The History Of Skateboarding

  • Added:
    Jan 30, 2013
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Skateboard Racing
Skateboard Racing
Photo by Larry1732

Some years ago, London`s South Bank, home of the National Theatre and the Royal Festival Hall, was the centre for a sport. The sport was skateboarding, which became extremely popular with Britain`s teenagers.

Skateboarding first started in America in the 1960s. It was invented by surfers who wanted a way to practice their sport without going into the sea. They found that by attaching roller-skate wheels to small surfboards they could practice almost the same movements they had to make while surfing. All they needed was a sloping pavement or road where they could ride their skateboards. So, it wasn`t surprising that this new sport was nicknamed “sidewalk surfing”.

Skateboarding quickly became very popular, even with people who had never been surfing. It was especially attractive to young people, partly because the boards were cheap to buy or make, and partly because they could practice it anywhere in the city. It was also a fast and exciting way to spend their spare time.

Unfortunately, skateboarders soon found that the ordinary rubber roller-skate wheels were not strong enough for skateboarding. But in early 1970s, a young American science student produced a type of plastic wheel which was ideal for skateboard. The new wheels were light, flexible and long-lasting. Soon, skateboarding returned to the streets of America, and it became more popular than ever before. Special concrete areas called “skateparks” were built where the skateboarders could practice their tricks away from the dangers of traffic.

Skateboarding then spread to Britain and by early 1977 hundreds of teenagers could be seen riding their boards around London. Hundreds became thousands, and the demand grew for American-style skate parks. Skateboarders gathered at the South Bank where the vast areas provided ideal opportunities for them to demonstrate their skills.

Favourite skateboard tricks include “kick-turns” (turning the board round quickly), “hanging tens” (riding the board with the toes hanging over the front) and “wheelies” (riding on one set of wheels only). The more experienced and adventurous skaters ride their boards up and around curved banks, rather like the wall-of-death riders in a circus.

Because of the danger of falling on hard surfaces, skateboarders usually wear protective clothing. Most of them wear padding on their knees and elbows as well as thick gloves and plastic crash helmets.

“Skate City’ is a proper place to practice the sport and skateboarders are developing new and better skills. Already some people are saying that skateboarding may become an Olympic sport. From being a substitute for surfing , skateboarding has come a long way in a short time!

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