The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







A skateboard is a narrow platform with attached wheels, developed in the twentieth century from a scooter, for recreation and transportation. They are typically used by young people.

Skateboards are composed of several parts. The deck forms the body of the skateboard and provides a place to stand. It is covered with grip tape, which adds friction to its surface. The deck is normally 76-91 cm long (2 1/2 to 3 feet). The longboard, a common variant of the skateboard, has a longer deck. Decks were originally a single piece of wood but are now more commonly made of composite materials. Attached to the deck are two metal trucks, which connect to the wheels. (The corresponding parts of trains and other vehicles are also called trucks.) The trucks are further composed of two parts. The top part of the truck is screwed to the deck and is called the baseplate, and beneath it is the hanger. Between the baseplate and the hanger are bushings, also rubbers or grommets, that provide the spring mechanism for turning the skateboard. A bolt called a kingpin holds these parts together. Two polyurethane wheels attach to each hanger. Inside the wheels are bearings.

Skateboards are used for skateboarding and skateboarding tricks. A person who rides a skateboard is a skateboarder or a skater. Skateboarders sometimes wear helmets, knee and shoulder pads, wrist braces, or other safety equipment, especially when riding in skate parks.


History of the skateboard

The first skateboard

The first commercial skateboard was the Roller Derby Skateboard that was introduced in 1959. Before this skateboards were home made pieces of wooden planks with roller skates attached to the bottom. At the time there was a rapidly growing interest in skateboarding (sometimes referred to as sidewalk surfing) and soon many other similar products emerged. The boards were from 6 to 7 inches wide. These boards used wheels made of clay. They had poor traction and would come to a dead stop when rolling over even small pebbles. This made skateboarding inherently a dangerous sport and after a few years many cities banned skateboarding because of liability concerns. This development caused the first skateboarding fad to die completely in the fall of 1965. Many skateboard manufacturers went out of business because of losing money on cancelled orders for the Christmas holiday season.

The second generation

In 1970 Frank Nasworthy started to develop a skateboard wheel made of urethane. The improvement in traction and performance was so immense that popularity of skateboarding started to rise rapidly again. With the growing interest companies started to invest more in product development and many companies started to manufacture trucks especially designed for skateboarding. As the equipment became more maneuverable the decks started to get wider, reaching widths of 10 inches and over in the end, thus giving the skateboarder even more control. Manufacturers started to experiment with more exotic composites, like fiberglass and aluminium but the common skateboards were made of maple plywood. The skateboarders took advantage of the improved handling of their skateboards and started inventing new tricks. Skateboarders, most notably the Z-Boys, started to skate the vertical walls of swimming pools that were left empty in the 1976 California drought. With increased control skateboarders could skate faster and perform more dangerous tricks. This caused liability concerns and increased insurance costs to skatepark owners. Many skateparks went out of business and the parks were torn down or bulldozed. In the end of 1980, skateboarding had died again.

The third generation

The third skateboard generation, from early eighties to early nineties, was started by skateboard companies that actively promoted their sport. The focus was initially on halfpipe and vert ramp skateboarding. The invention of the ollie made it possible for skaters to perform huge airs off vertical ramps. With vert skating being dominant decks were initially very wide with large and wide wheels. Manufacturers preferred maple plywood over more exotic composite materials almost exclusively. The third skateboarding fad was killed by the global economical recession in the early 90's.

The current generation

The size and shape of the fourth and current generation of skateboards is dominated by one trick: the ollie. The boards are all about 7.5" wide and 32" long. The wheels are extremely hard so that they will slide better during grind and slide tricks. The wheel sizes are relatively small so that the boards will rotate more easily during flip tricks. At one point the wheels were only marginally larger than the bearings they encased but that fad has died and wheels currently are around 50 to 57mm in diameter. The decks are still almost always maple plywood but interest in high technology materials has increased slightly after the cost of manufacturing them has dropped.

Other types of skateboards

Variants include:

External link

The contents of this article are licensed from under the GNU Free Documentation License. How to see transparent copy