The timeline of skateboarding history

May 29, 2020 | Skateboarding
Skateboarding: the history of the sport dates back to the 17th-century | Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress

The history of skateboarding dates back to the 17th-century when roller skates were created as a summer alternative to ice skating.

However, the world's first skateboard would only see the light of day somewhere between the early 1900s and the late 1950s, depending on what a skateboard is for historians and skating fans.

The four-wheel board that we know today had its ups and downs.

After a first boom (1959-1965), the outdoor activity initiated by California surfers nearly disappeared and went underground (1965-1972).

With the advent of urethane wheels, empty swimming pools, skateparks, and the ollie (1973-1980), skateboarding spreads to all corners of the globe.

Once established as a sport with its own culture, skaters move away from the sidewalk into the air and gain their own magazines, idols, and multi-million brands (1981-1991).

The consolidation era (1992-1999) transform skateboarding into a mainstream sport with millions of fans, spectator-friendly television events, and VHS videos.

With the turn of the millennium, internet and online video platforms make skateboarding greater and more popular than ever.

Sidewalk surfing is now an Olympic sport.

Take a look at the most important dates in the history of skateboarding.

Skateboarding: the sport had its first boom between 1959 and 1965 | Photo: Creative Commons

Early 1600s: Residents of the Netherlands develop a primitive form of roller skate crafted by attaching wooden spools to a platform. The goal was to try to find a summer dry-land alternative to winter ice skating;

1760: Belgian inventor Jean-Joseph Merlin creates a pair of roller skates with iron wheels and nearly killed himself crashing into a mirror as he demonstrated them at a costume ball;

1818: A group of roller skaters mimic ice skating during the "Der Maler oder die Wintervergn Ugungen," a ballet held in Berlin, Germany;

1819: Monsieur Petitbled patents a design that uses two-to-four rollers made of copper, ivory, or wood attached to a wooden soleplate, then fitted to a skater's boot;

1823: Inline skating pioneer Robert John Tyers patents the "Rolito," a roller skate with five wheels in a single row and smaller wheels on each end to allow for turning and maneuvering;

1828: Jean Garcin patents an inline skate with three wheels named "Cingar";

1857: The first public roller rinks open in London, England;

1863: James Leonard Plimpton, a New York City furniture manufacturer, patents a skate with two wheels in the front and two wheels in the back;

Roller skating, 1910: a young man stands on miniature, two-wheeled bicycle-like roller skates | Photo: Library of Congress

1930s: Scooter Skate, a scooter–skateboard hits the market featuring a handle, and metal deck, and three steel rollerskate-style wheels;

1935: John L. Wintz creates a Lucite skate wheel and the world's first rubber wheel;

1936: Wintz founds the Sure-Grip Skate Company;

1936: The Roller Derby Skate Corporation is founded with a factory in Litchfield, Illinois;

1945: The Skeeter Skate sees the light of day. The four-wheeled aluminum skate comes with a removable handle, pedal car-style wheels, and a groundbreaking steering axle system, also known as trucks, which allow riders to turn for the first time;

1953: The Roller Derby Skate Corporation opens its first office and assembly plant in California;

1956: Losa Angeles surfer, Tim Tuthill, claims that skateboarding started in front of my house in Hermosa Beach when he and his friends built the first bun boards;

1957: Roller Derby introduces Street King, the world's first sized, booted roller skate for outdoor use. The model remains the best-selling roller skate of all time with over 65 million pairs sold worldwide;

Roller Derby's Street King: the best-selling roller skate of all time

1958: Albert C Boyden, also known as Humco, patents one of the earliest recognizable skateboards;

1959: The word "skateboard" appears for the first time in the Los Angeles Times' "The Week in Review." The article noted that "Students comprising the Pasadena Youth Council board of officers appealed to City Directors Tuesday, requesting that skateboards be outlawed to cut down the growing list of accidents caused by the free-wheeling toys, usually made by affixing skate wheels to short lengths of 2x4s. More than half a dozen teenagers have been injured in the past month while riding them";

1959: The Roller Derby Skate Corporation launches the world's first mass-produced skateboard;

1962: Val Surf, a Hollywood-based surf shop, sells the first self-produced skateboards;

1962: Patterson Forbes produces the first complete boards with more developed trucks;

1963: Larry Stevenson Makaha Skateboards, a skateboarding company run from his garage in Venice Beach;

1963: Stevenson, publisher of the Surf Guide Magazine, releases the first advertisement for skateboards in his publication;

1963: The founder of Makaha Skateboards organizes one of the earliest skateboard exhibitions of all time at the Pier Avenue Junior High School, in Hermosa Beach, California;

1963: Jim Fitzpatrick becomes the first member of the Makaha Skateboards exhibition team;

1964: Herbie Fletcher rides his skateboard Pasadena swimming pools;

1964: Skee Skate runs an ad in the first issue of The Quarterly Skateboarder. It could have been the first-ever commercial skateboard;

The Quarterly Skateboarder: the world's first skateboard magazine was later renamed Skateboarder Magazine

1964: Jan and Dean release the song "Sidewalk Surfin'";

1964: On June 12, The New York Times reports: "Skateboarding is not a crime!" The Burbank Traffic and Transportation Committee recommended to the city council that the "little whizboards" were no more dangerous than bicycles or wagons and should be allowed anywhere in the city limits, except the central business district;

1965: In August, The Quarterly Skateboarder was renamed Skateboarder Magazine. The title released four issues before closing, and was later revived in the early 1970s;

1965: The American Skateboard Championships get underway at La Palma Stadium in Anaheim, California, from May 22-23. The event had 280 competitors from all corners of the world and was broadcast on ABC's Wide World of Sports;

1965: Life Magazine features Patti McGee, the first-ever female national skateboarding champion, on the cover of the publication, on May 14;

1965: Surf City, the world's first skateboard park, opens in Tucson, Arizona;

Surf City, Tucson: the world's first skateboard park opened in 1965

1965: California Medical Association labels skateboarding a "hazardous recreational activity";

1966: Surfer's World opens in summer 1966 in Anaheim, California;

1966: Film director Noel Black wins a Golden Palm for Best Short Film and the Technical Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival for how they rigged a camera to follow the skaters at street level;

1966: Vans opens its first shoe factory in Anaheim, California;

1971: Larry Stevenson, founder of Makaha Skateboards, patents the kicktail;

1972: Frank Nasworthy founds the Cadillac Wheels Company and introduces polyurethane wheel technology to skateboards;

1975: The Zephyr Boys impress the crowd with a spectacular skateboarding performance held during a slalom and freestyle contest in Del Mar, California;

1975: Tom Sims wins the Hang Ten World Skateboard Championships at the Los Angeles Arena;

1975: Russ Howell publishes his book "Skateboard: Techniques, Safety, Maintenance";

Skateboard: Techniques, Safety, Maintenance: Russ Howell publishes one of the world's first skateboard books

1976: Florida builds the first outdoor skatepark of the 1970s;

1976: Jack Smith, Jeff French, and Mike Filben cross the United States on a skateboard. Smith used a Roller Sports Proline skateboard equipped with RSI trucks and RSI Stoker wheels with precision bearings. The journey began in Lebanon, Oregon, and concluded 32 days later in Williamsburg, Virginia;

1976: Germany's Munich gets the country's first skateboard center;

1977: Skateboard Industry News is published for the first time in Los Angeles;

1977: Tom Stewart builds The Rampage, the world's first halfpipe, in Encinitas, California;

1978: Alan Gelfand invents the ollie, the most important maneuver in modern skateboarding, and the trick that revolutionized the sport and gave birth to street skateboarding;

1978: With over one million readers, Skateboarder Magazine switches from bi-monthly to monthly;

1978: According to Skateboard Industry News, the United States reaches 200 skateparks;

1979: The United States is now home to 400 skateparks;

Skateboarding: in 1979, the United States had 400 skateparks | Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress

1980: Skateboarder Magazine closes once again;

1981: Thrasher Magazine is founded with a street skateboarding motto "Skate And Destroy";

1982: Tony Hawk wins his first skateboard contest at the Del Mar Skate Ranch;

1983: Tommy Guerrero wins the first street-style skateboard contest at Golden Gate Park, in San Francisco;

1983: Transworld Skateboarding Magazine is published for the first time with the motto "Skate and Create";

1983: Joe Lopes runs the first Ramp Jam, on a private ramp in his backyard, in San Leandro;

1984: The first "The Bones Brigade Video Show" is released in VHS. The Bones Brigade team featured ted of Tony Hawk, Stacy Peralta, Mike McGill, Steve Caballero, Lance Mountain, Rodney Mullen, and more;

1986: Mark Gonzales skates handrails for the first time;

1987: The "Thrashin'" is released;

Massachusetts, 1987: skateboarding over a wooden beam in a parking lot | Photo: Douglas DeNatale/Library of Congress

1989: The first episode of "The Simpsons" airs on Fox. The series' title sequence shows Bart ollieing down the steps of his school and sidewalk surfing all the way home;

1992: Tony Hawk founds Birdhouse Skateboards and Blitz Distribution;

1995: The X Games run for the first time during the summer in Providence and Newport, Rhode Island;

1998: Tony Hawk starts his clothing line, "Hawk." Two years later, he sells it to Quiksilver;

1999: On June 27, Tony Hawk lands the world's first 900 during the X Games, held at San Francisco's Pier 30;

1999: On September 29, Neversoft and Activision release "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater," a console video game for PlayStation. The title was later ported to Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color, Dreamcast, and N-Gage;

2000: On August 11, Richard Carrasco completes 142 continuous 360s, in Santa Ana, California;

2002: Srikala Kerel Roach and Bryan Chin suggest the creation of a skateboarding holiday called All-Star City Skate Jam;

2004: The International Association of Skateboard Companies (IASC) announces that June 21 becomes the Go Skateboarding Day;

2004: Danny Way lands the world's longest skateboard ramp jump. On August 8, the American threw himself into a 79-foot (24 meters) leap on a mega ramp, during the X Games, in Los Angeles, California;

2007: Rob Dyrdek performs the longest boardslide in skateboarding history - 100 feet and 5.75 inches (30.62 meters) on MTV's The Rob & Big Show in Los Angeles, California;

2008: Zach Kral pulls off 1,546 consecutive kickflips on a skateboard at 4 Seasons Skate Park, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin;

2008: Kiwi rider, Rob Thomson, completes the longest skateboarding of all time. He rode his board for 7,555 miles (12,159 kilometers) from Leysin, Switzerland (June 24, 2007) to Shanghai, China (September 28, 2008);

2009: The Skateboarding Hall of Fame announces its first group of inductees: Bruce Logan, Tony Hawk, Tony Alva, and Danny Way. The nominees are picked by the International Association of Skateboard Companies (IASC);

2009: Rob Dyrdek and Joe Ciaglia shape the world's largest skateboard. The giant board measured 36 feet and 7 inches long (11.14 meters), 8 feet and 8 inches wide (2.63 meters) and 3 feet and 7.5 inches high (1.10 meters). The board is 12.5 times the size of a standard skateboard;

2010: Rob Dyrdek designs and develops the Street League Skateboarding (SLS) to boots and grow the popularity of the sport worldwide. The first season featured three stages in Arizona, California, and Nevada;

Street League Skateboarding (SLS): designed and run by Rob Dyrdek since 2010 | Photo: SLS

2011: Aldrin Garcia throws the highest ollie in skateboarding history. The American rider was able to elevate himself 45 inches (114.3 centimeters) up in the air at the Maloof High Ollie Challenge in Las Vegas, Nevada;

2012: Twelve-year-old Tom Schaar lands the first-ever 1080 on a mega ramp built at Woodward West;

2015: Danny Way performs the highest air on a quarterpipe. The American skateboarder threw himself 25 feet and 6 inches (7.77 meters) in the air in Alpine, California;

2016: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announces that skateboarding will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo 2020. The event will feature a street skateboarding and a park skateboarding competition at the Ariake Urban Sports Park;

2017: A total of 1,108 skaters break the Guinness World Record for the largest skateboard parade ever, in Metro Manila, Manila, Philippines;

2018: Nicholas Drachman lands 302 consecutive ollies in Providence, Rhode Island;

2019: Mitchie Brusco becomes the first skateboarder to land a 1260 rotation at the X Games, held in Minneapolis;

2020: Brazilian skateboarder Gui Khury lands the first-ever 1080 on a vert ramp;


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