Skateboarding was among the most popular extreme sports in the world. Started out as a hobby, the activity developed into something more serious with its official world cup competition. In some parts of the world, people recognize skateboarding as a subculture, and there are so many skateboarding facts that are worth knowing. Skateboarding became so popular nowadays and comprised over 5 billion dollars per year. But there is more to it. Skateboarding went through its ups and downs along the decades.
So before further ado, below is a list of skateboarding facts every skater needs to know.
1. The First Commercial Skateboards Appeared in 1957
Even though the act of skateboarding has been around since the turn of the 20th century, people typically only use wheels attached to a board. It was changed in 1957 when Alf Jensen made a skateboard with steel wheels. The board is known as the bun board and was sold through the Guild Drug store for 2,88USD.
It was the first commercial skateboard in history. In 1959, skateboards with some new technical developments and clay wheels were introduced and opened up a new world in the skateboarding industry.
2. Ride the Surfing Popularity
The invention of skateboarding came out of surfer’s boredom when the waves are flat and unsurfable. They tried to find a way to surf on the ground. In the early 1960s, skateboard manufacturers attempted to capitalize on the rising popularity of surfing by promoting skateboarding. People know “Sidewalk surfing,” as an alternative diversion when no surfable waves were available, and people call them the “asphalts surfers”
After some time, more people were drawn to skateboarding even when they haven’t surfed a single wave their entire life. Skateboarding also became a way for surfers to train their skills.
3. One of The Most Famous Skateboarding Shoe Brand was Made in 1966
In the late 50s to early 60s, skateboarding gained more popularity in the United States. It gained even more popularity after Surf Guide Magazine featured a skateboard advertisement.
The clothing industry didn’t want to lose the moment and more of them started to produce skateboarding related goods. A well-known skateboarding shoe brand, Vans, was established in 1966. It was Paul Van Doren, a former Randolph Rubber Company employee who started the company along with his brother, Jim.
Up until today, Vans supported skateboarders from all over the world. Vans also developed and manufactured skateboarding related streetwear.
4. The First Professional Skateboard
In 1963 a skateboard manufacturer, Makaha, formed the first professional skateboard that was named after a legendary surfer, Phil Edwards. In the same year the first skateboard competition was held in Hermosa, California.
After that, skateboarding was more than just having fun surfing the road. In the competition, skateboarders show off their skills and maneuvers like slalom and freestyles. The amusing part of professional skateboarding is that the skaters compete in both skill and style.
5. The Skateboard Popularity was Dropped
By 1965, skateboarding popularity ultimately dropped sharply. The clay wheels used on skateboards were considered uncomfortable and lacked maneuverability. Media began advertising safety professionals’ warnings that skateboarding was a dangerous activity. People then prefer to go to a roller derby competition than a skateboarding competition.
Skateboarding gained its popularity back in the mid 1970s. The invention of urethane wheels made it possible to ride smoother, faster and more comfortable. The introduction of the kicktail also made a variety of disciplines such as kick turns possible.
6. The First Skate Park was Built in 1976
Skate park is one of the most prominent aspects of skateboarding nowadays. But there used to be no skate park when skateboarding was first gaining its popularity. Skateboarders were skating in empty pools and exploring vertical areas. The pools gave them the half pipe riding surface that makes it able for them to perform aerial stunts.
The first skate park, the Surf City, was built in 1976 in Florida. Soon after that, many others began to appear throughout the world, providing skateboarders with slopes and deep-set surfaces to perform more tricks.
7. The First World Cup Skateboarding was in 1994
The first World Cup Skateboarding was held in Vancouver in 1994. The idea of holding a world cup championship of skateboarding itself appeared in 1993. Former NSA President Don Bostick saw the need for an organization that worked for the skater’s best interests.
He and Danielle Bostick have made a commitment to developing and directing skateboard competitions around the globe better than they did back in the NSA years.
8. Norway Banned Skateboarding between The Years 1978 and 1989
Skateboarding was first introduced to Norway in 1978. In the same year, reports from the United States state that 28 children had died and some 100,000 others had been injured from skateboarding.
Public opinion in Norway flipped and led the Norwegian government to ban skateboarding on 15 November 1978. The law banning the sport included the importation and sale of skateboards, and even the promotion of skateboarding.
In 1989, Norway lifted the skateboard ban and Norwegian started to skateboard soon after.
9. The Largest Skateboard Measured 11.15 m (35 ft 7 in) long
The largest skateboard measures 11.15 m (35 ft 7 in) long by 2.64 m (8 ft 8 in) wide and 1.10 m (3 ft 7.5 in) tall. It is 12.5 times bigger than a regular version. The giant skateboard specially created in 2009 for the MTV series Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory.
It is placed on the Meet the Makers, a special chapter of Guinness World Record 2019. This chapter embraces the spirit of makers and inventors behind supersized or super-fast creations. This ultra huge skateboard is rideable. The question is whether people can do tricks or not.
10. The Famous Ollie Trick was Found in 1978
Three of the most fundamental skateboarding moves are the kickturn, the ollie, and the grind. Ollie is the famous handsfree aerial move and considered as one of the most important tricks in contemporary skateboarding.
It was invented in 1978 by Alan Gelfand who is also known as Ollie. He discovered the move by slamming his foot down on the kicktail and simultaneously sliding his front foot forward making him and the board jump into the air together.
After that, ollie became so prominent and skaters started to invent their own ollie combination tricks.
11. Rodney Mullen (USA) Invented 30 Skateboard Tricks
Rodney Mullen is the most influential street skater in the sport’s history, and people know him as the father of street skating. Mullen won his first world title at the age of 14 and defended his world title over 35 times.
He officially invented 30 skateboard tricks including the flat ground ollie, the kickflip, and the impossible. These tricks are the essential building blocks of modern skateboarding.
Now, Mullen became more than just a skateboarder. He appeared in numerous movies, created his own brands, and became a popular public speaker.
12. The Most Consecutive Skateboard Ollies is 323
On 23 August 2021, David Tavernor from the UK broke the world record for the most consecutive skateboard ollies. He broke the record by doing 323 ollies consecutively in Norwich, Norfolk, UK.
Doing a single ollie is still a challenge for many skateboarders especially those who are still in the beginner level. Hence doing it sequentially in a single session without failing is not only hard, but also tiring. Tavernor still holds his record since 2018.
13. Robert Thomson Traveled 7.555 miles by Skateboard
Rob Thomson from New Zealand completed a 7.555 miles journey by skateboard. He started in Leysin, Switzerland on 24 June 2007 and finished in Shanghai, China, on 28 September 2008. He set the world record for the longest journey by skateboard.
This journey was a part of a longer 12.427 miles trip by legs, bicycle, sailing, rafts, and train around the world. However, the skateboarding part is the only part recorded in the world record.
14. The Oldest Skateboarder Skate to Prevent Dementia
Yoshio Kinoshita was breaking the world record for the oldest skateboarder when he was 81 year old. The retired technician hit the skate park six times a week to learn and master tricks from much younger skaters.
Kinoshita started to skate not more than two years ago when he bought a skateboard sold at an unclaimed goods market for 800 yen ($7.15). The moment he purchased the board changed his life. Living in a country that has the most aged society in the world, Kinoshita recommended skateboarding as a way to prevent dementia.
15. The Z-Boys Changed the Skateboard Culture
In the 1970s, surfing was a popular counterculture sport. At that time, surfers started to get into skateboarding to kill boredom when there were no waves to surf. They often use the traditional surfer move by bending their knees and surf the concrete as if they were riding a wave.
Freestyle skateboarding started to arise when a group of surfers called the Z-boys started to develop a new style and create their own tricks. They had invented aerial skateboarding. Their techniques which relied heavily on aerial tricks paved the way for today’s skateboarding world. Without the Z-Boys, it’s hard to imagine the skateboarding world today.