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Who Invented The Skateboard? When Was The Skateboard Invented?

Skateboarding is not just about gliding gently on our boards. Nowadays, skateboarding is also a lifestyle, love, and passion for millions of people around the world. So Who Invented The Skateboard? Follow 2 TOP to find out the history of exciting skateboarding!

Skateboarding appeared almost 100 years ago. Through a century of ups and downs period, this sport has changed, transformed, flourished, declined, and spectacularly revived. The interesting stories associated with the history of the skateboard inspired many generations of skaters.

If you want to pursue your passion for skateboard, you shouldn’t stop at just practicing some movements such as swings, slides, and jumps. Take a moment to find out and explore the amazing development of skateboarding! You can also find out the answer for the questions “Who invented the skateboard?”

Who Invented The Skateboard?

After searching and synthesizing information from many different sources, we still cannot give the most accurate and convincing answer to this tough question “Who invented the skateboard?”. Nowadays, the inventor of the skateboard is still being discussed, debated. “Who invented the skateboard?” is also a difficult question that not yet ended, despite many people claim that they created the first skateboard.

Who Invented the Skateboard
Who invented the skateboard?

The skateboard is the perfect combination of a wooden plank and roller skate wheels. According to information from the official website of the Smithsonian Institute (UK), the deck of the skateboard is a heritage from the papa he’e malu (surfboard) and papahōlua (dirt sled) of Native Hawaiians.

About the question ” Who invented the skateboard?”, many people say that skateboard could have been invented by surfing enthusiasts. They want to find new joy when the sea is calm. In the early time, we called skateboarding surfboarding on the sidewalk. The first skateboard produced in the California, one state of the US.

However, according to some other documents, the first seeds of skateboarding appeared in the 1920s. In 1930, a sports device called “scooter skate” appeared. After that, many surfers on the California coast interested in skateboarding (just on the sidewalk). So it became extremely popular in this country.

Since Frank Nasworthy introduced polyurethane wheels in the early 70s of the twentieth century, the structure of the skateboard began to perfect. Then, this sport became an outstanding sport at that time.

When Was Skateboard Invented? Who invented the skateboard?

Now, it’s time for us to look at the past to explore the strange formation and powerful rise of skateboarding through the key milestones below.

The 1920s

A hundred years ago, the first Skateboard ( with many similarities to modern skateboards) was widely introduced. It was a metal device used to cross snowy fields in the winter. It consisted of three wheels, the wheels from a pedal car, an adjustable toe and heel cup. Products are sold in pairs with a set of poles. After that, the kids created lots of fun games with these tools to play together.

The 1930s

Special sports equipment is the oldest one with the name “scooter skate.” This device with three wheels was an unusual combination of a skateboard and a scooter. It included a detachable handle but lacked a plank shaft and the bushing. Besides, the steel wheels are also not shock resistant.

Who Invented the Skateboard
A hundred years ago, the first Skateboard ( with many similarities to modern skateboards) was widely introduced.

The 1940s

In 1945, a device called “skeeter skate” appeared. It made of aluminum. Skeeter skate has a detachable handle along with four bicycle wheels, and an axle allowing the user to steer. One of the most fundamental and important improvements in this design was the first appearance of the plank shaft.

The 1950s

In the early 1950s, skateboarding was officially born of surfing. At that time, surfers wanted to surf in the town or in the city instead of riding on the waves. They have the nickname “asphalt surfers”.

At this time, in California state of the US, people began to use planks to warm-up or play fun with others on sidewalks around the streets. Then, they sought to realize the idea of sliding further by attaching some wheels to the plank.

However, at that time, there were no bearings, so they attach the wooden boxes to the board. Nevertheless, this structure caused many unintentional accidents, so the wooden boxes were limited. Finally, they removed them completely from the board. At this time, the skateboard had the same shape as the skateboard in today.

In the late 1950s, the US economy was severely affected after the war, especially the toy industry. Meanwhile, people became more aware of the presence and importance of the skateboard in the life.

Who Invented the Skateboard
The shape of a skateboard in the late 50s of the last century.

In 1959, Roller Derby officially released the most advanced skateboards of that time. Many parts of the product became more completely with careful research. The skateboarders can easily practice and perform some of the complex techniques.

So, it is difficult to assert that surfers invented the skateboard. However, they made a great contribution to the birth of the skateboard and helped the skateboarding sport flourish.

The 1960s

The 60s of the twentieth century was an ups and downs – fluctuations period of skateboarding.

A strong resurgence

In 1962, Val Suf was the first shop to sell skateboards in Hollywood. Val Surf produced handmade skateboards similar to surfboards. It also incorporated an additional skateboard shaft.

In that year, another company called Patterson Forbs invented a complete skateboard with a significantly improved shaft. After that, many famous surfboard manufacturers such as Hobie, Jacks, Makaha, and so on started researching and producing plastic skateboard with a similar shape to the small surfboard.

In 1963, skateboarding raised to a new level and entered its golden age. Many brands of footwear and clothing (such as Converse, DC Shoes) are also quickly catching up with the trend of skateboarding, while actively developing trendy products related to skateboarding.

In 1969, Larry Stevenson (founder of the company Makaha) invented the kicktail. This is a steep slope at the end of the skateboard for the purpose of assisting the players in better control of the board.

Who Invented the Skateboard
In 1969, Larry Stevenson (founder of the company Makaha) invented the kicktail of the skateboard.(a steep slope at the end of the skateboard)

Without kicktail, we can hardly perform Ollie jump along with many other complex movements. Thanks to this contribution, Larry is credited as the first person in the world invented high-quality skateboards.

Next, the first skateboarding competition in Hermosa Beach, California was one of the turning point events in the history of skateboarding. At this time, skateboarding is not simply about gliding smoothly on spacious asphalt roads in the city.

Instead, professional skateboarders want to unleash their great skills in major tournaments.

Then, many companies began to find and gather many talented skaters into a team. They sponsor them to promote skateboards around America. This is the time for the top legends such as Danny Berer, Torger Johnson, Woody Woodward, and so on to build their personal name. It paved the way for junior skateboarders to grow in this sport.

In 1965, the first skateboarding magazine, The Quarterly Skateboarder appeared. In addition, international skateboarding championships are regularly broadcast on national television. According to the reports from the board of directors, Makaha company has earned more than 4 million USD in just 2 years (from 1963 to 1965).

The first recession

However, in only a short period of development, skateboarding seemed completely cease in the late 1960s. By 1966, the company’s sales dropped dramatically.

Skateboarding fell into a period of crisis. Even The Quarterly Skateboarder magazine stopped publishing after the four times.

The Quarterly Skateboarder
The Quarterly Skateboarder magazine stopped publishing after the four times.

The low quality of skateboard parts (especially wheels) is the cause of a series of accidents during skateboarding. The steel and clay wheels make skateboarding tiring and dangerous.

Some experts explained that, in the golden age, the companies focused too much on mass production of skateboards. They didn’t pay attention to improving the wheels and shaft. As a result, it took them more than a decade to fix the problem of the skateboard and revive skateboarding.

By the Christmas of 1966s, skateboarding had almost disappeared from our life. A lot of people gave up on this sport. In the end, only a few truly skaters continued to persevere this sport. They built their own skateboard and improved their skills over time.

steel wheels
The steel material of the wheels makes skateboarding tiring and dangerous.

In 1970s

Skateboarding had a dramatic reversal in this period.

The first polyurethane wheels

Until 1972s, the Cadillac Wheels company( founded by Frank Nasworthy ) improved the skateboard significantly. They started with the production of polyurethane wheels. It is a material that is strong, resilient, and resistant to high abrasion.

So, skaters can easily control the skateboard and adjust the speed when practicing or moving. It is this initiative that brings skateboarding back to a glorious time. In the early 1970s, The Quarterly Skateboarder magazine revived under the new title Skateboarder .

In just a short time, the skateboard industry had many bold innovative ideas. After that, skateboarding began to flourish and quickly became saturated at this time.

Besides the trend to improve or invented the structure of the skateboard, in the second half of the 1970s, a man named Alan Gelfand created the Ollie jump on the skateboard. The invention of this movement has turned skateboarding into a street art sport with beautiful slides and flip now.

The Ollie jump is arguably the greatest performing technique in the history of skateboarding.

Comprehensive skateboard innovation

From here, many new companies were established. They focused on researching, developing, and improving every part of the traditional skateboard. Moreover, creating and disseminating many complex techniques widely were also important factors. They contributed to the development of skateboarding.

Over time, the need to control the skateboard became more and more essential. So the surface of the board is clearly enlarged, sometimes even more than 10 inches. Besides, many other parts, especially the plank shaft also comprehensively adjusted to meet the new specifications.

Furthermore, many companies experimented with new materials such as aluminum and fiberglass. But, there is no better material than plywood from weathered wood. This wood is durable, flexible, and has a great degree of elasticity.

Around the end of 1975, at a skateboarding competition held in Del Mar, California, the boys Z-boys ( Zephyr team) inspired thousands of fans through their style of smooth and skillful skateboarding. In addition, Tony Alva, Stacy Peralta, Allen Sarlo, Jay Adams, and so on are also veteran skaters who have made the interesting history of skateboarding

Z-boys ( Zephyr team) inspired thousands of fans through their style of smooth and skillful skateboarding.

The golden era of skateboarding

The golden age of skateboarding officially came back in the late 1970s with the appearance of hundreds of skateboarding parks. The skateboarding industry was promoted and raised.

However, after that, the premium rate increased so high that most skateboard parks could not afford to maintain operations. Since skateboarding parks gone out, several professional skaters have built backyard ramps to continue their passion of skateboarding.

In the mid-1970s, America’s skateboarding culture followed American soldiers to enter Germany. In 1976, Munich city of Germany became the first cradle of skateboarding in this country.

After the first skateboarding park in German, named Munich Neuperlach, was established and many skateboarding magazines were born. Championship competitions were continuously held in Munich city.

 In 1980s

Although facing many ups and downs periods, skateboarding will never disappear. In 1981, Thrasher magazine was founded. After that, Transworld Skateboarding magazine appeared in the year of 1983s.


Thrasher magazine
                                                              In 1981, Thrasher magazine appeared.

For years, many loyal skateboarders strived to maintain the survival of this exciting sport. By the end of the 80s of the twentieth century, all their efforts had paid off.

Skateboard publications started to gain triumph. Many companies boosted production and some cinematic works are inspired by this sport. At the same time, street skateboarding became extremely popular among young people.

At that time, each professional skateboarder can earn $ 10,000 / month. The sport’s popularity rose rapidly as the National Skateboarding Association held numerous competitions across North America, then expanded around the world.

At that time, with advanced production technology and many complex skateboarding techniques, this sport achieved a proud turning point in its development history. The stringent standards for skateboards continuously improved and strengthened over this years.

In particular, Tim Piumarta introduced a concave design on the surface of the board. It ensured safety, improved speed, helped players put their feet in the right place. It also gave you a better control when performing complex techniques.

From the mid to late 80s of the twentieth century, almost all boards made of 7-layer hardwood. Veteran skaters such as George Powell, Tony Alva, Stacey Peralta established their own skateboard manufacturing companies. So it increased the belief in product quality.

Meanwhile, Titus Dittmann was the one who brought skateboarding closer to the Germans. He imported skateboards from the US and organized many different skateboarding events and competitions. The Münster Monster Mastership is one of the largest skateboarding tournaments in the world in the 80s of the twentieth century. Afterward, skateboarding in Germany constantly developed.

Münster Monster Mastership
The Münster Monster Mastership is one of the largest skateboarding tournaments in the world in the 80s of the twentieth century.

Analog video technology (VHS) has opened up the potential to spread video globally and form a very strong mass culture. Realizing this wonderful opportunity, George Powell and Stacey Peralta built a powerful skateboarding team called the Bones Brigade to produce The Bones Brigade Video Show in 1984.

By the late 1980s, the three companies such as Vision, Santa Cruz, and Powell Peralta were virtually dominating the world skateboard market. At the same time, cult shoe brands such as Vision, Vans, and Converse also prioritize to design many specialized product lines to meet the needs of skaters.

At this time, skateboarding in the park replaced by street skating. Rodney Mullen was the first person to adopt the Ollie jump in street skateboarding. Thereby, he initiated a new skateboarding style, which was very popular around the world.

Over time, the number of skateboarders increased dramatically. The sport is so popular that the popularity of skateboarders is not inferior to football legends or any baseball stars.

In 1990s

Despite the strong growth in the 80s of the twentieth century, in the early 1990s, skateboarding was slowly declining. The closure of many skateboard parks is one of the direct causes of this problem. Moreover, law enforcement agencies also increased the supervision of street skaters.

In general, skateboarding suffered several prejudices after famous skateboarder Mark Rogowski was accused of murdering the best friend of his ex-girlfriend. In 1991, the global economic recession had devastating consequences for the skateboard industry. Many companies continuously reported losses.

The mid-1990s was the time when skateboarding emerged with methodical and loud advertising strategies. Through the satellite TV system, the X-games tournament has brought this sport to a large audience across American. Skateboarding revived with the reopening of a series of skateboarding parks.

Through the satellite TV system, the X-games tournament has brought this sport to a large audience across American.

Babies born in the baby boomer were in their teens then. They love skateboards and help elevate this wonderful sport. Therefore, skateboarding not only thrived within the United States but quickly became a trendy sport all over the world.

In 2000s

In the new millennium, millions of fans around the world remain loyal to skateboarding. The success of the X-games tournament continued into the twenty-first century.

With a natural talent for skateboarding, through this program, Tony Hawk not only reached the peak of his career but also contributed to attracting a large audience to skateboarding.

Over time, negative stereotypes about this sport gradually removed. Public perception changed dramatically. Skateboarding is no longer a fraudulent and illegal sport. Today, we build many modern skateboarding parks to meet the diverse needs of street skaters.

From 2010 to present

In 2010,  they held a new professional tournament called Street League Skateboarding . Since its inception, this event caused a lot of controversies. Many people assumed that some skaters were turning the sport into their subculture and they just tried to cooperate in search of a profit.

Street League Skateboarding
Street League Skateboarding caused a lot of controversies in the community.

Some companies such as Nike and Adidas have jumped into the race to produce skateboards. So, it was very difficult for traditional skateboard companies to compete with these companies. Some objectors say that these “non-cultural” companies do not contribute anything to the sport.

In 2016, the news that skateboarding became an Olympic sport caused a deep split in the skateboarding community. Many people believe that skateboarding is an art form.

Therefore, we cannot judge performance by conventional sports criteria. On the contrary, many skaters hope that after becoming a category in the Olympics, skateboarding will become more popular and inspire more generations.

Perhaps, we can hardly confirm anything about future skateboarding trends. Will the golden age of this sport return? Will the Olympic Games cause skateboarding to decline or grow? No one can be sure about that.

There is good news with a bright future. Many new skateboard manufacturing companies established and continuously improve product quality. Currently, despite most of the skate parks are closed, the sales of skateboards are still increasing steadily.

Who Invented the Skateboard
What is the future of skateboarding? No one can be sure about that.

Since the 1990s, skateboarding is not just a sport to help us glide smoothly on the road. Moreover, skateboarding has the ability to connect millions of people with the same passion of this sport around the world. Over time, this discipline develops into a form of healthy arts and entertainment.

Although we can not find out the exact answer to the question “Who invented the skateboard?”, but 2TOP hopes that this article has provided a lot of useful information about the history of skateboarding. So, you can understand, appreciate, and love this sport.


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