Project02: Rethinking Form & Function Research



Skateboard [skeyt-bawrd, -bohrd]
noun 1 a device for riding upon, usually while standing, consisting of a short, oblong pice of wood, plastic, or aluminum mounted on large roller-skates wheels, used on smooth surfaces and requiring better balance of the rider than the ordinary roller skate does.


1947fruitcratescooterIn the late 1950s the first commercially produced skateboards were manufactured. These were flat planks of wood about 24 inches long with metal, squeaky wheels

The 1940s-1960s

Skateboarding was probably born sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s when surfers in California wanted something to surf when the waves were flat. No one knows who made the first board, rather, it seems that several people came up with similar ideas at around the same time. These first skateboarders started with wooden boxes or boards with roller skate wheels attached to the bottom. The boxes turned into planks, and eventually companies were producing decks of pressed layers of wood -- similar to the skateboard decks of today. During this time, skateboarding was seen as something to do for fun besides surfing, and was therefore often referred to as "Sidewalk Surfing". 
Jay Adams and original Z-boy "Sidewalk Surfing"
Vintage Santa Cruz Skateboard

The 1970s "Pioneers of Skateboarding"

The Z-Boys were a group of skateboarders in the 1970s from South Santa Monica and Venice California who are credited with inventing modern skateboarding and essentially creating the skater subculture that now exists. Their name is derived from the name of the team they competed with together, the Zephyr Competition Team.

The Z-boys early 1970s
small collection of 70’s boards as well for the appreciation

The aerial and sliding skate moves that the Z-Boys invented were the basis for the aerial skateboarding and surfing still popular today. Considered the most influential skateboard team in history, the Z-Boy movement continues to this day as an expression of performance, innovation and style. The life and times of the Z-Boys have been documented in numerous movies, books and magazine articles, most notably the Sundance Film winning documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys and the book Dogtown: the Legend of the Z-Boys by Glen Friedman andCraig Stecyk. The 2005 film Lords of Dogtown,

Jay Adams carving up a pool in 1976 California drought
Tony Alva ripping up the dog-bowl in 1976 California drought

The 1980s "The Berth of Vert Ramps"

Here's a sweet FS Boneless of Garry Scott Davis that I shot at the Shell Bowl in Oceanside in 1985

Vintage Skateboards 1980’s "Madric skateboarding"

This period was fueled by skateboard companies that were run by skateboarders. The focus was initially on vert ramp skateboarding. The invention of the no-hands aerial (later known as the ollie) by Alan Gelfand in Florida in 1976[6] and the almost parallel development of the grabbed aerial byGeorge Orton and Tony Alva in California made it possible for skaters to perform airs on vertical ramps. While this wave of skateboarding was sparked by commercialized vert ramp skating, a majority of people who skateboarded during this period never rode vert ramps. Because most people could not afford to build vert ramps or did not have access to nearby ramps, street skating gained popularity. Freestyle skating remained healthy throughout this period with pioneers such asRodney Mullen inventing many of the basic tricks of modern street skating such as the Impossible and the kickflip.

Jim Blast Melbourne 1981 "indi grab"

Vintage Skateboards 1980’s "Bullet"

 The influence freestyle had on street skating became apparent during the mid-eighties, but street skating was still performed on wide vert boards with short noses, slide rails, and large soft wheels. Skateboarding, however, evolved quickly in the late 1980s to accommodate the street skater. Since few skateparks were available to skaters at this time, street skating pushed skaters to seek out shopping centers and public and private property as their "spot" to skate. Public opposition, and the threat of lawsuits, forced businesses and property owners to ban skateboarding on their property. By 1992, only a small fraction of skateboarders remained as a highly technical version of street skating, combined with the decline of vert skating, produced a sport that lacked the mainstream appeal to attract new skaters.

Vintage Skateboards 1980’s "Holsol"

The 1990s "And the Future"

Tony Hawk Pro Skateboarder "Big Air"

Chad Muska Pro Skateboarder

The current generation of skateboards is dominated by street skateboarding. Most boards are about 7¼ to 8 inches wide and 30 to 32 inches long. The wheels are made of an extremely hard polyurethane, with hardness(durometer) approximately 99a. The wheel sizes are relatively small so that the boards are lighter, and the wheel's inertia is overcome quicker, thus making tricks more manageable. Board styles have changed dramatically since the 1970s but have remained mostly alike since the mid 1990s. The contemporary shape of the skateboard is derived from the freestyle boards of the 1980s with a largely symmetrical shape and relatively narrow width. This form had become standard by the mid '90s.
DC Shoes Skateboarding 

Rob Dyrdek "BS Smith Grind" 

Modern Skateboards 2000s 

skateboarding components

Blue Prints of Skateboard Trucks

Hellz Bellz Series of Skateboard Decks

Skateboard Wheels "Conspiracy"

Skateboard Bearings