The Original Skateboard

Vintage skateboards

You can do the tricks the surfers do,
just try a “Quasimodo” or “The Coffin” too
(why don’t you) Grab your board and go sidewalk surfin’ with me…

Jan and Dean summed up a late 50’s-mid 60’s craze with their 1964 classic Sidewalk Surfin’. Skateboards were big in those times, even though wipeouts were a frequent occurrence. Those steel wheels just didn’t have a whole lot of grab. Later boards in the 60’s featured clay wheels, which gripped the concrete just a bit better.

Skateboards have had an up, a down, and another long lasting up. They first started showing up in large numbers in the late 50’s. There had been some sorts of boards on wheels since the early part of the century, but trucks which allowed maneuvering were invented which caused their sales to soar.

By the early 60’s, they were a true phenomenon. I remember riding one when I was about six years old, around 1965. It was amazing that you could lean and make the board turn.

However, those problematic slick wheels made them dangerous. Cities started banning their usage. After three years of soaring sales, they practically disappeared from store shelves in 1965.

Few boards were spotted from ’65 to ’73. But that year, a sweeping revolution took place that would make the boards familiar sights for the next thirty years.

That revolution was the urethane wheel. FINALLY, skateboards had gripping ability that greatly improved their safety. Sales exploded that year, and every year, a new incarnation of teenagers grabbed them up. Cities that had once banned their use now build public skateboard parks.

But it all started with our generation, ending up with lots of bruises and broken bones on those old slick wheels.

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