Imagine riding a surfboard down your block. That’s exactly what inspired early skateboarders.
In the 1950s, people made their own skateboards. They removed the handlebars from scooters or attached boards to roller skates. Then they took their boards out on the streets to practice sidewalk surfing. Skaters tried to capture the feeling of riding a wave.Skateboarding is an action sport which involves riding and performing tricks using a skateboard. Skateboarding can also be considered a recreational activity.
They didn’t know it at the time, but these early skaters were inventing a new sport that would become popular around the world. Today, this sport goes by the name of skateboarding.
Today’s skateboards are much better than the first, homemade ones. The wooden base, called a deck, curves upward at the front and back. It is usually made of seven thin layers of wood pressed and glued together.
The front of the deck is called a kicknose. The back is a kicktail. Two pairs of wheels are attached to axles on the bottom of the deck. The axles are called trucks.
Along with the board itself, protective gear is standard skateboarding equipment. Riders wear helmets, kneepads, elbow pads, wrist guards, and gloves.
RIDING A SKATEBOARD
Skateboarders stand on their boards with both feet, facing to the side but looking forward. To start, they use the back foot to push off the ground and the front foot to control the board as they move forward. They turn the board by shifting their weight from heel to toe and back again.
But riding is only the beginning. The thrill of skateboarding comes from the turns, jumps, flips, and other tricks that skaters do. Experienced skateboarders are constantly combining these moves to invent new tricks.
Skateboarding tricks have a language all their own. Skaters do a wheelie by putting pressure on the kicktail to lift the front wheels off the ground. A turn made while doing a wheelie is called a kick turn. An ollie is a jump performed by tapping on the kicktail to pop the skateboard in the air. This move is useful for jumping over obstacles.
An aerial is performed by launching off a ramp and grabbing the side of the skateboard while in the air. In the McTwist, the skater launches into the air, grabs the board, and turns around one and a half times before landing.
Skateboarders can practice their moves almost anywhere. Some communities have skate parks with ramps, rails, stairs, and other structures.
Some skate parks have halfpipes. These are U-shaped ramps with vertical walls that skaters use for advanced tricks. Skaters start at the top of one wall. They ride down the wall, across the bottom, and up the other side to launch into the air. While airborne, they do a spin, flip, or jump, and then ride back down to do it again. Doing tricks on the vertical walls of a halfpipe is called vert skating.
Skateboarding competitions have been popular since the 1960s. Today, skateboarders compete in freestyle, street, vert, and slalom events. Judges rate skaters on the difficulty, variety, speed, and style of their tricks.
Freestyle contests take place on flat surfaces, usually without obstacles. The skater performs stunts and tricks using only the skateboard. Street competitions involve moves performed on curbs, benches, stairs, handrails, boxes, and ramps.
Vert competitions are held in empty swimming pools or in large halfpipes. In slalom events, skaters race against the clock through a series of cones. They move as quickly as possible without falling or knocking down the cones.