A Quick Skateboard History

Skateboarding has long been known as a rebel sport, an activity that troublemakers and outcasts prefer, but do you know your skateboard history? Skateboarding has its roots in surfing; in the 1950s, a group of surfers wanted to find something to do when there weren't any waves to be surfed. They attached the wheels of roller skates to pieces of wood and treated their new invention like a surfboard on concrete. They even called skateboarding "sidewalk surfing" and the style of skating they did was very similar to surfing; lots of carving and very little in the way of tricks.

Skateboarding didn't become popular until the late 1950s and early 1960s, when modifications to the original skateboard made maneuvering it much easier. It was these changes that brought about the first manufactured skateboards, complete with trucks and skateboarding wheels. The skateboarding wheels were made of clay however, and didn't grip the ground as well as the later urethane wheels would.  Skateboarders were injuring themselves and in a few cases, dying from their injuries. Because of this, skateboarding's popularity took a nosedive from the mid-60s until the early 70s. That was when urethane wheels were developed for skateboarding use, and skateboarding came back.

While there are many notable skateboarders from the early days of the sport, a group of skateboarders known as the Z-boys are possibly the most famous and influential. Riding under the Dogtown label in the 1970s, these skaters-including Stacy Peralta and Tonya Alva-revolutionized skateboarding. They went to new extremes with tricks and pool-riding. They also contributed to the rebel image.

In the 1980s skateboarding's popularity faded once again. This was largely due to the cost of running skate parks; outrageous insurance premiums caused skate parks across the country to close, leaving skateboarders few places to skateboard. Street skaters remained, although they were largely underground. It was these street skaters, as well as those dedicated to ramp and park riding, that brought the sport back. Once people saw that skateboarding was making a comeback, skateboard companies reopened and new ones started. Magazines dedicated to skateboarding formed, and skateboard videos became popular. This helped to promote skateboarding and showcase the capabilities that the sport offered.

Skateboarding became mainstream-or at least far less marginal-when ESPN brought it into the X-Games. Tony Hawk, who had been famous among the skateboarding community for years, became a household name. Today, as more advances are made in skateboard technology and skate parks open across the country, skateboarding continues to become more popular.

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