Skateboarding is considered an action sport and is relatively new, having developed from surfing. Now there are more than 20 million skateboarders around the world jumping down sets of stairs and grinding across park benches. It is commonly believed that skateboarding was invented in the early 1950s in California by a group of surfers who wanted to continue surfing even when there were no waves, and was originally called sidewalk surfing. Now it has developed into a hugely popular sport with participants from far and wide competing in international competitions and tournaments.
It isn’t easy to choose a reputable instructor or coach as skateboarding isn’t so bound by strict rules and regulations like other sports. A good place to start is at a good private skatepark (as public ones aren’t usually monitored) which you can research through online reviews. Additionally, local park areas or even a bit of patio in the garden can be an excellent starting point (although you might want to move your nice terracotta plant pots out the way first) as only flat, solid ground is needed to get to grips with the basics of skateboarding. The Ollie is done by stamping down on the back tail to jump the board up in the air and using the front foot to level the board out. Your feet should then be put in a stable position ready for landing and of course, this all has to be done as you yourself jump in the air too. Sounds complicated, but practice makes perfect!
The highest recorded Ollie was 45 inches high! (That’s more than a meter!)
Even the Unites States Marine Corps have had a go at skateboarding, for special manoeuvres and training.
The first outdoor skate park was built in Florida in 1976. This changed the sport to include vertical tricks as well as traditional flatland ones.
Skateboarding was banned in Norway between 1978 and 1989 due to a number of injuries. Norwegian skaters were so devoted; they began constructing places to skate in the woods.
The first international skateboarding competition was held in Anaheim, California in 1965.
The first skateboards weren’t great – they needed handles to steer! Nowadays, they are constructed so that the rider can steer by leaning over.
Apparently, when skateboarding, your wrists are the most vulnerable parts of your body to injury (so be careful!)
More than half of all the skateboarders in USA are in California!
The deck of a skateboard is usually made from 7 layers of plywood maple.
It is important to get to know your safety gear! 100,000 injuries happen a year to skateboarders who haven’t done so!
When you are looking for someone to teach your child Skateboarding what points should you consider?
Is the person recommended and approved by KalliKids or has someone you trust used them in the past?
Do they teach individually or in groups? Which approach would suit your child best?
Should you go and buy some equipment before the lesson or can they lend your child a board and safety wear initially until you’re sure your child is going to continue?
What clothes should your child wear for skateboarding? Freedom of movement is very important as is protection from falls. Can you get some advice before you hit the shops?
There is currently no national governing body for Skateboarding in the UK but there are regional centres and local instructors.
Large/Gross motor skills
You might be surprised to learn how good skateboarding is for your child. As well as being a very sociable sport, skateboarding can go a long way in developing their creativity, confidence and bravery. Their legs and core get a good workout and it provides them with a healthy, quick and free method of getting to school or their paper delivery route. Additionally, your child can get much handier with some self-taught construction and manufacturing as a skateboard has a lot of interchangeable moving parts and need regular maintenance.
Tony “The Birdman” Hawk (born May 12, 1968) is one of the more famous skateboarders, having over 10 video games, his own skateboarding company, his own TV production company and his own clothing lines. Hawk was hugely successful during his career as a professional skateboarder, pioneering the sport in many ways. He was the first person to ever land a 900 degree spin (that’s two and a half rotations!) and the second to land the difficult trick the McTwist. He doesn’t compete in tournaments anymore (although he does still ride) and is much more focused on various charity work.
Shaun White (born September 3, 1986) is actually better known as a superstar snowboarder and even has two Olympic gold medals for the sport but has learnt that these skills could be transferred to the skateboard. He has been very successful as a skateboarder and he too has his own video game. White made friends with Tony Hawk when he was just nine and was then mentored by him and managed to turn professional by just 17.
Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins (born September 21, 1989) is one of the most successful female skateboarders, though not without struggle. She has faced many difficulties including various injuries, surgeries and the loss of her father when she was quite young. However, this has not stopped her from winning several gold medals at the Summer X Games and many other medals too. She is also typical of a young surfer who wanted to ride even without waves, having started surfing at the age of six. She was always very athletic and took up a huge range of sports including skateboarding when she was bought a membership to a youth club by her brothers when she was still six. She has even been included in several of Tony Hawk’s games!
Jason Lee (born April 25, 1970) is the star of over 40 films including The Incredibles, Alvin and the Chipmunks and the sequels! However, this was not how Lee started out – has was a skateboarder from the age of five. He began as a professional skateboarder, co-founding a skateboarding company which produced videos. Lee has since revamped the company with help from friends and focuses on using it for good causes along with a lot of
supporting charity work.
Building a skatepark on the southbank.
Among the most influential skateboarders the industry has ever seen, Bob Burnquist is still innovating. In his new webisode series, Burnquist grants his fans exclusive access to the private domain in which so many of his contributions to skateboarding were born, his backyard in Southern California, better known as "Dreamland."
Rodney Mullen’s flatland.
Skateboarding was interesting to me when I was a teenager because it had all the physical demands of a sport but was focused on technical detail and you needed a flare of creativity to be able to do it well. It was also a great lesson in confidence of my own ability as you really need it when attempting tricks or jumps that could leave you injured if you fall.