When we look at the history of skateboarding, it’s clear its popularity has dipped and risen over the years. 

It’s never been as big in the UK as it has been in the US or some other countries, but it still has a dedicated following that was initially born almost 50 years ago.

How Did Skateboarding Begin?

Skateboarding first began in California and Hawaii, where surfing is a popular sport. 

Skateboarding was born in the 1930s, surfing was its origin. 

The first skateboards were invented in Southern California by building wooden crates with wheels attached to the bottom. 

In the 1950s, surfers developed the first skateboards to stay mobile during times of gentle swells by transferring the sensation of riding water to the streets. 

After the invention of crate scooters, skateboards were made out of wooden boxes or boards with roller skate wheels attached at the base. They also connected metal wheels to surfboards, but they didn’t use bearings. Still, it wasn’t till after World War II that skateboarding reached its peak popularity.

An Overview of Skateboarding’s History by Decade

Skateboard In 1950s

As the US economy boomed after World War II, the toy industry saw a boom as well. During this time, the toy industry became aware of the interesting new concept of a board with wheels. 

The Born Of Fruit Crate Scooters

In 1959, the Roller Derby Skateboard was introduced as an updated version of fruit crate scooters from the 1930s, Featuring roller-skate wheels and a rounded tip on one end, and it was made of wood. 

At that time, there were no grooves or grip surfaces on skateboards. It was just a wooden board with some red paint and wheels.

Skateboard In 1960s

Skateboarding became more popular in the U.S. between 1959 and 1965, especially on the east and west coasts.

In the course of time, the skateboard transitioned from being a toy to a sports item, and people of all ages were now able to participate in the fun of skateboarding. 

Val-Surf First Skateboard

Val-Surf, a surf shop in Hollywood, California, sold their first skateboards in 1962. As the skateboards had a basic shape with fixed roller skate trucks, they started being sold as complete pieces. 

However, In 1963, Patterson Forbes was the company that produced and marketed this new complete and updated skateboard. In the same year, Surf Guide Magazine featured the skateboard for the first time in its advertising. 

To catch the trend, The clothing industry also tapped into this growing trend, and brands like Vans Off The Wall, Converse, DC Shoes, and Etnies began producing skateboarding footwear and clothing.

It wasn’t just about cruising anymore when it came to skateboarding. 

First Skateboarding Contest At Hermosa Beach

At Hermosa Beach, California, in 1963, the first skateboarding contest was also a pivotal moment in the history of skateboarding. In this contest, skateboarders displayed their skills, and as a result, various companies began sponsoring them. 

The Quarterly Skateboarder Magazine Was Published

Due to skateboarding’s popularity, The Quarterly Skateboarder was published in 1964.

Then, in 1969, Larry Stevenson designed the kicktail, which curves upwards at the end of the skateboard. The tail of this board allows skaters to launch the board off the ground by just using their feet. 

This essential piece plays a major role in the feats of aerial jumps and maneuvers that are characteristic of skateboarding today.

Skateboard In 1970s

There will always be a change in life, as with anything else. In the same way, skateboarding gets left behind if it does not adapt with time. 

First Cadillac Wheels Was Founded By Frank Nasworthy

Frank Nasworthy invented urethane wheels in 1972, which became another trademark moment for skateboarding. 

The company Cadillac Wheels was founded by Nasworthy in order to create wheels for skaters that would give them smoother, faster, and more comfortable rides. As a result of this change, many skateboarding styles have benefited, including freestyle, downhill, and slalom. 

A number of skateboarding magazines, such as Skateboarder Magazine, were published in 1975, and new skateboarding events were established. 

First Artificial Skate Park In 1976

It wasn’t until 1976 that the first artificial skate park was built, and other parks followed suit with vertical ramps and kickers.

1970s Skateboard Reached Germany

By the mid-1970s, skateboarding had reached Germany via American soldiers. In 1976, Munich became Germany’s first skateboarding hub. 

As part of the German skateboarding revolution, the first skate park was built in Munich Neuperlach in 1978, the first German skateboarding magazines were published, and the first German skateboarding championships were held in Munich in 1978. 

With the growth of the skateboarding community, new tricks and styles developed. 

Due to the fast growthing of skateboarding, more concave boards were constructed, as well as a nose and tail being added to the boards. 

The First Ollie Move Invented

In addition, Alan Gelfand invented the Ollie move, which revolutionized skateboarding in 1978. The Ollie was first executed by Rodney Mullen for different maneuvers, resulting in the creation of street skateboarding.

Skateboard In 1980s

In response to skateboarding’s growing popularity, magazines and other outlets tapped into this unique and growing community. 

Thrasher Magazine Was Founded

In 1981, Thrasher Magazine was founded to represent street skateboarding, punk rock, and the core scene. The slogan “Skate and Destroy” captures their essence perfectly.

Follow By Transworld Skateboarding Magazine

In 1983, a second popular skateboarding magazine, Transworld Skateboarding Magazine, was founded, followed by more magazines and new skate shops. This resulted in skateboarding becoming more popular. 

In the global community, new tricks and maneuvers were recorded on VHS and spread quickly.

Titus Dittman played a significant role in skateboarding’s development in Germany

Aside from importing skate products from the United States, he also organized a variety of skate-related events.

Among his creations, the “Münster Monster Mastership” became one of the biggest international skateboarding competitions in the 1980s. 

Skaters Can Earn Money By Doing What They Love In Mid-1980s

By the mid-1980s, skaters had the opportunity to make money doing what they loved, causing the industry in the U.S. to rise dramatically. 

In the late 1980s, companies like Powell Peralta, Santa Cruz, and Vision dominated the internal skateboarding market. As skateboarders relied on solid footwear, brands like Vans, Converse, and Vision became staples.

Vert Skateboarding Was Developed

After skateboarding gained popularity in the U.S. and Germany, vert skateboarding was developed, a form of skateboarding done on an incline or skate ramp. As a result, the number of skaters increased significantly, and the sport slowly became just as popular and official.

Skateboard In 1990s

As a result of TV and other digital platforms, skateboarding maintained a strong public presence. 

X-Games Was Born

From the mid-1990s onwards, skateboarding became more concrete, and major events like the X-Games started being held. 

Through skateboarding magazines, events, videos, and, of course, the internet, the sport grew worldwide. 

In order to provide skaters with more access to high-quality skateboarding equipment, brands like Chocolate, Girl Skateboards, and Flip Skateboards developed skateboarding hardware.

Street League Skateboarding, a series of competitions for international professional skaters, was another indicator of the sport’s growing success in the 1990s. 

Skateboard In 2000s

During the early 2000s, skateboarding became a professional sport, and skaters became celebrities. Later, shows like Rob and Big, featuring pro skateboarder Rob Dyrdek, became successful. 

The skatewear brands DC Shoes, Etnies, Supra, Hurley, and Quicksilver that once were a staple in skating failed to keep up with current skateboarding trends. Eventually, competitors like Nike and Adidas took over the skateboarding market, forcing the once mainstay brands to focus on surfing and other water sports gear.

Slight Decline In Skateboarding

A slight decline in skateboarding’s popularity could be explained by reality. 

In spite of the sport’s popularity on the internet, many people bought skateboards and tested their skills, but progress halted suddenly. There is a possibility that at this point, people have begun to realize how difficult the sport is and how much practice it can take. 

Further, skateboarders can now earn money in other areas besides skateboarding. Several skateboarding brands and models have been founded by many people, which can be explained by the decrease in the popularity of skateboarding. 


Do you think skateboarding is dead? Not at all!

There is a huge skating community that is dedicated to skateboarding, despite the fact that public recognition varies for the sport.


My name is Patricia Toh. I was born in the southen of China but I live in Hawaii. I work as a translator. I love skating. But in the future, I’d like to try yoga too."

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