The Skateboard Museum :: The Museum Of Skateboard History is located at Skatopia. The mission of the Skateboard Museum is to acquire a diverse representation of skateboarding’s past and present. The skateboard museum also holds goals to establish a permanent two-story monument at Skatopia to the history of skateboarding. Also establish a living online museum of skateboards where skateboarders from around the world may contribute. The museum’s primary purpose is to educate skateboarders and all visitors on the history of the great world of skateboarding.
The Present :: The skateboard museum has been built upon for over a two decades. Currently there are about 12,000 pieces of skateboarding memorabilia currently on display. Over 1600 vintage skateboards dating back from the sixties, hundreds of magazines, stickers, artwork, and more make up this amazing museum that preserves skateboarding’s past while creating its future. The skateboard museum accepts all donations of skateboards and skateboarding memorabilia with loving arms. Monetary donations are accepted as well as they help expand and create more to the museum. Your donations will not be sold for profit, instead will be put with the rest on display, space permitting. You are always welcome to come visit the skateboard museum and continue to Skatopia’s living museum of ramps and concrete. The museum is open anytime when Brewce or Brandon Martin are there to show you.
The Future :: The future always holds uncertainty, but the skateboard museum is preparing to be there long into the future. A goal of the skateboard museum is to establish a 501©3 nonprofit organization to preserve and continue its legacy. Skatopia just finished building an amphitheatre to help offset the costs of Skatopia as well as help with all future parties and events. The roadmap is certain, where Skatopia will see a more permanent monument to skateboarding, the amphitheatre, and even more expansions of boards and concrete. Eventually, the nonprofit organization will include the skate park as its living museum and hands on exhibit for all.
The first known skateboard type product is a three-wheeled, stamped metal device with pedal-car like wheels, and an adjustable heel cup and toe clip. Usually sold in pairs with a set of poles, it is apparently designed to mimic cross-country skiing. It has a 3″ by 10″ riding surface, and no steering mechanism.
Another three-wheeled device, the “Scooter Skate” is a skateboard/scooter hybrid; it can be ridden with its included handle or without. The bulbous rocket-ship style metal deck has a riding surface of 6 1/2″ by 13″, with steel roller-skate style wheels. There is no turning or steering mechanism.
A four-wheeled device made from aluminum, the “Skeeter Skate” is created around 1945. With a 4 3/8″ by 15 3/4″ riding surface, this scooter comes with a removable handle and pedal-car style wheels. This device introduces a unique innovation, the first steering axles, or “trucks,” which allow riders to turn for the first time.
It occurred to me this morning that Skateboarding has been around for quite some time now. People where shredding on clay wheels long before I was born paving the way for what has surely become a global phenomenon. It seems to me that Skateboarding is reaching heights never dreamed of and is finding its place among traditional sports like baseball and football. Parents aren’t so resistant to the idea of their children preferring to skate versus trying out for short stop on the HS Baseball team. I find this fascinating that in such a short time Skateboarding has gained such ground. Lets dive a little deeper into the history that’s shaped Skateboarding today.
Surers in California get the bright idea to surf concrete and invent Skateboarding. The origin of the first skateboard has never been proven as it seems to have been the spontaneous invention of multiple people. Wooden boards with roller skate wheels slapped on the bottom where the makings of the original boards these pioneers took to the streets. Could you imagine the looks on the faces of people seeing this for the first time? Long haired shaggy surfer duded ripping up the streets on 2×4’s and roller skate wheels! The world ‘Radical’ comes to mind in such true original form. A crude form of skateboarding as we know it today begins to develop. Kids create their own home-made boards by nailing roller-skate assemblies to the bottom of a wooden plank. Often the plank has a milk crate nailed to it with handles attached for control. Late in the 1950s, surfers discover skateboarding and embrace the feeling of wave riding on flatland. Clay wheels are introduced to skateboarding in 1959
By 1963 Skateboarding was all the rage. Popularity of the sport was at its peak. Companies such as Jack’s, Hobie, and Makaha started having real competitions consisting of Downhill Slalom and Freestyle where skaters like Torger Johnson, Woody Woodward and Danny Berer paved the way for future skaters. Then in 1965 for some reason Skateboarding seems to simply die. Considered to be a fad that came and went, skateboarding seemed to fade over night. Some few stayed true to the sport and continued to create homemade boards and fine tune their craft. One of the reasons I suspect skateboarding loosing some of its ground was the fact that the sport was very dangerous. The clay wheels they used were everything but safe and lead to many injuries. The early 1960s bring the introduction of the first manufactured skateboards. The following are some of the popular mainstream skateboard designs from the 1960s: Scooter Skate (three-wheeler), Roller Derby, Skee Skate, Sokol SurfSkate, Nash Sidewalk Surfer, Sincor, and Super Surfer.
A Southern California surf shop, Val Surf, begins making its own skateboards. Owner Bill Richards makes a deal with the Chicago Roller Skate Company to produce sets of skate wheels, attaching them to squared-off wooden boards. Val Surf is the first known retail shop to sell skateboards.
Kids begin referring to skating as “sidewalk surfing.” The strong connection with surfing gives skateboarding a direction that influences everything to come, from maneuvers and style to fashion and attitude.
Larry Stevenson designs and manufactures the first professional skateboards, which will later become the Makaha brand. Larry and his wife, Helen, initially work from their garage building and shipping boards. Surf legend, Mike Doyle later works with Larry in developing future board designs. The Makaha Phil Edwards (another legendary surfer) model is the first pro model skateboard ever produced. The board introduces two revolutionary components – clay wheels, and Chicago trucks (the first double-action, adjustable truck). That first skateboard is ordered through the mail for $10.95, shipping included. Makaha’s early team riders are Phil Edwards, Jim Fitzpatrick, Brad “Squeak” Blank, Bruce Logan, Danny Bearer, Torger Johnson, John Freis, Brendan “Woody” Woodward, George Trafton, Danny Schaefer, Joey Saenz, and Mike Hynson. The original team captain is Dave Rochlen. Larry later publishes Surf Guide, which becomes a popular surf magazine
The first known organized skateboard contest, sponsored by Makaha, is held at the Pier Avenue Junior High School in Hermosa, California.
Working with Bill Richards at Val Surf, surf legend Hobie Alter introduces the Hobie Super Surfer skateboard. Surf legend, Charles “Corky” Carroll III is also involved with Hobie in developing its products. Hobie Alter later teams up with the Vita Pakt juice company to create Hobie Skateboards. Hobie’s early team riders are Skitch Hitchcock, Danny Bearer, “Woody” Woodward, Pat McGee, John Freis, Joey Cabell, and Davey and Stevie Hilton.
July – Makaha team member, Jim Fitzpatrick, goes on a two-month, 14-country tour to promote Makaha and introduce skateboarding to countries all over Europe and the U.K. Jim returns to Europe 25 years later as part of the Powell-Peralta Bones Brigade tour, skating all over Europe with Steve Caballero, Mike McGill, Mark Saito and Tommy Guerrro.
Larry Gordon and Floyd Smith, co-founders of Gordon & Smith Surfboards, develop a revolutionary new board manufacturing process that combines Bo-Tuff (a fiberglass-reinforced epoxy) with a maple wood core to create the Fibreflex skateboard. This is the first laminated board created for the skate market. G&S’s early team riders are Harry “Skip” Frye, Willie Phillips, Mike Hynson, and Vince Turner.
The musical group Jan and Dean appear on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and sing “Sidewalk Surfing.” Dean performs a few tricks and rides a board across the stage.
Skateboarding becomes widespread and very popular, and companies are struggling to keep up with demand. While most skaters take to the streets or sidewalks, some skaters begin to explore skating in backyard swimming pools.
Surfer Publications publishes The Quarterly SKATEBOARDER magazine, which releases only four issues that year. John Severson is the publisher and editor. When the magazine begins publishing again as a bi-monthly in 1975, the name is changed to SkateBoarder magazine.
On May 22, 23 the National Skateboard Championships are held in Anaheim, California, and are shown on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.”
The first skateboard organization, the National Skateboard Championships Association (NSCA) is formed in Anaheim.
San Diego skater, Patti McGee is featured on the cover of Life magazine.
The first skateboard movie, Skater Dater is released, and later wins an Academy Award for Best Movie Short.
Hobie Alter looks into using urethane for skateboard wheels but is turned down by Vita-Pakt executives because the price is too high. It will be nearly 10 years before urethane is used for skateboard wheels.
Many public officials and safety organizations begin condemning skateboarding as unsafe – urging stores not to sell skateboards, and parents not to buy them. Many cities start banning skateboarding on public streets. The skateboarding fad dies primarily due to inferior product, too much inventory, and a public upset by reckless riding.
Vans shoes get their start in the surf and skateboard scene after brothers Jim and Paul Van Doren build a shoe factory in Anaheim, later opening a chain of stores in California. Vans are popular with surfers, then become popular with skaters in the 1970s after the company introduces their Off the Wall line of shoes designed for skateboarders. Their stores even offer skaters the ability to choose from a selection of materials and colors to create their own custom shoes. For many years, Vans shoes are considered the skateboard shoe.
Summer – Surfer’s World, the world’s first known skatepark opens in Anaheim, California. Hobie and Vita Pakt sponsor a contest at the newly opened park.
The National Film Board of Canada releases, “The Devil’s Toy,” a documentary movie about the skateboarding craze in Montreal, Quebec.
Skip Engblom, Jeff Ho and Craig Stecyk co-found Zephyr Surfboards, in Santa Monica, California.
Larry Stevenson invents and patents the kicktail. Though not accepted at first, other manufacturers eventually copy the idea. Most of the companies balk at paying a royalty to Stevenson and he eventually loses his patent rights in court. Gordon & Smith, Hobie, Suregrip, and LoganEarthski are the only companies who agree to pay a royalty on Stevenson’s design.
Gren Tec, Hang Ten, and California Free Former join the mass-production skateboard market.
Then like all things, in a moment, everything changed for skateboarding. The invention of urethane wheels by Frank Nasworthy in 1972 made it possible for skateboarding to make its comeback. He started the company Cadillac Wheels. In 1975 skateboarding got the boost it needed. In Del Mar, California a slalom and freestyle contest was held at the Ocean Festival. That day, the Zephyr team showed the world what skateboarding could be. They rode their boards like no one had in the public eye, low and smooth, and skateboarding was taken from being a hobby to something serious and exciting. The Zephyr team had many members but as some of you might know the most notable of them where Tony Alva, Jay Adams and Stacy Peralta. Then in 1978 Alan Gelfand (nicknamed “Ollie”) invented a maneuver that gave skateboarding another revolutionary jump. He would slam his back foot down on the tail of his board and jump, thereby popping himself and the board into the air. The ollie was born, a trick that completely revolutionized skateboarding. At the end of the 1970s skateboarding took another hit when the public skateparks that were being built suffered from the outrageously hight insurance rates due to the danger factor of skateboarding.
Ron Bennett builds one of the first skateboard trucks specifically designed for skateboarding. Board manufacturers spring up everywhere and the industry is booming with new products and ideas.
Kent Sherwood (Jay Adams’ step-father), who owns a fiberglass shop, is approached by Jeff Ho, Skip Engblom and Craig Stecyk of Zephyr Surf Shop to create a Zephyr skateboard. The Zephyr skateboard team is formed, with Tony Alva, Jay Adams, Wentzle Ruml IV, Bob Biniak, Jim Muir, Nathan Pratt, Stacy Peralta and Shogo Kubo as the original members. Craig Stecyk is credited with giving Santa Monica the Dogtown name.
Northern California surfing buddies, Rich Novak, Doug Haut and Jay Shuirman join together to form NHS, the powerhouse behind Santa Cruz Skateboards. Jay Shuirman is later instrumental in the development of Independent Trucks in 1978, but dies in 1979 of leukemia
James O’Mahoney creates the U.S. Skateboard Association (USSA), and later creates the World Skateboard Association (WSA) to bring the world’s skaters together.
Dave Dominy approaches Larry Balma to create a wider, more stable truck for use in the slalom races at La Costa in northern San Diego County. Trackers are the first truck that can handle the more aggressive skating that is developing at the time.
Gordon & Smith begins production again on its popular Fibreflex skateboard line. As skating style and terrain changes in the following years, the company offers a variety of stiffnesses and shapes in the Fibreflex line.
Skateboard magazine is published by James O’Mahoney, who also forms a team consisting of Russ Howell, Steve Monahan, Gordy Lienemann, Tom Sims, and other top skaters.
SkateBoarder magazine begins publishing again as a bi-monthly. Warren Bolster is the editor and principal photographer, and Steve Pezman is the publisher (he is later replaced by Dave Dash).
The coastal hills of La Costa in northern San Diego County become the most popular local skate spot in history. The hillside streets and sidewalks had been built in preparation for a new housing tract, but construction is delayed for years and La Costa becomes a mecca for skaters from all over southern California. Slalom and downhill skaters like Steve Sherman, Curt Kimbel, Lee Gahimer, Marty Schaub, Greg Taie, Bobby Piercy, Tommy Ryan, Henry Hester, Bob Skoldberg, Denis Shufeldt, Bobby Turner, and Mike Williams hold regular races there.
Mike Williams is the first to promote wearing safety gear at La Costa, which was mostly equipment used by the hockey industry. Bob Turner makes major innovations with his Turner SummerSki boards, which were widely used at La Costa and elsewhere. Over the next few years, many of the top freestyle and street skaters also enjoy the smooth asphalt and curbs of La Costa. Kim Cespedes, Steve Cathey, Ellen Oneal, Laura Thornhill, many of the Dogtowners, Bruce Logan, Robin Logan, Brad Logan, Jim Goodrich, Di Dootson, Curtis Hesselgrave, Brian Beardsley, Ty Page, Warren Bolster, and Curt Lindgren are among the regulars.
Fausto Vitello and Eric Swenson form Ermico Enterprises to create a skateboard truck that would turn well in the streets. Fausto’s friend, John Solimine creates a complex steering system truck design, and production begins on the Stroker truck. Though the truck turns too much for street riding, it proves popular for downhill skating.
1980s & 1990s
Skateboarding continues to grow as the anti-establishment subculture that we all know it as. Skateboarders had become hell bent on progressing their passion for the sport so they started building there own ramps in their backyards. It’s no secret that this became a problem for local construction companies when they started to notice their lumber was disappearing. But lets not forget that construction companies where part of the establishment so to hell with them they thought. Aside from the ramps they built in their backyards to skate on they saw the whole world as there skatepark and took to the streets. During this time many new board shapes took form allowing for skaters to overcome obstacles otherwise impossible. Another invention in the 1980s played a major roll in skateboarding history. The intention of VHS. Stacey Peralta and George Powell’s Bones Brigade team starts recording skateboarding videos that will reach kids all over the world. The team included Steve Caballero, Tony Hawk, Mike McGill, Lance Mountain, Rodney Mullen, Stacy Peralta, and Kevin Staab. This is the team responsible for The Bones Brigade Video Show.
At the end of the 1980s skateboarding took yet another dive in popularity when vert skateboarding became far less popular than street skateboarding. In the early 90s skateboarding starts to rise again as it finds some common ground with the emerging punk music. Then in 1995 ESPN holds the first ever X-Games. The event was a huge success and brought skateboarding into the mainstream light sparking interest in many more young kids.
2000s & Now
Skateparks pop up everywhere and skateboarding video games lets every kid be a skater. Tons of companies emerge and become more and more acceptable in society. The notion of skateboarders being criminals starts to dwindle. The X-Games continues to become more and more popular with Skateboarding at the helm. One of the big factors today that makes skateboarding so huge is the fact that pros make real money. Wining events can bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars. Kids are realizing that you don’t have to become a doctor or lawyer to make a buck. Skateboarding has also played a big role in fashion earning its place among the masses. Companies like Diamond Supply Co, Hurley, Vans, and RVCA all making millions off the skateboarding lifestyle.
( by Jim Goodrich – And many others ) Thanks for the time put into this.