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Great Moments In Skateboarding History

Photo of skateboarder at the X Games.
Courtesy of EXPN
Picture of vert skateboarding Sandros Dias at the X Games.
Courtesy of EXPN

From the invention of the ollie to Tony Hawk's first 900, Kidzworld looks at great moments in skateboarding history.

Skateboarding History - The First Boards

Skateboards of some kind or another have been around for almost 100 years - but the first boards were nothing like the sweet decks you see today. Early skateboards were just pieces of two-by-four wood with roller skate wheels nailed to the bottom of them. Some of these first "skateboards" had milk crates nailed to them with handles for control and looked more like a scooter.

Skateboarding History - Sidewalk Surfing

In the 1950s, the skateboard began to look kind of like the boards you see now and not just like some sort of toy pieced together with junk from the backyard. As surfing became more popular, people thought of designing a board that people could use for surfing or cruising on the sidewalk. The trucks were modified so riders could move more easily and the first skateboarding competition was held in 1963.

Skateboarding History - It's All About The Wheels

In the 1960s, skateboards had clay wheels, which did not grip the road well - causing tons of skateboard crashes and a dramatic increase in both bandage sales and emergency room visits. In the 1970s, skateboard makers began using the urethane wheels used on roller skates, which gave skaters more traction on pavement. Around this time, the Zephyr Skate Team from California formed and became famous for their innovative style and wild tricks performed in empty, outdoor swimming pools. The team became known as the Z-Boys and they became skateboard superstars, who helped bring about the birth of vert skating.

Skateboarding History - The Ollie Is Born

The ollie first arrived in 1978. This basic skate trick was named for Alan "Ollie" Gelfand who was the first skater to slam his back foot down on the tail of his board and jump, popping himself and the board into the air. The invention of the ollie completely changed skateboarding and the trick became the basis for most of today's skateoboarding tricks. For a step-by-step guide to learning the ollie, click here.

Skateboarding History - The Hawkman Arrives
Tony Hawk is still the most well-known name in skateboarding history and his arrival on the skate scene has helped make skateboarding the sport it is today. Since he began skating at the age of 14, Hawk won almost every contest he entered. After the arrival of the X Games in 1995, Tony Hawk became a household name with his skate videos, skateboards and his hugely popular Tony Hawk video games. Tony Hawk has invented dozens of tricks in his years of skating and he made history in 1999 by landing the first ever 900.

Skateboarding History - More Famous Skate Moments
  • In 1976, Vans designed its first skateboarding shoe.
  • In 1981, the first issue of Thrasher Magazine was published.
  • In 2005, Danny Way set skateboarding world records by jumping over the Great Wall of China on his board.
  • Related Stories:

  • Skateboarding Records
  • Skateboarding - How To Get Sponsored
  • Skateboarding Quiz
  • More Skateboarding And Other Action Sports
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    Biggest Moment In Skateboard History? Vote!

    • Guy Nails Two By Four To Roller Skate Wheels.
    • The Arrival Of Plastic Skateboard Wheels.
    • The Invention Of The Ollie.
    • Danny Way Jumps Over Great Wall Of China.

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