How Was the Skateboard Invented and When?

Is lipsliding or kickflipping your idea of a good time? If so, you must be glad someone invented the skateboard.

Skateboards first appeared in California in the 1950s. No one’s quite sure exactly when, or who first came up with the idea. Surfing (in the sea) was popular in the 1950s, so skateboarding became known as ‘sidewalk surfing’.

The first skateboards were home-made and might have evolved from ‘crate scooters’, you can probably guess what they were. By the end of the 1950s skateboards were being manufactured and the sport became more and more popular.

For some reason, no one was very interested in skateboarding in the late 1960s but by the 1970s everyone was at it. New materials for wheels and boards improved performance and new moves were invented. Ramp skating developed after a California drought left swimming pools empty of water.

In 1976 Alan Gelfand invented the ‘aerial ollie’, lifting the board into the air by smacking the tail of the board on to the edge of a ramp with one foot and lifting up the front with the other.

More tricks were invented: now you can master the ollie kickflip, frontside and backside airs, and various types of grinds, including nose grinds, lipslides and 50-50 grinds.

Skateboarding was banned in Norway between 1978 and 1989 because the Norwegian government believed the sport was too dangerous. Now there are skateboarding bans in particular areas all over the world, but there’s no complete nationwide ban anywhere.

How are your skateboarding skills? Can you stay on a board for more than ten seconds? Can you do an ollie, tailside or a nosemanual? Do you even know what any of that means?

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