Everything has to come from something else, and skateboarding is no exception. The sport thats enjoyed by millions in the United States alone owes its existence to other sports that inspired it. So, read this article because were going to show you what these sports are and tell you more about them. Ready? Read on.
The Early Days: Skateboarding as Street Surfing
When you talk about the roots of skateboarding, then it is without a doubt surfing. Skateboarding was popularized by surfers who were looking for alternative activities when the surf was flat. This was around the 1950s and the earliest skateboards were made of very crude materials. These boards were often made of boxes with roller skate wheels slapped on.
Because of surfings inspiration, whats known as skateboarding now was called then as sidewalk surfing. The box was, then, replaced with a wooden plank as skateboarding rose in popularity and skateboards began to be mass-produced.
Its popularity soared well into the 1960s until the latter part of the decade when skateboarding went to a steady decline.
Roller Skatings Impact on Modern Skateboarding
While skateboarding doesnt exactly owe its existence to this sport, it is without a doubt that roller skating has made a huge impact on skateboarding from a technological standpoint. We mentioned earlier that early skateboards used roller skate wheels, so in a way, roller skating helped keep skateboarding rolling.
But more than allowing skateboards to move, it was an innovation in the creation of roller skate wheels that breathed new life into skateboarding. The sport was on a steady decline during the 1960s. But then, interest in skateboarding rose again in the 1970s, and one reason for that is the development of new skateboarding wheels.
In the past, skateboarding wheels were made of steel or clay, which provided limited traction and control over how the skateboard rode. However, Frank Nasworthy discovered an experiment of using polyurethane on roller skate wheels and decided to use it as skateboard wheels as well. It was a huge hit. Polyurethane wheels provided the bounce, traction and control that steel or clay wheels couldnt deliver. This innovation helped put skateboarding on the map again. Its no wonder, then, that polyurethane is still the main ingredient used in popular skateboard wheels of today.
So, you see, these are the two main sports that helped make skateboarding the popular sport it is today. If it werent for surfers looking for alternative activities, then skateboarding wouldnt have become mainstream. Kids would still be riding on planks with wheels because of the lack of interest and innovation in the activity.
Meanwhile, roller skating has helped boost the popularity of skateboarding even further by providing skateboarding wheels that made riding a skateboard a more comfortable and exciting experience.
The next time you ride your skateboard try to think of the roots of skateboarding that made everything possible. Doing so would help make riding more meaningful as well as a great conversation piece among your peers.