A History of the Different Types of Skateboards

Most people agree that skateboarding began in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Kids would make their own skateboards with roller skate parts and a wooden plank. Once the surfers recognized it as a way to ride the waves on land, it became popular, and the sport of skateboarding today was born. 

The skateboard has gone through many changes over the years fueled by the changing needs and expectations as skaters took skating to new levels. Here is a brief history of the evolution of the skateboard as well as the different types of skateboards.

Skateboards in the 1960s

After the homemade skateboards of the 1950s gained popularity, the first manufactured skateboards appeared in the 1960s. Surf companies throughout California made them with a wooden board and clay wheels and trucks. It was a relatively flat board. 

By 1963, skateboarding had become so popular that there were competitions in Slalom and Freestyle. Another astonishing fact is that over 50 million skateboards were sold during this time. However, in 1965, safety experts deemed skateboarding to be an unsafe sport, and people stopped buying boards. 

Skateboards in the 1970s

During the slump, a man named Larry Stevenson was working to improve the design of the skateboard. He invented the kick tail, which is a lift on the rear of the board. In 1973, the urethane wheels were invented, which gave the skater more grip and higher speed. 

In addition, metal trucks were made specifically for skateboards, and they allowed skaters to turn the board without lifting the front wheels. Skate decks were wider and more stable, and this opened up skating to a new world of possibilities. 

In the late 1970s, skateboarding started to come back in popularity. Concrete skate parks began to pop up, and professional skaters came on the scene. It was at this time that skating began to specialize based on different styles. The styles were vert skating, slalom, downhill, freestyle, and long jump.  

Not only that, but skaters began to invent some of the standard tricks of skating today. Three tricks that came into being were the Aerial, the Invert, and the Ollie. This was critical as the Ollie is the basis for most skateboarding tricks. At the end of the 1970s, skating started to die out again, and many skate parks were forced to close down. 

Skateboards in the 1980s

When skating returned in the 1980s, it was marked by changes to the board and the style of skating. The skateboard was more specialized. Wide boards with short noses became popular for vert ramp skating, and side rails were applied underneath the board for board slides on rails. Most boards had large soft wheels. 

Street style skating arose, and this led to a new kind of skater. These skaters were thought of as rebels, and they had to make their own places to skate. They built ramps out of plywood and created their own skate parks in backyards and empty lots or parking garages. 

These skaters looked out in the real world for newer and more challenging places to skate. Because the VHS tape came about, skateboarding videos were created to teach kids how to skate. 

During this decade, the Ollie was promoted as the foundation of at least 80% of all street tricks and 60% of all vert moves. The Ollie became known as the foundation for skating.

At the end of the decade, skating lost popularity again. Street skating took over as the most popular style.

Skateboards in the 1990s

When ESPN broadcast the first Extreme Games in 1995, skating rose in popularity again. It no longer had to be a street sport that conjured up images of rebels, and it almost legitimized the sport in mainstream minds. The media attention from these broadcasts transformed skateboarding from an underground sport to a real spectator sport.

The skateboard went through many changes, as well. The average board width decreased about two inches, and smaller wheels are used, which helps with faster board rotation for flip tricks. The board also has a nose tail and is covered in grip tape. In addition, longboards made a comeback. Skateboards have not changed a lot since this time, but different styles began to pop up, primarily because skaters began to specialize. 

Skateboards in the 2000s

The standard skateboard design has remained pretty similar over recent years and skateboards have not changed very much since the 1990s. Some skaters do prefer a wider board and larger wheels today, but this is more of a trend than a change in style. 

There are different types of skateboards, which are all variations of the basic board and wheels. Despite the similarity of the style of the board, one big change is that skaters can earn a living and make a career out of skating. 

Different Types of Skateboards

Over the years the skateboard has been continuously evolving. As new tricks are invented and skateboarders continue to push the envelope of what is possible, skateboard manufacturers begin to introduce new design features.  Here are some of the different types of skateboards that have been used over the years. 

Freestyle Board

This is one of the first boards you will use. You do tricks and footwork on flat ground. It comes in a narrow, shorter board for skaters who want to flip it and longer wider board for those who want to focus on footwork. 

Slalom Skateboard

This board is for downhill skateboard racing. It is designed to increase speed, and the wheels are larger and softer to boost their grip and speed. The boards are longer with foam and carbon fiber cores that make them more responsive and stronger.

Downhill Skateboard

Downhill skateboards allow skaters to achieve high speeds quickly. The decks are stiff and usually come with a small or medium-sized wheelbase. The board should also be somewhat concave and stable so that you can stay on and move straight no matter how fast you are traveling.

Vert Skateboard 

This board is designed for ramps and vertical drops. The board has a large, wide deck and large wheels, which provide the necessary stability for vert skating.

Street Skateboard

Street skateboarding focuses on transitions and tricks above all else. The board needs to travel on rails, stairs, park benches, retaining walls, and picnic tables, among other things. The deck needs to be narrow, and the wheels should be 48 to 55 mm. This will help the board spin faster during tricks. The wheels should be made of polyurethane. The smaller wheels make the board lighter, which helps with the tricks.

Park Skateboard

This board is designed to be used in parks that were built specifically for skateboarding. These boards have a larger size as this allows for a longer wheelbase. The longer wheelbase will allow the skater to land more effectively. Smaller wheels with a hard durometer will allow the skater to do tricks more easily.

Pool Skateboard

This Is where skaters skate in a pool basin. The board needs to be wide for better stability and control, as well as smoothness. In addition, the wheelbase should be 15 to 18 inches. The shape of the board should be similar to the vert board as the ides of the pool are similar.

Cruising Skateboard

As the name implies, this board is for cruising in the street and on ramps in skate parks. It is less for tricks than for footwork. This board should be wide and come with rubber wheels. The board should be more of a general-purpose board than a trick board.

Off-Road Skateboard

This is a special skateboard that can be used on surfaces other than pavement. Basically, it is a regular skateboard, but the wheels are larger and rubber. 


Buying A Skateboard

If you’re thinking about buying a new skateboard, we carry some of the best decks in the game. Take a look at our big selection of skateboards online from great brands like Pass-Port, Quasi, WKND and many more. You can also come into our skate shop in Pompano Beach, FL to check out what we have in stock.