Counter Culture Forever: the History of Skateboarding

October 24, 2017

Skateboarding might have a large following nowadays, but it wasn't always like that. Skateboarding was looked down on by the American mainstream, and it didn't always look like this interesting and dangerous hobby could last. But thanks to the persistence of teenagers in California and beyond, kids kept skating.  

So how did this uniquely American sport evolve into the counterculture powerhouse that it is today? Let's take a visual walk through the short but awesome history of skateboarding in the United States:

the history of skateboarding

During the 1950s, surfing was already popular amongst California's youth, but it wasn't enough. A few surfers started chasing the same thrill they found while catching waves and looked to the streets to find it. These thrill seekers took wooden boxes, slapped on some roller skate wheels, and started goofing around on the street.

They had no idea what they were starting.

1960, one year after the first mass-produced skateboards hit the market, surfboard companies started improving the quality of these skateboards by installing clay wheels. The boards were much better but there still wasn't much popularity involved. But that all changed at Hermosa Beach in 1963, where the first ever skate contest was held.  

The 1970s had an unfortunate event happen that ended up changing the entire skate industry for the better: a major drought. Between 1976 and 1978, California homeowners had to drain their backyard pools, providing excellent places for skaters to catch some air and perform new tricks.

Skating was starting to grow larger than ever before, but it was still tough for ordinary kids to show off their skills. Thanks to the VCR, however, the 1980s saw the birth of skate videos. The skaters at "Bones Brigade" began filming their own skating series and started influencing popular culture.

The 90's saw ESPN and the X-Games take skating to a whole new level and started reaching the masses. Tony Hawk, Danny Way, and dozens more pro skaters took the sport to new heights, both literally and figuratively.

Today, skating is still extremely popular and kids from Maine to Cali are spending every free moment of their week skating. Kids are even experimenting with electric skateboards, which can reach up to 20 miles per hour and offer a whole new way to commute. So while the history of skateboarding may be relatively short, we're confident that it's just getting started.