What Is Skateboarding? Find Everything You Want to Know Here

Skateboarding is a sport that requires skateboarders riding and performing skateboarding tricks on a skateboard; Or we define it in another way – Skateboarding is an action sport with recreation, art, and entertainment. And it has evolved into many forms of extreme and adventure sports nowadays.

In this post, we will dig it deep, show you as many as skateboarding information, such as its history, culture, what is the purpose of skateboarding, the equipment related to it, how to skateboarding, is it dangerous, etc.

1 Skateboarding History

2 Skateboarding Culture

3 What Is The Purpose of Skateboarding

4 Skateboarding Safety

5 Skateboarding Controversy

1. Skateboarding History

The first skateboard, made of wood with roller skate wheels attached to in the 1940s, showed up a little earlier than the skateboarding. The skateboarding was born in the late 1940s, or early 1950s, in Califonia. People invented it just because they want to do something alternative to surfing when there are no waves. It was called sidewalk surfing then.

Compared to surfing, skateboarding is much more free, not limited the geographical and weather conditions.

However, because the first generation of skateboards, made of wood, are too heavy, too slippery, no elasticity and the steering is not so sensitive, the skateboarding did not get a lot of popularity, but it started to attract people’s attention. The first generation of skateboards can be found in the skateboarding documentary film Ban This.

In the 1960s, because more people started skateboarding, many surfing board brands built skateboards or juts small surfboards. This is the second generation of skateboards. It was made of oak laminate and plastic wheels. Compared to the first generation, this one is a huge leap in technology.

However, they were still not perfect. Its too small friction easily led to losing control when cornering; And because of its low elasticity, the skateboard will stop immediately when crossing on even tiny obstacles, and the skateboarder will fall down; etc.

In the 1970s, or more specifically, in 1973, a skateboarder named Frank first used the wheels made of polyurethane on his skateboard, And it turned out that that was an amazing idea. This kind of wheels are more wear resistant, and make sure of turning more safe and steady, and crossing over the tiny obstacle easily. This was just the third generation of skateboards.

Since skateboarding is a derivative of surfing, the skateboarding culture before the 1970s bears the mark of surfing. Then, people built the skateboard parks by simulating surfing terrain. But soon after the early 1970s, the West Wind skateboarding team in Santa Monica, California first used the keyhole swimming pool as a venue for practicing vertical skateboarding and started the popularity of swimming pool skateboarding.

Since then, skateboarding began to be an independent sport from surfing, and have its own culture, like unique terms, tricks, dressing style, music, etc.

In the 1980s, due to the development of skateboarding itself, the increased requirements of skateboarders for skateboarding skills, and the need to accommodate two-way sliding of the vert ramp, a completely different skateboard, with both ends tilted appeared.

And this is the fourth generation skateboard. It is made of the material called Hard Rock Maple, which is lighter in weight and more elastic. The skateboard wheel has high hardness and good elasticity, which is more suitable for high-speed sliding. Due to its weight balance, the fourth generation skateboard is more suitable for various flipping movements.

In the early 1990s, skateboards changed from one end to two, as we have mentioned above. Because of this huge change, there were many maneuvers that were impossible with previous generation skateboards. This period is the era of technical tricks. The skateboarders invented many new moves. At the same time, in order to make the skateboard easier to flip, the surface of the skateboard becomes more narrow and the wheels become smaller.

A skateboard is only 7 inches wide during this period, and the wheel diameter is only about 39mm. Although such a skateboard is easier to make complex movements, the smaller wheels hinder its gliding performance.

Nowadays, the fourth generation of skateboards is commonly used in extreme sports competitions in the world. The boards are generally cold-pressed with five layers, seven layers or nine layers of maple wood, and some are also made of aluminum alloy, carbon fiber, and other materials. A non-slip layer is applied to the surface of the board. The wheels are generally made of polyurethane. The skateboard truck made of an alloy is connected to the board surface.

In the 2000s, skateboarding has gained more and more popularity. It’s said that there were 10.6 million active skateboarders in the world in 2001.

In 2003, Go Skateboarding Day was founded in southern California by the International Association of Skateboard Companies to promote skateboarding throughout the world and is celebrated annually on June 21.

In 2009, Skatelab opened the Skateboarding Hall of Fame & Skateboard Museum. The International Association of Skateboard Companies (IASC) choose the nominees.

In the 2010s, electric skateboards became popular.

In 2016, the International Olympic Committee voted that skateboarding, surfing, rock climbing, baseball and softball, and karate entered the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Since then, skateboarding has become the designated project of the Olympic Games. This is a great fact for skateboarding and skateboarders.

2. Skateboarding Culture

As we have talked about in the skateboarding history part, since skateboarding became an independent sport from surfing, it starts to create its own culture. When we talk about skateboarding culture, I plan to show its all aspects.

2.1 Skateboarding Styles

Because of the change of the skateboard, new maneuver invention, and the facility building, skateboarding has lots of styles. For modern skateboarding, here we are going to list 12 styles, as many as I have known.

  • Freestyle Skateboarding
  • Street Skateboarding
  • Vert Skateboarding
  • Park Skateboarding
  • Cruising
  • Downhill Skateboarding
  • Slalom Skateboarding
  • Pool Skateboarding
  • Off Road Skateboarding
  • Big Air Skateboarding
  • Technical Flatground Skateboarding
  • Stunt Kook Skateboarding (or Parkour Skateboarding)

2.2 Skateboarding Equipment

Maybe the first equipment related to skateboarding coming to your mind is the skateboard, right? But, as matter of fact, there are a bunch of other items applying in the skateboarding, like skateboarding styles, skateboarding ramp, skateboarding park, skateboarding dressing, etc.

2.2.1 Skateboard

When you start to practice skateboarding, you need to get full knowledge of skateboard stypes so that you can choose the most suitable one for yourself, and skateboard parts because skateboarding tricks practicing involves many terms about it, and if you don’t know them, it will be a real challenge for you to grab them all.

Skateboard Types
In the skateboarding styles, we have listed 12 styles, and we can also divide the skateboard into 12 types base on those styles since in each skateboarding style, skateboarders will face different situations. So it would be like freestyle skateboard, street skateboard, vert skateboard, and so on.

Skateboard Parts

What Is Skateboarding - All Skateboard Parts
What Is Skateboarding – All Skateboard Parts

To make a skateboard, there will need numerous elements, like nuts and bolts, Axle nut, bearings, tail, nose, truck, etc.

If you want to DIY your skateboard, you have to know each part well. However, for most skateboarders, you just need to know the following parts for the practice.

What Is Skateboarding - Skateboard Parts
What Is Skateboarding – Skateboard Parts

Deck – The largest part of the entire skateboard, made of maple, bamboo, and plastic.

Nose – The front tilted end of the deck

Tail – The back tilted end of the deck.

Truck – The metal part that connects the board and the wheels.

Wheel – There are different varieties of wheels in material, size, and shape.

Bearing – It is inside the wheel.

Hardware – The nut and bolt.

How to Choose A Skateboard Size
What skateboard size should I get? This could be one of the most common questions for the skateboarding beginner to ask. Because riding a too large skateboard will be hard for some tricks while riding a too small skateboard to keep balance and stable.

To choose the suitable skateboard, it can simply depend on your age, height and the size of your shoes.

  • Skateboard with deck width 6.5’’- 6.75’’ suitable for 5 years old or younger, under 3’4’’ tall, shoe size 3 or smaller;
  • Skateboard with deck width 7.0’’suitable for 6 – 8 years old, 3’5’’ – 4’4’’ tall, shoe size 4 – 6;
  • Skateboard with deck width 7.3’’suitable for 9 – 12 years old, 4’5’’ – 5’2’’ tall, shoe size 7 – 8;
  • Skateboard with deck width 7.5’’or larger suitable for 13 years old or above, 5’3’’ tall or taller, shoe size 9 or bigger;
  • Skateboard with deck width 7.5″ to 8″ suitable for adult riders skating streets or doing more skateboarding tricks;
  • Skateboard with deck width 8.0″ to 8.25″ can be applied in the pool, ramp, rail, and parks
  • Skateboard with deck width 8.25″ and larger can be applied in vert, pools, cruising.

2.2.2 Skateboarding Ramp

This one could be less heard of. In fact, besides normal skateboarding venues, like the street, skateboarding park, outdoor, building your own ramp could be a great idea.

There can be permanent ramps and portable ramps. To build a ramp, you cloud need such elements as rail, ledge, jump ramp, quarterpipe, halfpipe, and so on.

2.2.3 Skateboarding Parks (or Skatepark)

Like a rink, skateboarding parks are specially designed for skateboarders to practice. If you can find one near your town, you are so lucky. And here I will list some important skateparks.

  • Bro Bowl – One of the oldest skateparks in the U.S.
  • Burnside Skatepark – Portland, Oregon featured in Tony Hawk video games and the movie Paranoid Park.
  • Concrete Wave Country – Nashville’s first public skatepark.
  • etnies Skatepark, Lake Forest, CA – The largest free skatepark in California.
  • Shaw Millennium Skatepark (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) – One of the world’s largest outdoor skateparks.
  • Rampworx skatepark – The largest indoor venue in the UK.
  • Seylynn Bowl – North Vancouver, BC. The oldest existing skatepark in Canada opened in 1978.
  • Pyongyang Skatepark – The first skatepark in North Korea.

2.2.4 Skateboarding Dressing

The skater dressing style is just another unique culture element for skateboarding. There is no fixed style for skaters, but several kinds. You can be casual style, punk style, Hip-Pop style, hesh/ rasta style, and more. The most core thing is that you like the look how you dress.

2.3 Skateboarding Tricks

Skateboarding is so popular among people, one of the most important factors is its cool maneuvers. With the skateboard, you can do many movements pleasing the public. However, to get them all skateboarding tricks, you need practice, practice, and practice, surely, and the learning guide is also necessary. Here I have round up 50 skateboarding tricks for the beginner and the expert.

2.4 Skateboarding Music

When you show your cool skateboarding maneuvers to the others or record a video, the music is a must. In skateboarding, there are some songs specifically for the skateboarding, just like the audio for NBA.

And here I will list some skateboarding songs you may like.

  • Funeral and Is There a Ghost by Band of Horses
  • 2112 Overture/The Temples of Syrinx by Rush
  • Sleepwalk by Santo and Johnny
  • Orion by Metallica
  • Let’s Get It On by Notorious B.I.G.
  • All These Things That I’ve Done by The Killers
  • No Cars Go by Arcade Fire
  • Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division
  • Kracked by Dinosaur Jr.
  • Traneing In by John Coltrane

2.5 Skateboarding Events

Skateboarding is also a competitive sport. There are many events and competitions around the world every year to hold. I will show you some a little more important events in the following.

  • TWS Come Up Tour
  • Red Bull Donner Downhill
  • Tampa Pro
  • X Games
  • Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon
  • Dew Tour
  • Red Bull Hart Lines
  • Vans Pool Party
  • Grind for Life
  • Rocky Mountain Rampage
  • Zumiez Best Foot Forward
  • Skate for a Cause
  • Zappos Rideshop Series
  • Boardr AM Series
  • Camp Woodward

2.6 Famous Skateboarders

If we want the skateboarding to keep going forward, there must be someone to do something great to promote this sport. And the history of skateboarding also shows us this truth. And here I plan to list 10 famous skaters, just in my own opinion. And you can also have your own list.

Famous Skateboarders - Shane O’Neill
Famous Skateboarders – Shane O’Neill
  • Shane O’Neill
  • Tony Alva
  • Jay J. Adams
  • John Rodney Mullen
  • Nyjah Imani Huston
  • Ryan Allen Sheckler
  • Paul Martin Rodriguez Jr
  • Letícia Bufoni e Silva
  • Robert Stanley Dyrdek
  • Anthony Frank Hawk

2.7 Skateboarding Organizations

Besides the skateboarders, skateboarding organizations have also made a great contribution to the skateboarding sports promotion. It is also an important element of skateboarding culture.

Here are some organizations I’ve round up.

  • International Association of Skateboard Companies (IASC)
  • World Skateboarding Federation

There are also many individual and non-profit organizations.

2.8 Skateboarding Fun Facts

This part, we will not focus on some exact topic related to skateboarding culture, but share some funny and amazing skateboarding facts with you. Check them now.

  • Skateboarding Takes Off in California, USA;
  • Early Wheels Were Made of Metal or Clay;
  • Skateboarding Has Become an Olympic Sport;
  • Norway Banned Skateboarding for 11 Years for the safety issues;
  • Skateboarding is Much Safer than many of other action sports;
  • Skateboarding Is One of the Fastest Growing Sports…

Besides these that we have talked about above, there are many cool things that we can take as one of skateboarding culture, like the skateboarding video game, skateboarding film, and documentary, etc.

3. Why Skateboarding or What Is The Purpose of Skateboarding

This could be not even a question for skateboarding-lovers, like me, because it is my passion, and it gives me vigour. However, if you have this question, I can simply answer you right here, or you can also refer to the complete guide that I have written about the benefit of skateboarding: 15 Skateboarding Benefits That You Probably Don’t Know >

Skateboarding is a sport, so it can make you stronger not just in body, but also in mind, burn your calories; Skateboarding is also a social activity, and it can help you find more friends. Maybe you can also tell me more it.

4. Skateboarding Safety

Is skateboarding dangerous? I will not lie to you. There are truly some dangers when skateboarding, and every year, there are accidents happening. However, compared to some other sports, skateboarding is much safer.

If you follow the safety tips and advice, like taking on safety gear in advance, I believe the probability of getting injured will be almost nonexistent. And here are some advice for you when skateboarding.

  • Beginners need to slide on slopes with small inclination angles, with the help of parents and friends, especially for the children. As your skill improves, the slopes are gradually changed.
  • Adjust the wheels before skateboarding, to make sure of them working freely and smoothly.
  • Use the lock nut to adjust the elasticity of the cushion base on your own situations.
  • Try not to skateboarding in the water. Do not slide on wet or rough roads.
  • Protective gears should be always put on, like the helmet, knee/elbow pads, mouth guards, etc.

5. Skateboarding Controversy

The biggest controversy of skateboarding is probably the damage to public facilities, like curbs, benches, and ledges, when skaters do tricks on them. And some cities plan to ban skateboarding on street because of this.

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