Every breakthrough in sports has a meaningful story. Like basketball, volleyball, and other sports, skateboarding has a unique tale that can inspire others.
Perhaps, more than the board’s build, one of the things you want to know as a skateboarder is how this object became famous. You might ask, “who invented the skateboard?” “where was skateboarding invented?” and more.
In this article, we’ll talk about Bill Richards and Larry Stevenson. Read on to see how they’ve popularized this sport.
Table of Contents
The First Skateboard
Before manufacturers designed concave or double kicktail skateboards, the first ever skateboard came from roller skate wheels. Additionally, these boards’ decks were made of wood planks.
How functional were these first skateboards? They were not very conducive to tricks, though they made riding on sidewalks and hills possible.
When did the first skateboards appear? Before their improvement, the first boards entered the scene as early as the 1920s. However, these were only from recycled materials.
As to who made the first skateboard, no one knows their exact names yet.
Inventors of Skateboards Over Time
Identifying the inventors of the first skateboards could be challenging because of unsubstantiated claims and vague timelines. Nonetheless, here’s a short skateboard history timeline of the first creators.
- 1643 – Robert Gordon saw wooden wheeled boards made and used by random people for transportation.
- The 1920s – Californian kids innovated the skateboard previously discussed, using wood planks and roller skate wheels.
- The 1940s – Californian people made the first skateboards designed from the image of surfboards.
- 1958 – Bill Richards produced the Roller Derby skateboard. It had rollerblading wheels topped by a wooden board. Also, it was the first official board sold in the market.
- 1969 – Larry Stevenson of Makaha skateboard company designed kicktail skateboards, which helped skateboarders do more tricks and enjoy better board control.
- 1972 – Frank Nasworthy created skateboarding urethane wheels.
We’ve witnessed different skateboard versions at various times. From these timelines, we see how skateboards started as a random idea by unknown people until two individuals took the chance to modernize them.
1. Bill Richards
Bill’s love for surfing extended to his family members, particularly his sons. Together, they established Val Surf, a surf shop.
But how did Val Surf get into the skateboarding market? What was a 1950s skateboard like?
Bill took the risk of using roller skate trucks by attaching them to wooden boards. Luckily, the first few sales attempts were successful.
Before long, Bill’s skateboards attracted many customers. And since then, skateboarding never fell off the trend.
2. Larry Stevenson
Larry is the big man behind Makaha skateboards. Unlike Bill, Larry capitalized on awakening surfers’ minds, attracting them to skating.
And he did not fail. Through his skateboarding articles, Larry exposed more people to skateboarding and its potential as a new sport.
Then, it was in 1963 that he finally started his Santa Monica-based skateboarding company, Makaha.
If Bill got the support of his family, Larry had his big break almost all on his own. He dealt with innovations, tried various materials, and released his patented kicktail board.
Who Invented Skateboarding?
With skateboarding invented by random people for transportation, it wasn’t competitive in the beginning. So, who started skateboarding as a sport?
The idea of skateboarding began with the Californian kids riding and working on their wheeled boards. They used to call it sidewalk surfing.
Eventually, surfers had the idea of skating on land as practice when the sea would not permit them to ride the waves.
However, it was Larry Stevenson that gave skateboarding a competitive atmosphere. He spearheaded the first skateboard tournament in 1963, supported by his company Makaha.
Since then, skateboards have evolved from being tools for recreation to professional athletic boards. Here’s a short account of skating’s development as a sport.
- 1976 – Aerials became known through Zephyr and Tony Alva.
- 1978 – Alan Gelfand invented the skateboard ollie, the root of many skateboard tricks.
- 1995 – Rhode Island hosted the first X-Games.
- 2010 – International competition, Street Leagues skateboarding, took place, courtesy of Rob Dyrdek.
- 2021 – Skateboarding’s first Olympic
Between these milestone years were the creation of some of the most popular tricks like the skateboard dale Jordan.
Frequently Asked Questions
When was the 1st skateboard invented?
It was 1958 when the first modern skateboard had an official sale, courtesy of the great Bill Richards. But it was Larry Stevenson and his company that made skateboards safer and more suited for use.
What country invented the skateboard?
Though it is unclear which country invented the skateboard, if we talk about its first manufacturing appearance, California, USA, would be the answer. As mentioned, Californian surfers and kids rode wooden planks with rollers when the oceans were calm.
The good news is the state continues to have a rich skating culture. It was in California that some of the most historic skateboarding competitions ignited more people to engage with the sport.
These events include the Street League and X-Games.
Sometimes, history makes following our passion more thrilling. We get inspired by the people behind it and want to carve the same success path as theirs.
And like arts, music, and sports, skateboarding has a rich background that continually amazes us. Things like who invented the skateboard, how did skateboarding start, and more, continue to interest many.
Remember these great men, Bill and Larry. Skateboarding might have been around for a while, but it’s here to stay because of these minds.
Hi, I am Charles Harris. I opened this site to write as much as I can about my biggest passion – skateboarding!
I started as a clumsy yet passionate rookie 10 years ago to now a still passionate yet much better skateboarder! But I have to tell you, the whole journey has always been fun and rewarding, indeed not without hardship.