Skateboarding Essay

1724 words - 7 pages

SKATEBOARDING HISTORYThe first skateboards were actually more like scooters, with the undercarriage consisting of rollerskate wheels attached to a two by four. Once the pushbar of the scooter-like contraption was broken off, skateboarding was born.It wasn't until the 1950's, when the surfing craze was in full swing, that people realized skateboarding could recreate the feeling of riding a wave. This connection with surfing gave skateboarding a direction that would influence everything to come, from maneuvers and style, to terrain, fashion and attitude. It was during this time that modifications were made to the trucks making it easier to maneuver. By 1959 the first Roller Derby Skateboard ...view middle of the document...

The new wheels provided much better traction and speed and, combined with new skateboard specific trucks, allowed skaters to push the difficulty of maneuvers to new levels. Tricks at this time consisted of surfing maneuvers done on flat ground or on banks. Empty swimming pools and cylindrical pipes were exploited as terrain for the first time.During the 1970's skateboarding experienced a large growth stage whish saw the construction of numerous concrete skateparks, a rank of professional skaters, magazines and movies. During this period modern skateboarding evolved to include vertical skating among its disciplines of slalom, downhill, freestyle and longjump.Key advances in the sport included the aerial, the invert and the ollie, which may be the single most important trick in the evolution of skateboarding, next to the kickturn. This was the first time skateboarding had stars, some of the first really big names being Tony Alva, Jay Adams and Stacy Peralta. The look of skateboards also changed from being six to seven inches in width to over nine inches, providing better stability on vertical surfaces. Near the end of the 70's, spiraling insurance and slowing attendance forced all but a few skateparks out of business and skateboarding entered its! Second slump.In the 80's the plywood ramp and streetstyle revitalized skateboarding just as the urethane wheel had revitalized the sport in the 70's. Forced to take an underground, do-it-yourself attitude, skaters began to create their own wooden skate ramps in backyards and empty lots and turn previously unrideable street terrain, such as walls an handrails, into free-skate parks. Skater-owned companies became the norm and innovations in board and truck size allowed the trick envelope to be pushed even further. This generation had its own group of skate stars, some of whom still compete today including Tony Hawk and Steve Caballero. Towards the end of the 80's the focus shifted to street skating and Vert riding became less popular, it was the era of the first street stars like Mark Gonzales, Natas Kaupas and Mike Vallely.With all this grass-roots action taking place it was inevitable that skateboarding would go through another growth phase. This time the cycle peaked around 1987 after skateboarding had directly influenced international culture ranging from the hard-edged punk style of music that most skaters preferred to the baggy, earth-tone clothes and retro tennis shoes that skaters wore.The current cycle of skateboarding has been fueled by many items including new companies, more varied and difficult terrain, a new, more hard-core, almost dangerous attitude, and most importantly by a new generation of kids who have discovered the exhilaration feeling of rolling along of a board with wheels. Some of the people who exert heavy influence on the sport are former pros who have started companies like Steve Rocco of World Industries. The ollie has come into its own as the foundation for 80% of street...

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