Skateboarding was first started in the 1950’s, when all across California surfers got the idea of surfing the streets. No one is absolutely certain as to who made the first board… Instead, it seems that several people came up with similar ideas at the same time and things have progressed on from there.
These first skateboarders started with wooden boxes or boards with roller skate wheels attached to the bottom. With this undeveloped application many people were hurt in skateboarding’s early years! It was a sport just being born and discovered, so anything went. Eventually the boxes turned into planks, and soon companies were producing decks of pressed layers of wood — similar to the skateboard decks of today.
In 1963 skateboarding was at a peak of popularity, and companies like Jack’s, Hobie and Makaha started holding skateboarding competitions.
Skateboarding’s popularity crashed in 1965. Most people assumed that skateboarding was a fad that had died out. Skateboard companies folded, and people who wanted to skate had to resort to making their own skateboards again.
Things took a turn in the spring of 1975 when skateboarding took an evolutionary boost toward the sport just as 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 skateboards like no one had in the public eye, low and smooth, and skateboarding was taken from being a hobby to something serious and very exciting.
Then in 1978, only a few years into the renewed popularity of skateboarding, a skater named Alan Gelfand (nicknamed “Ollie”) invented a maneuver that gave skateboarding a huge revolutionary leap! He would slam his back foot down on the tail of his board and jump, thereby popping himself and the board into the air. Thus, the “Ollie” was spawned; becoming a trick that completely revolutionized the sport of skateboarding.
Today this unique trick still bears his name, and in 2002 Alan Gelfand was inducted into the skateboard hall of fame.
Since then the attention in the media, and products like skateboarding video games, children’s skateboards, and commercialization have all vaulted skateboarding into the mainstream of today’s society. Moreover, with more money being put into skateboarding, there are more quality skate parks in communities, better skateboards, and a host of skateboarding companies to keep innovating and inventing new things.