Technological Innovations


  • Amongst the technological innovations introduced by commercialization, the invention of the truck in the 1950’s proved most beneficial. The truck is a swivel base platform that attaches the wheels to the board. This swivel action made turning easy and predictable.

  • Until the early 1970’s most wheels on the skateboards were made from clay. The ride on these wheels was rough and often slippery. The introduction of polyurethane wheels allowed the boarder to operate at higher speeds while attaining better traction with the surface.

  • Board manufacturer 'Road Rider' introduced the first precision bearings on skateboards in 1975. Up until then, ball bearings were utilized that exposed the mechanical inners of the wheel to the elements and road grime. Precision bearings are self-contained in an envelope that protects the bearings from outside intrusion. The advent of the precision bearing provided boarders with the ability to obtain greater speeds by reducing friction as well as providing comfort from a quieter and smoother ride.

Recreational and Sporting Forms


  • The most popular form of skateboarding consist of street skating. This form of skateboarding consists of casual boarding and performing acrobatics such as 360's, Alley-oops, and Nose Grinds. It is common for the skater to cause the board to make contact with street objects such a rails, walls, jumps, and curbs while performing tricks. Street skateboarding is dangerous and can result in the injury of skateboarder if proper safety equipment is not worn and necessary precautions are not taken.

  • The safest form of skateboarding is in skateboard parks where there are no unexpected obstacles such as automobiles. These parks are specially engineered to challenge the skateboarder while maintaining a level of safety. Often included in these parks are ramps, rails, and halfpipes that offer the boarder a unique experience not found in street skating. These skate parks will often host competitions that allow the skateboarder to demonstrate their talent before a panel of judges.

  • Streetluge is a form of street skateboarding that offers the adrenaline rush of high speed skateboarding. This type of skateboarding is performed on steep downhills that consist of tight radius curves. The skateboard utilized in streetluge is longer to allow for the skateboarder to lie down to reduce wind resistance. If not done on a closed course, this form of skateboarding may result in the injury or death of the participant.

Origins


The origins of skateboarding dates back to the early 1900's in the United States when roller skates were attached to the bottom of a piece of wood. These contraptions were more commonly known as scooters. Stability and control was maintained on the scooter with a vertical push bar at the front of the board. This push bar allowed the operator to hold on while scooting as well as provide leverage for forward motion. Scooters required the operator to use one foot to push for forward motion while the other foot rested upon the board. Forward motion was also gained by coasting down hills.

It was not until the 1950's that a device appeared that had resemblance to the modern day skateboard. The first skateboards were a modified version of the scooter but without the vertical push bar in front. As with the scooter, forward motion was obtain by pushing with one foot or coasting down a hill.

Commercialization


With the popularity growing amongst the participants in the 50's, it was not long until the commercialization of skateboards was introduced. While water surfing was gaining peak interests, the manufacturers of skateboards saw the opportunity to boast skateboarding as a form of surfing on land. Skateboards soon began to take the geometric shape of surfboards. The acclaim of skateboards increased along with the popularity of water surfing.

Perhaps the biggest forerunner in the commercialization of skateboarding was Hobie Alter, a surfboard manufacturer. His large scale production of skateboards starting in 1962 provided the masses the opportunity to learn to skateboard at a reasonable price.