Longboard History – From The Streets of Hawaii in the Late 1950s to Present

If you are a longboard lover, you already know what a longboard is. But maybe you don’t know much about the history of the longboard. Today, we are going to hear about some longboarding facts and its history.

You may be wondering about, from where the journey began?

Well, let’s jump into the decade of the 1950s. Get ready and sit on board.

The History of Longboard

1950s-60s

At first, longboarding started in the streets of Hawaii.

The time was the late 1950s and 60s. Surfing was a very famous sport all around the USA at that time. But when the waves were flat, they had nothing to do. So they had an idea to solve this problem.

Longboard was the result of that idea. Skateboards were very popular and widely sold item in the United States. But there were some skaters who wanted the boards to be longer in lengths. Sometimes, they preferred larger wheels.

At that early age, most of the skateboards were primitive homemade and those decks were constructed at home by the skaters themselves. The wheels were made of clay and woods. The decks were like cruisers most of the times. They were bigger in size.

At that time, street skateboarding and another form of skateboarding (which is called vert skateboarding) were separated from it and most of the wheels were made from simplistic steel or sometimes even from clay materials.

1970-80s

The main issues with the early age of skateboarding were the wheels of clay. But it was changed in 1972. A man called Frank Nasworthy who was the owner of a wheel company called “Cadillac” come up with a new idea.

They invented the first urethane skateboard wheels of the world. And it came as a revolution in the skateboard industry. After they invented the urethane wheels, skating gradually started to get into this modern form that we all love and know nowadays.

With the urethane wheels invention, it started giving a better speed of rolling. There were wide variations in designs and colors. The invention was absolutely a revolution in this form of sport.

The revolution happened because at the time of clay wheels, the controlling was harder than the urethane wheels and it was very dangerous for the rides to ride on the board.

When the skaters used to take turns, they had to face the issue of sliding. This problem was solved in urethane wheels. Substantially far better grip was possible to provide in urethane wheels.

There were combinations of different shapes that were very much helpful to provide grips as well as sliding possibilities of a different level.

A freestyle and slalom competition was arranged in the year of 1975. It was during the spring season. That competition was another turning point in the history of skating. It helped this sport a lot to gain today’s position.

There was a team named ‘Zephyr.’ Their appearance was historic at that event. People used to say that, they rode their skateboards as nobody did before in front of people.

After seeing their unbelievable performance with the board, people were convinced enough to believe that, skateboarding is not just a hobby. It is something more and can be a passionate sport in its own way.

There were many members in the Zephyr. But among them, only a few were very much famous. They are, ‘Jay Adams,’ ‘Tony Alva,’ and ‘Stacy Peralta.’

There are many videos about the team Zephyr and their performance on YouTube and other social video sharing platforms. If you are interested to explore their history and enjoy their amazing skating show, you can check those out.

In the year of 1976, another amazing feature of the skateboard was introduced in the skateboard industry for the first time, which was precision bearings. It was very well designed to be installed especially in the skateboard wheels.

But at the end of this era, skateboarding lost its popularity again for some reasons. And soon it became an underground activity as it was before. The factors that played major roles behind this fall of popularity were high risk of the activity, uprising cost of the insurance, fading interests of people and so on.

The 1980s

There was a tradition in the ’80s which is most of the skateboard making companies at that time was founded by the famous skateboarders during the period. They started their own business and began to make a huge profit.

With the involvement of the skateboarders in this industry, a huge change had come. The skateboarders knew this sport very well. They knew what are the changes that needed to make it more effective and enjoyable.

So they brought those changes and the whole thing got a new look. New opportunities were opened for the rides with the newly designed shapes of the boards. And the skaters started doing more creative things with their longboards.

But still, it was an underground sport. The people who loved to do pool skate, vert skate; they were used to make their personal ramps at the house. There were still many people who were not aware of the skateboarding at all.

VCR introduced skateboarding to them and helped them to know lots of other stuff about skateboarding, its history and opportunities. And from them, many other people were influenced in this form of sport.

Soon the number started to get into a big amount of people.

“George Powell” and “Stacey Peralta” were professional skateboarders at that time. They were very famous among the people who loved skateboarding. So they made a huge impact on skateboarding at that decade.

They founded a new company together and the company was named, “Powell Peralta.”

There was a very famous skateboarding team at that time, named “Bones Brigade.” The team was formed by putting young and talented skateboarders together in one place.

Many famous rides like “Tony Hawk,” “Steve Caballero,” “Mike McGill,” “Rodney Mullen”, “Lance Mountain,” “Kevin Staab”, “Stacy Peralta,” and many other famous skateboarders were in Bones Brigade.

Stacy did a very innovative thing for the promotion of the team which was not a common thing at that time. He made and released a series of skateboarding videos that got very popular within a short time. The video series was known as “Bone Brigade Video Show.”

Some of the Stacy’s videos made historic change skateboarding during the time. “Future Primitive” and “Search for Animal Chin” were the two most famous videos that made a great impact on the audience at that decade.

Young skateboarders were very much influenced by the clothing, culture, style and other parts of the lifestyle that were shown in the video. And then they started following them. Soon they become a role model of many youngsters.

Powell Peralta used the wheels called “Snakes.” This is still trending in for some specific things like longboard free riding.

The 1990s

Street skating was one of the most popular sports at ’90s. It was a new craze in the Skating world. But Longboarding was still struggling with its popularity.

At that time, the first longboard company “Sector 9” started to produce and sell longboard in the market.

In the 1990s, it got another breakthrough in its technology. It came with an invention of a special type of trucks which was called reverse kingpin trucks. Those trucks were able to provide greater stability of the boards and the overall performance was far better than the previous versions.

Longboard was no longer only a hobby after that. Everyone started taking it as a serious sport. A new event started to appear which was called downhill skating. X games started feature longboard racing.

Through this decade of ’90s, the popularity of the longboard increased very significantly. They started more different types of ridings. Downhill racing, freeriding and dancing, slalom events; those were started getting popularity from then.

Sector 9’s History

Sector 9 was founded and started their first activity in the backyards of La Jolla in 1993. It was a group of good friends who loved to build longboards. They sometimes made those from snowboards.

They just kept building boards, and at one moment, they saw that they had built a lot of boards. The number of production was increasing every day.

Then sector 9 moved into the first warehouse house of the company. All the crew of the company shifted there and started working in double speed.

In this very same workplace, it became the first longboard making factory. Sector 9 came up with different varieties in their boards. Still, their board is some of the longboard riders’ first choice.

They introduced specially designed decks for different forms of longboarding. They named them cruisers decks, freeride decks and downhill racing decks.

Sector 9 not only produced decks but also they had other famous products like apparel, wheels and gloves as well.

Mass Popularity

The golden age of longboarding was 2010. In this year, longboarding was mass popular. It was like a revolution. People started using longboard for many different purposes.

Some rode it just for extracting the fun out of it. On the other hand, some used it as their source of transport.

People used to roam around the city on their longboards from the very beginning. But it became a trend in 2010. Covering small and medium distances inside the city became a trend.

The refreshing environment of the city while riding on their board was always a bonus that they never wanted to miss.

Students of the college started traveling the way from their home to college by longboards. It was very easy to pass the narrow roads of the college and there was no problem in carrying them indoors.

Soon it became more and more popular among the college-going students. The students love to perform some amazing, thrilling tricks inside the college area to show and impress their mates.

Sometimes, they even arranged longboarding maneuverability competitions and racing events. Those events took place in public and those helped them a lot to promote this form of sports among the mass people.

Longboarding Today

Now a day, we have internet in our hands. These days’ communication is far easier than before. It is not a difficult task for the longboards to find their other fellow mates who are interested in longboarding.

They communicate via different social networking websites, meet each other and skate together.

The decks of the modern days are very improved than the decks that were used 40-60 years ago. Previously, things like carbon fiber, bamboo, fiberglass and foam were used to make the decks for the longboards. Those days are over now.

Now, the trucks are more precise. Other components are also advanced. And that’s why the riders are getting more options than before to improve and fine-tune the device set up into how they want it to be.

There are dozens of companies, hundreds of varieties in wheels, deck designs, truck designs and other features. Options are limitless. You can choose your favorite one from any one of these varieties.

Due to the advancement of technology, we can see electric skateboards recently. The companies like Evolve, Boosted, and Atom are providing a whole new way of longboarding. They are giving you the ease and guarantee of hitting your destination with more comfort.

Famous longboarders are celebrities now. For example; “Zak Maytum,” “Patric Switzer” are some famous names for downhill longboarding.

Longboarding is already an established and popular sport now. People used to cruise and take part in competition riding longboards. But downhill skating has become an underground sport now. There are several reasons behind this.

One of the most important reasons is, it is a highly dangerous form of skateboarding.

For example, if we talk about downhill skateboarding; we will see downhill skating is categorized as a severely dangerous sport.

But the positive thing is, it is getting popularity and people have started knowing about it. Social media like YouTube have a contribution to get it popular among people.

Conclusion

Longboarding has a very rich and glorious history. It’s not just a sport; it’s an emotion. Here, we went very briefly through the longboard history. If we see the record, it had faced many difficult times.

Sometimes, it lost its way. But also took birth from the ashes like a phoenix. Many saviors had come to save longboarding in its time of need. Sometimes, it was technology and sometimes, it was people who had the love for longboarding.

This is all about longboard history. And it will go a long way partaking the inspiration and energy from its glorious past.

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