SkateDeckHistory

Skate Shapes

Evolution of a Board

Skateboarding has gone from something to do while waiting for surf waves to pick up to a global sport that’s about to blast into the Olympics. Along the way, skateboards have changed, too. With changing ride styles, harder tricks, and more skateboarders looking for an edge, skateboarding companies made their way into the scene and started looking for ways to improve what was already there.

Let’s cruise through the story of board design (see what we did there) from its beginnings on the boardwalk to the look of today.

The Original Board

The first skateboards were literally exactly what their name says—boards for skating. Surfers in the 40s and 50s wanted to get the feeling of gliding through town the way they glided through waves, so they started attaching roller skate wheels to boards and boxes. So most early ‘skateboards’ they weren’t called that yet) were basically just rectangles.

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Photo credit: Gingko Press

Then there was Roller Derby Skateboard Company. This brand is responsible for a lot of firsts, including being the very first brand to mass-produce skateboards and the first to actually use the name ‘skateboard.’ Based in California (of course), their factory let people around the country start ordering and riding skateboards by the time the 1960s showed up. Roller Derby Skateboard Company’s main board design had a flat backside and a rounded front edge, starting the trend of skateboard design that wasn’t the same on both sides, a trend that would last for the next couple of decades.

Other skate companies that entered the scene included NASH, who released their “Shark” skateboard design that you can still see in some retro skateboard designs today.

Banana Board Anyone?

Once the 1970s hit, a new board design was on the scene. Meet the ‘banana board.’ This longer and thinner board was more flexible. To keep the thin board from breaking, it had a rib-style reinforcement design on the underside to help give more support.

Skateboards Leap Forward

While skateboards were getting the job done in the most basic terms, skateboarders who were starting to take the sport seriously were having to deal with uneven riding and design issues like ball bearings that came loose. What the fu*k, they thought.

BoardWall

Then Road Rider came onto the scene, featuring the very first skateboard with bearings designed specifically for skateboards. It was at this point that skateboard design became a whole industry of its own.

Enter the Popsicle

After a few more changes, skateboard design went back to its original roots in one significant way— boards went from designs that were different on each side to asymmetrical design that called back to the original rectangular boards of the 40s and 50s.

Nowadays, you’ll still see unique custom boards or throwback, vintage options available. But the ‘popsicle’ shape has become the standard that’s loved by pros and amateurs everywhere, and it’s now the most iconic design in the history of the sport.

via GIPHY