling away.

You might think it isn’t worth your while but I can assure you it is well worth it when you perform the three-sixty flip after hours of consistent practice.

Just so you know that the mental aspect of a skateboard is equally important as the physical aspect.

Practice the trick you have learned over and over again while keeping your focus intact. Also, keep asking yourself success questions as you progress. You should also remember not to get dehydrated.

Overcoming Frustration

Every person learning how to skate can get frustrated one way or the other. Don’t be fooled; even an amateur who became a professional was once frustrated. It could come in the form of a fall from the deck, an ankle injury, slow progress to perfection. It is a phase that will come and go – it all depends on how you deal with it.

On the road to skateboarding perfection, frustration is that route you must ply whether you like it or not. The response to frustration could vary from slamming their skateboards to breaking it entirely.

Not handling the frustration properly can mar the entire process and hold you back from being as successful as you should be.

Dealing with Frustration

One of the best ways to deal with frustration is to not pay attention to that whatever it is that frustrates you. With skateboarding, you should look away from things that would frustrate you because the more you think about it, the more you can end up getting wrong.


Secrets of How To Progress Faster In Skateboarding

Whatever it is – amateur or pro skateboarding – it is safe to say it is 80% mental and 20% physical.

The Attitude of Great Skateboarders

The mindset you have is fundamental to doing well at skateboarding. This is because without the right mindset anyone would experience difficulties learning. The effort of trying to come up with a new trick would become enormous and in general, confidence would be lacking.

Possessing the right attitude is essential becoming successful at skateboarding. Having the right attitude will give you confidence in your ability and allow you to consistently improve.

Anything Is Possible

Belief is also important. You need to believe in yourself that whatever challenges or obstacles that come your way you will overcome them. The potential of being a great skateboarder has to be nurtured with self-belief. Irrespective of the potential, if self-belief, is lacking, then the greatness in you cannot come alive. Whatever you choose to believe in, is what you become.

There Is No Competition

There is no competition. You are only in competition with yourself to always try to improve from where you left off. Imitating someone you see online could be fatal as it would only limit you and your ability to get better.

The quote below is a testament to buttress the fact that you are not in competition with anyone but yourself to get better by the day. You need to carve out a niche for yourself and be unique in your way. Let dedication and selflessness speak for you and put you at the pinnacle of what you do.

No one can be like you. They can only look like you. It is only you that can do what you can do best. So try to develop yourself by learning a trick or two each session and watch yourself become a case for perfection. There is real fun in skateboarding. Embrace it.

Skating with better people increases the chances that you will progress a lot quicker. You get to learn more tricks from them, master the ones you already know to perfection through them and learn a lot of new stuff together. If you learn with people better than you are complacency would set in and there would be a level of regression. However, leaving your comfort zone to advanced territory tends to be a stepping stone to fast progress.

Set Goals and set deadlines

Setting goals can be a huge step in your journey to progress faster in skateboarding. Just like any game player trying to learn a new skill, you just need to dedicate yourself to the task ahead.

Each accomplishment made, helps to justify the amount of time you dedicate towards learning to become a better skateboarder. By writing down your goals on a piece of paper, a jotter or by creating a to-do list you are able to monitor how well you’re doing and how many tricks you have mastered. So if you ever get to the point where learning becomes more difficult, going back to what you have written will help you strengthen your resolve.

Setting deadlines also helps to control the amount of time you spend learning and practising your skateboarding tricks.

When you put a time frame in place, chances are that you’ll notice that it doesn’t take as much time to learn a trick as earlier thought. All that is usually needed is an extra push, the kind of push you get from setting deadlines.

I believe that these few tips would go a long way to settling nerves to help you along in the learning process and remember, learning never ends.


Skateboarding has become very easy to learn and in the shortest amount of time possible. However, it is important to note that the mind must be engaged vigorously. With a positive mindset, you will progress faster than expected. This is because if you believe it you can do it. Make sure you focus only on things that will improve your skills and see your mistakes as a learning process