History of Skateboarding

The history of skateboarding spans several decades. Though the earliest origins of skateboards and skateboarding are not exactly precise, their popularity in the present day is undoubted. Since skateboarding’s mass inception in the 1950s, it has become a popular pastime, a professional sport, a cultural phenomenon, and was even scheduled to debut at the 2020 Olympics.

But what exactly is the history of an activity that by all accounts appears to have originated from nothing more than a few rollerskating wheels attached to a board? Well, let’s get rolling. Here is a detailed breakdown of the history of skateboarding.

Woman on the Hood of a Car

The Early Era

A skateboard, in its modern form, consists of four wheels, two trucks (the skateboarding equivalent of axles), and one deck. This was not always the case at the start of the history of skateboarding when early skateboard-like equivalents could arguably be found in children’s toys. The Kne-Koster (patented 1925) was a wooden board with four wheels designed for downhill rides, while the Flexy Racer was a somewhat larger 1930s four-wheeled board with steering handles on the front.

Despite their outward appearances, however, both of these boards lacked the characteristic trucks of skateboards (as well as being generally larger in size). They also were designed to have their riders either sit or lie down on their stomachs – not exactly the classic standing stance of a skateboarder.

The 1940s and 50s

As the 1940s came around, wheeled boards took the form of kick scooters. In 1945 a scooter named the Skeeter Skate boasted four large wheels, an aluminum board, a removable scooter handle, and actual trucks that allowed riders to turn. The Skeeter Skate, along with its 1930s predecessor the Scooter Skate, were examples of convertible kick scooters that could achieve skateboard-like forms.

Manufactured kick scooters, however, were not the only boards that approached what would look like modern skateboards. By the late 1940s, children were fashioning orange crate scooters out of wooden boards and roller skate (or perhaps caster) wheels. These creations resembled skateboards – and paralleled the creation of early 1950s roller skate/ wooden boards, ones popularly associated with skateboarding’s more recognized lineage.

It was definitely in the post-war period when Hawaiian and Pacific culture (including surfing) took root in the American consciousness. Returning World War II veterans brought back Hawaiian and Polynesian cultural traditions to states like California, and soon after, Malibu became a surfing hub. It was in this Southern California culture that surfers were believed to use “rollerskate boards” to pass the time while surf waves were low. Indeed, an early term referring to skateboarding was “sidewalk surfing.”

According to some sources, in 1958 a man named Bill Richards began selling wooden boards fastened with roller skates in his Dana Point, California surf shop. Richards then had a business arrangement with the Chicago Roller Skate Company to produce clay-wheeled skateboards. Sometime in the late 1950s or early 1960s (this is disputed), the Roller Derby Skate Corporation released the first mass-produced “Roller Derby” skateboard  – a simple board, with a slightly pointed head and roller skate wheels.

Skating on the Road

The 1960s

The early 1960s saw companies like Jack’s Surf Shop, Hobie, Humco, and Mahaka mass-produce and sell skateboards on a national scale. Larry Stevenson, the founder of Makaha, also eventually patented the skateboard kicktail. This was the upwardly-slanted end of the skateboard that allowed flips and tricks to be performed.

With magazines (like the Quarterly Skateboarder, published by John Severson), television spots (like on a 1964 episode of “Surf’s Up”) and popular songs (like 1964’s “Sidewalk Surfin” by Jan and Dean) skateboarding reached new heights of popularity. Skateboarding also started to take hold as a sport: in 1965, the American Skateboarding Championship was broadcast nationally from Anaheim, California.

The skateboarding explosion would start to wane by 1966. Because of poor construction (with wheels made of clay or steel), skateboards would often fall apart easily. Related injuries would become prevalent and cities also banned skateboarding on sidewalks and public places.

The 1970s

By the early 1970s, skateboarding seemed like an extinct fad. But its technology would be revived by one Frank Nasworthy, who in 1970 was allowed to experiment with recently rejected urethane roller skating wheels from a Virginia plastics factory named Creative Urethanes. Along with his friend Bill Harward, Nasworthy replaced his Hobie board wheels with the new plastics and tested them out in Washington, D.C.

Shortly thereafter, Nasworthy and Harward traveled to Southern California for a surfing trip and ended up residing in the San Diego-adjacent town of Encinitas. Nasworthy designed and ordered more plastic wheels from Creative Urethanes, and in 1973, his Cadillac Wheels arrived. By 1974, the wheels had taken off locally, and skateboarders would soon be able to skate in concrete ditches, empty pools, on pipes, and places beyond the sidewalks and streets. Thus the second wave of skateboarding (1973 – 1980) would begin.

The Zephyr Boys were an extremely influential skateboarding team from Venice Beach and Santa Monica, California, colloquially referred to as “Dogtown.” Comprised of legendary skaters like Nathan Pratt, Stacey Peralta, Allen Sarlo, Chris Cahill, Jay Adams, Peggy Oki, and Tony Alva, to name a few, the Z-Boys represented the Jeff Ho and Zephyr Surfboard Productions surfing shop. Some of the team were former competitive surfers; and the Z-Boys would show their surfing-inspired skateboarding skills at the 1975 Del Mar Nationals.

This was the first large-scale skateboarding competition since the 1960s, and the Z-Boys didn’t disappoint. Skateboarder magazine (formerly Quarterly Skateboarder) relaunched in 1975 and featured the Z-Boys in “Dogtown Articles.” The popularity and fame of the Z-Boys contributed to the existing team’s dissolution, with many members moving on to other ventures.

Doing Stunts

The 1980s

The early 1980s saw a second decline in skateboarding. Since the late 1970s, commercial skate parks and half-pipes were being demolished due to economic slowdowns and the ever-increasing cost of insurance. However, skateboarding publications like Thrasher Magazine, Transworld, and R.A.D. (in the UK) would continue to publicize skateboarding and skater culture.

The once-uncommon freestyle, long jump, slalom, and vertical (or vert) skating techniques — the latter of which involves performing tricks in mid-air — were something the early 1980s slowdown could not contain. Professional skaters like Rodney Mullen, Mark Gonzales, Mike Vallely, and Christian Hosoi would innovate and develop tricks like the flat-ground ollie, the Christ Air, the heel-flip, the Darkslide, the kick-flip, the Rocket Air, and the 360-flip throughout the 80s, inspiring professional and amateur skaters worldwide.

The 1990s

The 1990s saw the rise of street skateboarding – an urban-centered form of skateboarding that took professional tricks and applied them to curbs, stair railings, gutters, and garbage cans. This style of skating was pioneered by former professionals Rodney Mullen and Steve Rocco, who built a successful company around it.

Technology-wise, the 1990s solidified the 7-ply maple wood deck construction and popsicle deck shape. Professional skaters like Tony Hawk and Danny Way continued to innovate, the former landing a 900 (a 2-and-one-half time turn up a vertical halfpipe) in 1999 and the latter winning “High Air” gold at ESPN’s inaugural X Games in 1995.

Surfing Waves

The 2000s

By the 2000s the rough paths blazed by figures like Rodney Mullen and Tony Hawk – in both street skating and professional areas – were worn once again by skaters like Daewon Song, Bob Burnquist, Elissa Steamer, and Paul Rodriguez Jr. This time, competition between older skaters and the new generation was clear, as evidenced by Daewon Song’s and Rodney Mullen’s intense (but friendly ) series of competition videos in the early 2000s. In addition to this, Danny Way jumped the Great Wall of China in 2005.

The X Games in themselves were indicative of professional skateboarding’s place in popular culture, debuting in 1995 and expanding in popularity over the next fifteen years. This was also the time of a highly-rated popular Tony Hawk video game and a large-budget Hollywood movie based on the Z-Boys. Skateboarding was now a business bigger than its most innovative skaters, of whose culture, in some ways, was built around anti-establishment attitudes.

The 2010s

The 2010s brought a new skateboard design called the Penny Board to prominence, especially in countries with warmer climates. The Penny Board is a short, lightweight plastic vinyl board designed primarily for transportation. It is also often used while barefoot. Like innovative skateboarding technologies before it, the Penny Board reflected a need for greater ease and casual use among skaters.

In professional skateboarding, Nyjah Huston has dominated World Skating Championships and Summer X Games. Other notable professional skaters of this era include Sean Malto, Pedro Barros, and Leticia Bufoni.

Carrying a Penny Board

The 2020s And Beyond

Skateboarding was scheduled to debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with competitions in street and park skateboarding categories. Although some professionals have expressed support, they also have expressed some uncertainty towards structured competition at the Olympic level.





How Much Does It Cost For A Good Skateboard?

Skateboards are popular for recreational purposes. Maybe you tried your friend’s skateboard and became interested in buying yourself one. Soon, you might find yourself asking about the cost of a good quality skateboard. Purchasing a skateboard can be challenging especially when you look at the cost.

With cost, it might be tricky to identify if the skateboard you’re getting is just cheap or you are getting value for your money. We are here to answer some of your questions. The price of skateboards depends on several things.

Cost of making a skateboard

Skateboards and their components are not expensive. The actual production cost is not high. The price begins to add up when each distribution level seeks to gain a profit. It costs about $10 to make a high-quality skateboard.

To make a profit, each distribution point adds about $10 before selling the skateboard. Here is a breakdown of how skateboards’ prices add up:

  • The company sells the board at $20 to the distributor, making a $10 profit from the manufacturing cost of $10.
  • The distributor sells the skateboard at $30 to a retailer making a $20 profit.
  • The retailer – skateboard shop – sells the board to you for $50-$75.

Now you understand the basic math used that adds up to a skateboard’s final cost.

How much do I need to buy a high-quality skateboard?

The average price of a high-quality skateboard is $170. This price is the accumulation of the cost of its high-quality components, trucks, name brand wheels, and bearings. A $170skateboard comes completely assembled.

Skateboard on Pavement

You can find better deals online. Although skate shops sell boards at higher prices, their main advantage is that you can ask the employees advice on which skateboard to choose.

What is the price of a customized skateboard?

A custom skateboard is designed according to your specifications. The cost of a customized skateboard ranges between $90 and $500. Customized skateboards are more expensive compared to the full package ones.

The high price tag is because the materials you are getting for creating your skateboard are a whole new set. They haven’t been assembled yet. You are creating a skateboard from scratch using materials that match up to your taste.

Prices of different parts of a skateboard

As mentioned earlier, a skateboard comprises several parts. If you decide to buy the components separately or opt to make a customized skateboard, here is how much each part will cost you.

Window Display


This is the most vital part of a skateboard. The deck is the part where you stand when riding the skateboard. A deck costs between $30 – $45, if you want to create a customized skateboard.


Trucks are vital components of a skateboard as they ensure your ride is smooth. Therefore, don’t even think about skimping on these parts. The cost of trucks is usually between $15 to $30.


A skateboard cannot be complete without wheels. How will you ride your skateboard without wheels? Three main things that determine the cost of wheels. These are the shape, size, and formula. The average cost of wheels is between $15 to $35.


Bearings are vital parts of your skateboard when you want your board to roll without having to push it constantly. If you like street skating, the smooth rolling of your skateboard is helpful. The price range of bearings is $18 to $140.


The bolts and locknuts make up the hardware. These parts connect the truck to the deck. When buying hardware, its price is fair for a set of 8. The cost of every set is $4 to $10.

If you want to add graphics to your skateboard, every decal costs between $1 to $10. The cost of a decal depends on whether you’re buying a customized decal or a stock.

Specifications of skateboards

The deck of a skateboard comes in different widths, with a full size measuring 7.5” and higher, a mid-size measures 7.3”, a mini is 7”, and a micro measures 6.5”. Full sizes are created for people who are five feet tall and above. The mid-size is for people whose heights are between 54 and 60 inches.

Types of skateboards

The cost of a skateboard depends on its type.


The Common Trick Skateboard

The first image that comes to your mind when you think of skateboards is most likely the common trick skateboard. This skateboard is found in movies, X-Games, and with most teenagers.

It’s a standard type of skateboard with a double-lipped deck that curves slightly up at both ends. Street skaters are the primary users of this board. The total price of buying a common trick skateboard is between $75 – $130.

The trick skateboard comprises of trucks, wheels, decks, bearings, and hardware screws. If you want affordable skateboard, you can buy its components separately. The parts are easy to assemble. Purchasing the skateboard deck without its wheels or hardware attached on it will cost you between $40 – $80. Such a skateboard deck has good quality and is long-lasting.

What tricks can you perform on a common skateboard?

  • Board slides
  • Ollies
  • 50-50 grinds
  • Shuv -Its

The Longboard

Longboards are skateboards created for cruising and transportation rather than tricks. Longboards are suitable for users of all ages. The design of a longboard mimics that of a surfboard, and its size is double that of the common trick skateboard.

The skateboard deck of a longboard is larger compared to the common one, enabling it to hold wider trucks and bigger urethane wheels designed for grip and speed. Trick skateboards design focuses on their agility and precision.

A brand-new longboard skateboard created by a reputable company costs between $130 – $250. You can get a longboard from Walmart at $100, however, remember, the price of a longboard determines its durability.

Differences between Common Trick Skateboard and Longboards

Carving on a Longboard

Common Trick Skateboard

  • It’s smaller in size and used on concrete at slower speeds.
  • It’s suitable for jumping stair sets, performing tricks, and jumping over ramps.
  • The sound of its wheels on pavements is louder than the longboard.
  • It’s not suitable for long-distance riding since it takes a toll on your legs. On the other hand, longboards are designed for long-distant rides.

Longboard Skateboard

  • It’s suitable for long-distance cruising using minimal effort.
  • The longboard moves quietly over pavements due to its larger and smoother wheels.
  • It’s too wide, heavy, and long preventing you from performing tricks.

Other types of skateboards

Old-school board

An old-school board features a flat nose and kicktails. It is asymmetrical with a broad nose. It sits close to the pavement, and its wheels are big. If you enjoy riding ramps and pools, an old-school board is an excellent option for you.


Similar to how there’s a longboard, there’s a shortboard. It’s the shortest form of skating boards and best for performing skateboard tricks.

Is a used skateboard a good option?

When trying to answer the question, how much does it cost for a good skateboard, you might consider getting a used one. A used skateboard is an ideal option if you want to have a feel of skateboarding. You can find decently used skateboards online for under $50 to $80.

Taking A Break

A used skateboard is an excellent method of learning skateboarding at an affordable price. Practicing on a hand-me-down skateboard hones your technique and skills before you get a new one.

Remember to take a used skateboard for a test ride before buying it. A hand-me-down skateboard may need a bit of repair or replacements of some parts. However, there are times when all the skateboard needs are a quick clean and tightening of the trucks, and the board will be as good as new.

Tips on saving money when purchasing a skateboard

Look out for discounts

Be on the lookout for discounts on skateboards, especially during holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Discounts are a good way to get good skateboards at an affordable price.

Get blank decks and gears

Blank gears and deck on a skateboard make the wheels and deck of the board without the company’s name or logo. Most of these parts are generally available in one color. However, if you want to save money, get decks and gears that are blank. They are more affordable compared to branded ones.

Know your specific needs

Before buying a skateboard, you should find out what you need. Do you want a skateboard for transportation or skateboarding tricks? Figuring out what you intend to use the skateboard keeps you from wasting money purchasing a board that won’t serve your desired purpose.

Skater Girl

What is the verdict?

Having gone through all the specifications of skateboards, the types of boards, and the price of different parts, you want a definite answer on, how much does it cost for a good skateboard? The price of a well-rounded and durable brand-new skateboard is between $110 to $200.

Whether your board will cost less or more than the estimated price depends on the factors we have listed for you.