Enter Skate Park

Skateboarding: The Culture Behind the Phenomenon

Skateboarding is the act of rolling on or interacting with a skateboard. Someone who skateboards is called a skater or skateboarder. Skateboarding can be a hobby, a sport, or a method of transportation. It is often considered part of the extreme sports family or, because of its creative aspects, an art form. Skateboarding has been shaped and influenced by hundreds of skateboarders throughout the years. A 2002 report by American Sports Data found that there were 12.5 million skateboarders in the world. Eighty percent of skateboarders polled who had used a board in the last year were under the age of 18, and 74 percent were male.


The first skateboard
Skateboarding originated sometime in the 1950s and coincided with the popularization of surfing in California. The earliest skateboards were homemade and were constructed of flat wooden planks attached to roller-skate trucks and wheels. Skateboarding was originally called "sidewalk surfing" and early skaters emulated surfing style and moves. Skateboards may or may not have evolved from "crate scooters." Crate scooters preceded skateboards, and were essentially similar except for having a wooden crate attached to the front, which formed rudimentary handlebars. In the film Back to the Future, Marty McFly is seen confiscating such a scooter from an unsuspecting 50s youth, and ripping the crate off to fashion an improvised skateboard.

As the sport of skateboarding matured it developed its own style, some elements of which have found their way into the sport of surfing—resulting in the evolution of both sports. The skateboarders most frequently credited with popularizing skateboarding are the Z-Boys from Venice Beach, California—who revolutionized skateboarding with the 'surf style' riding technique—and the Bones Brigade (including skateboarding icon Tony Hawk) from the 1980s—who helped produce some of the most influential skateboarding videos ever made. They started riding skateboards in empty swimming pools, as portrayed in the movie Dogtown and Z-Boys.

Second generation
In the early 1970s, Frank Nasworthy started to develop a skateboard wheel made of polyurethane. The improvement in traction and performance was so immense that the popularity of skateboarding started to rise rapidly again, and companies started to invest more in product development. Many companies started to manufacture trucks (axles) especially designed for skateboarding. As the equipment became more maneuverable, the decks started to get wider, reaching widths of 10 inches and over in the end, thus giving the skateboarder even more control. Manufacturers started to experiment with more exotic composites, like fiberglass and aluminum, but the common skateboards were made of maple plywood. The skateboarders took advantage of the improved handling of their skateboards and started inventing new tricks. Skateboarders, most notably the Z-Boys, started to skate the vertical walls of swimming pools that were left empty in the 1976 California drought. This started the vert trend in skateboarding. With increased control, skateboarders could skate faster and perform more dangerous tricks, such as slash grinds and backside airs. This caused liability concerns and increased insurance costs to skatepark owners. Many skateparks went out of business and were torn down. By the end of 1980, skateboarding had died again.

Third generation
The third skateboard generation, from the early eighties to early nineties, was started by skateboard companies that actively promoted their art. The focus was initially on half-pipe and vert ramp skateboarding. The invention of the no-hands aerial (later known as the ollie) by Alan Gelfand in 1978 made it possible for skaters to perform huge airs off vertical ramps. With vert skating being dominant, decks became very wide and acquired larger and wider wheels. But as time progressed and skateparks became fewer in number, street skateboarding gained popularity, causing a change in both deck shape and wheel size. Street skating became skateboarding's most popular form. Mark Gonzales is one of street skating's pioneers and is credited as being the first person to ollie up a curb and to clear a set of stairs - adapting Rodney Mullen's flatland ollie to street skating. Nearly all manufacturers preferred maple plywood over more exotic composite materials, and concave decks became ubiquitous. The third skateboarding generation was nearly killed by the global economical recession in the early 1990s.

Current generation
The fourth and current generation of skateboards is dominated by two tricks: the ollie and the grind. Most boards are about 7 1/4 to 8 inches wide and 30 to 32 inches long. The wheels have an extremely hard durometer (approximately 99a) so that they will slide better during grind and slide tricks. Additionally, very high durometers offer the benefit of reduced drag on hard surfaces which results in an overall faster ride. The wheel sizes are relatively small so that the boards will rotate more easily during flip tricks. Today, modern wheels are currently around 50 to 58 mm in diameter and advances in technology have made them extremely light compared to the wheels of the eighties. Most decks are still constructed out of Canadian Maple, with 7-plys being the industry standard for strength and durability. Other companies have come up with different designs, such as the Element Skateboards helium board, made with internal air pockets, which the company claims makes the board lighter and somehow stronger[1]. The modern shape of the skateboard is derived from the freestyle boards of the 1980s with a largely symetrical shape and relatively narrow width. Freestyle skateboarding has heavily influenced todays skateboarding with technical tricks based on the kickflip.

Longboarding, a discipline in its own right, has developed recently, and is ridden by some who believe that a long board is better for carving. The longboard is much smoother than a trick deck, and it is more stable. The longboard is usually outfited with very soft and very large wheels. These wheels are what are responsible for the smooth ride associated with long boards, and not the length of the board. It is popular with surfers because of the closer similarity to carving a wave compared to the rickety feel of a hard-wheeled trick deck.

In 2004, the International Association of Skateboard Companies started "Go Skateboarding Day", which is held on June 21 of every year. The day gives skateboarders a chance to appreciate skateboarding. Skateboard retailers, manufacturers, skateparks, distributors, organizations and individuals of all colors, creeds, and attitudes hold skateboarding events to celebrate the holiday

Skateboarding was originally tied to the culture of surfing. As skateboarding spread across the United States to places that were unfamiliar with surfing or its culture, it developed an image of its own. Skateboarding culture has long been tied to the punk subculture, but over the last decade skateboarding has broken from even its loose cultural ties with punk to form its own subculture. Skateboarding now has its own stereotypes, music, fashion, and slang. The "modern skateboarder" is no longer perceived as a degenerate or malfeasant, on account of the mainstream popularity and respectability of skateboarders like Tony Hawk. Previously, skateboarding was looked down on by most of society because of skaters' perceived affinity for crime and delinquency. Now that skateboarding has become an international sport and many have made their livings skateboarding, the sport is no longer considered illegitimate. However, skating still has an unsavory social reputation and is often seen as destructive and obnoxious.

The image of the skateboarder as a rebellious, nonconforming youth has come in direct conflict with the more modern image of skateboarding in recent years. This rift between the old image of skateboarding and the new one is quite visible: magazines like Thrasher portray an image of skateboarding that is dirty, rebellious, and still firmly tied to punk, while magazines like Transworld Skateboarding portray a more modernized, diverse, and controlled image of skateboarding stars.

Between the point of its inception and somewhere towards the late 1970s, skateboarding fashion was invariably linked with surf fashion. During its heyday in the mid 1980s, however, skateboarding began to develop its own style—with trendsetters such as Mark 'Gator' Ragowski and Christian Hosoi leading the charge. Garishly colored shorts and neon T-shirts were popularized with the rise of industry giant Vision skateboards, their ubiquitous square logo adorning the T-shirts of countless skateboarders around the world.

With the popularization of street skateboarding in the late 1980s and early 1990s came a change in trend. Taking its lead from hip hop, skateboarding fashion became baggier, with oversized denim jeans and extra large T-shirts becoming more and more prevalent. One of the icons of this phase was the Blind purple denim jean. Shoes were also much larger in design—a fad started by skateboarders cutting out tongues from other shoes and putting them into their current pair to widen them out.

By the mid to late 1990s, the trend moved away from baggy/saggy jeans and T-shirts, with many slimming down their wardrobe. By the early 2000's, Trendsetters such as Andrew Reynolds and Geoff Rowley began wearing much slimmer profile jeans, adopting a much more punk-rock aesthetic. Some skateboarders took it to the next level, wearing extreamly tight jeans and T-shirts. Professional skateboarders such as Ali Boulala and Jim Greco started experimenting with their style, wearing waistcoats, round brimmed hats, bandanas, puffy shirts, and other unusual regalia. Till now, the popularity of slimmer and more mainstream clothing, has been growing steadily to the point where skateboarding fashion is beeing categorised into two groups, "punk" and "hiphop", even though it's a bit more complex than that in the current status.

It should be noted that though these trends show the changing nature of skateboarding fashion, many skateboarders dress more according to comfort than trend. Even in the professional realm, these trends do not account for the fashion choices of the majority of skateboarders throughout the sport's history.
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Skate Park Brands

Adidas Shoes - Adidas Skateboarding Shoes

Adio Skateboarding Shoes - Adio Shoes - Adio Footwear boasts cutting edge styles with industry leading technology. Thoroughly respected and endorsed in the skateboarding world, Adio shoes are the hottest footwear line around. Whether it's in competition or just lounging in the sand, Adio shoes and sandals help you look your best. Discover the height of cool comfort with Adio footwear.

C Collection by Cobian Shoes - The runway meets beachy-couture. From Los Angeles to New York the C-Collection brings the comfort of the west to the style of the east. This surf chic footwear stays true to it's culture while adopting the future of fashion. Stay comfortable while looking good.

Circa Shoes - Circa Skateboarding Shoes - Circa footwear is the constant development of premiere products within skateboard fashion. Offering unmatched comfort, durability, and uncompromising technical features, discover progression with simplicity.

Cobian Shoes - Cobian Skateboarding Shoes - Developed in Southern California, Cobian has grown with the surf culture and has kept those within it stoked. While keeping their sandals looking good, Cobian has brought comfort to an entire new level. Whether it be sand or street, Cobian will get you there in style...with no compromises.

Converse Shoes - Converse Skateboarding Shoes - Converse - The Original. Chuck Taylor reminds you to be wary of imposters and pretenders. Insist on the Original - The Converse® Chuck Taylor® All Star®. Great American Shoes for over 80 years.

DC Shoes - DC Skateboarding Shoes - DCSHOECOUSA - DC recognizes the fusion between art and skateboarding, taking footwear to the next level. Delivering uncompromising comfort, durability, and eye-catching fashion, DC is the source for everyday and technical skateboarding footwear.

Dragon Optical - Dragon is a manufacturer of high-end eyewear and accessories that are used by many of the world¹s top athletes. Dragon has always strived to design and develop products that function the best for the true enthusiast in all types of conditions.

Draven Shoes - Draven Skateboarding Shoes - Draven is a California based company bringing together international cultures of art, music and skateboarding. Draven is an ongoing program of both recognized and emerging artists whose creative energy allows for unique, original designs. Draven products are made for individualists who want to express their individual style.

DuFFS Shoes - DuFFS Skateboarding Shoes - With DuFFS shoes, skating has never looked so good! Lightweight, flexible, durable, with all the padding you need, DuFFS footwear sets the new standard for skating comfort and style. With a variety of styles and colors, made from the finest quality materials, DuFFS are the new choice for serious skating, or just looking good.

DVS Shoes - DVS Skateboarding Shoes - DVS Shoe Company Shoes - DVS features premier skate products that are designed and tested by team riders such as Steve Berra, Keith Hufnagel, Kerry Getz, Daewon Song, Jason Dill, Mike Taylor, Daniel Castillo, Chico Brenes, Jereme Rogers and Jeron Wilson. DVS Shoe Company...SKATE MORE!!!

Ed Hardy Shoes - Ed Hardy Skateboarding Shoes - Christian Audigier and legendary tattoo artist Don Ed Hardy have combined their unconventional approaches and formed a vintage tattoo inspired footwear line to complement the well-instated clothing line. Ed Hardy Shoes remains true to its roots with casual basics for both men and women that translate tattoo artwork to the ready wear youth of their generation.

Emerica Shoes - Emerica Skateboarding Shoes - Emerica boasts one of the best teams in all of skateboarding. With seasoned professionals who remain at the highest performance level such as Andrew Reynolds, along with an influx of young skaters with a destiny for greatness such as Kevin "Spanky" Long, the only thing comparable to the Emerica Team is the Emerica Product. Emerica shoes are made with superior function in mind, and you need not look any further to find footwear ideal for handling all of your skateboarding needs.

Etnies Shoes - Etnies Skateboarding Shoes - Driven to lead and inspired by action sports, Etnies designs and markets innovative footwear and accessories.

Gallaz Shoes - Gallaz Skateboarding Shoes - Since its inception in 1999, Gallaz has been dedicated to delivering a wide array of products inspired by the boardsports lifestyle -- from progressive footwear to vintage and trend inspired streetwear. Functional, comfortable, and stylish, the Gallaz brand always embraces the fun of being a girl.

Globe Shoes - Globe Skateboarding Shoes - Globe Shoes was started in 1994 by former Australian professional skateboarders Matt, Steven, and Peter Hill. With it's worldwide headquarters in Melbourne, Australia and it's North American headquarters in El Segundo, California, Globe continues to push the envelope in providing the surf and skateboard culture with quality and comfortable footwear and apparel. Skateboarding and surfing would not be the sports they are today if it weren't for professionals such as Rodney Mullen, Mark Occhilupo, Chet Thomas, and Taj Burrow who have made unparalleled contributions to advancing these sports. Globe proudly sponsors these and many other world-class athletes who participate in Surfing, Skateboarding, Snowboarding, and Moto-Cross.

Gravis Shoes - Gravis Skateboarding Shoes - The Gravis mission is to design comfortable, durable, ingenious footwear for everyday function and style. Working with a group of athletes and designers, Gravis has redefined the casual shoe, built to fit right out of the box.

Heelys Shoes - Heelys Skateboarding Shoes - Shoes that roll. Exclusive to Heelys, these powerful, lightweight athletic shoes feature a single wheel housed in the heel, allowing athletes of all skill levels to walk, run and transition to a roll at any moment. Roll into all situations, or simply remove the wheel and transform your Heelys into a pair of fashionable street shoes.

Hurley International - Hurley Skateboarding Shoes - Hurley footwear is a perfect combination of casual comfort and unique up-to-date style. Inspired by West Coast beach culture, Hurley sneakers and sandals bring a fresh interpretation to classic comfort footwear that's both edgy and sharp. These one-of-a-kind designs truly stand out in both look and comfort.


Lakai Shoes - Lakai Skateboarding Shoes - Lakai features signature footwear represented by riders such as Anthony Pappalardo, Brandon Biebel, Danny Garcia, Marc Johnson, Rick Howard, Scott Johnston, Jeff Lenoce, Cairo Foster, Mike Carrol and Rob Welsh. With innovative design and construction, Lakai is on top of their game in skate footwear.

Macbeth Shoes - Macbeth Skateboarding Shoes - Since its inception, Macbeth has been the creative outsole for musicians and artist. Macbeth makes shoes and clothing that fit their needs. Working with so many talented artists and musicians with such varied tastes, Macbeth has come to represent the broad spectrum of timeless and classic products that embraces musicians and artists alike.

Macbeth Optics - MACBETH Optics was formed in 2005 when Justin Heit got together with friends Tom DeLonge and Jon Humphrey with the idea of designing hand crafted, quality sunglasses to meet the needs and tastes of their friends. Inspired by classic architecture, modern design and technology, the Macbeth Optics collection incorporates unique designs with fun, transparent colors and styles that appeal to everyone from athletes and rockers to the most fashion-conscious individuals. MACBETH Optics’ first collection, which you see here, launched in spring 2006.

O'Neill Shoes - O'Neill Skateboarding Shoes - O’Neill mixes it up this season with comfort and style meeting art, music, and the environment. With team rider feedback from Cory Lopez, Rochelle Ballard, Trent Munro, Melanie Bartels, and others, the dynamic forces of freedom and fusion influence the direction and vision of all their products.

Oakley Shoes - Oakley Skateboarding Shoes - A proven leader in sports-inspired fashion, the Oakley footwear line delivers all the style and durability that has become synonymous with the Oakley name. From unique sport sandal designs, to sleek golf shoes, to all-purpose comfort trainers, these styles represent the height of performance style. With an unparalleled durability, these unique designs are in a league all their own.

Oakley Eyewear - A proven leader in sports-inspired fashion, the Oakley eyewear line delivers all the style and durability that has become synonymous with the Oakley name. With an unparalleled durability, these unique designs are in a league all their own.

Ocean Minded Shoes - Ocean Minded Skateboarding Shoes - The Ocean Minded headquarters is located 1 block from the Pacific Ocean. All of their sandals are put through intense testing at our local surf beaches. Lowers, Uppers, T-Street, Riviera, and San Onofre. Ocean Minded has the reputation for the most comfortable sandal on the market. Those at Ocean Minded strive to protect the Earths most precious resources; the oceans, lakes, and streams. They live it, we surf it, we walk it. Take a pair for a ride! Be Ocean Minded…

OluKai Shoes - OluKai Skateboarding Shoes - OluKai is a line of premium men's and women's lifestyle footwear infused with the personality and ethos of the ocean lifestyle. Their designs feature superior craftsmanship, premium materials and our anatomically designed footbed for excellent comfort and support. The OluKai line consists of two collections - Mauka and Pulu. The Mauka (Hawaiian for "inland”) collection features premium leather fabrications for an elegant casual look, and the Pulu (Hawaiian for "wet”) collection is designed for use in and around water.

Osiris Shoes - Osiris Skateboarding Shoes - Osiris is dedicated to providing the world with the most progressive skate shoes on the planet. Each and every shoe is tested by the entire Osiris skate team ensuring quality and function. With a wide range of styles and features there is something for everyone. The worldwide Osiris skate team consists of Jerry Hsu, Ali Boulala, Louie Barletta, John Rattray, Diego "The Butcher", PLG, Chris Dobstaff and James Brockman. Be sure to check out the Osiris skate video "Subject to Change" out in the stores now.

Pony Shoes - Pony Skateboarding Shoes - What is Pony Product? It is new. It is global, intelligent, grounded in performance, innovative, fashionable, modern, authentic, simple, ergonomic, sexy. It is unpredictable.

Puma Shoes - Puma Skateboarding Shoes - PUMA® is the global athletic brand that successfully fuses influences from sport, lifestyle and fashion. PUMA’s unique industry perspective delivers the unexpected in sportlifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories, through technical innovation and revolutionary design. Established in Herzogenaurach, Germany in 1948, PUMA distributes products in over 80 countries.

Punkrose Shoes - Punkrose Skateboarding Shoes - Punkrose loves to make hot shoes.....always designing the best to influence their CUTE CORE audience... One can only find Punkrose in the best locations currently in London, New Zealand, Canada and all over the hottest locations in the U.S.

Quiksilver Shoes - Quiksilver Skateboarding Shoes - Part of the world-renowned fashion apparel company, Quiksilver, these styles embody everything associated with modern surfer fashion. Quiksilver has deep roots in the history of the demanding outdoor sports lifestyle. Now a truly global brand, Quiksilver remains a pioneering force in the most original of all sports: surfing. Along with the rest of their products, which range from eyewear, watches, and wetsuits, these styles deliver the unique, recognizable look of Quiksilver fashion.

Reef Shoes - Reef Skateboarding Shoes - Reef has always blended the irreverent attitude of the beach lifestyle with a commitment to fashionable, authentic, surf inspired products. Reef enthusiasts, or Reefers as we like to call them, exude a certain vibe that can only come from a solid day of surfing or slipping on a pair of well worn Reef sandals. Whether you live at the beach or are thousands of miles away from it, Reef gear always keeps you connected.

Rip Curl Shoes - Rip Curl Skateboarding Shoes - Rip Curl is a company for surfers. Across the waves of the oceans to the snow-capped mountain peaks, they are searching and striving for the best our world has to offer. With 35 years of rich and authentic surfing heritage, Rip Curl stays committed to delivering the highest quality, most technologically advanced products to action sports enthusiasts around the world. Rip Curl’s elite, international team of professional action sports athletes travel the globe with only the best products, searching for new, uncharted territories, paving the way for you to join in on the Search. The Search is a lifestyle and Rip Curl’s days are about living it. Join The Search...

Roxy Shoes - Roxy Skateboarding Shoes - Founded in 1991, Roxy is the junior girl's line of Quiksilver. Roxy is dedicated to active living and the extreme sports lifestyle. The line, which is designed by Dana Dartez is created with the young girl in mind. The Roxy girl is involved in beach sports and snow sports and demands a girly fit and functional wear. Roxy prides itself on their connection to the junior customer, progressive yet embracing all elements of life including vintage inspired, forward footwear.

Sanuk Shoes - Sanuk Skateboarding Shoes - Don't settle for ordinary! The designs of Sanuk sandals are as unique as you are. Rest assured that while you're surfing, the dedicated designers at Sanuk are constantly at work using their space age skills to bring happiness and world peace through better flip flops. This summer, hit the beach with confidence, comfort and style with the help of Sanuk footwear.

Sneaux Shoes - Sneaux Skateboarding Shoes - RETAILERS OF THE WORLD UNITE! Steve-O is introducing a new line of rebelliously casual footwear via the biggest TV advertising campaign ever to launch a new name in shoes. Sneaux shoes are designed with Steve-O in mind to withstand animal bites, rotten milk or anything you can throw at them. They are so rad you will be able to run faster and jump further in them! Some darn good shoes.

Vans Shoes - Vans Skateboarding Shoes - At the core of Vans shoes are the athletes that help develop footwear that not only defines their individual style but technologically pushes the parameters of their sports.

Z-Boy Shoes - Z-Boy Skateboarding Shoes - Z-BOY® Footwear-Go big with quality, comfort and style from Z-BOY. These are the most comfortable deck shoes in the world. Z-BOY incorporates a unique Cloud Nine ™ padded insole, roomier toe box, and sick graphics, with top of the line leather, suede and canvas constructions to give you the ultimate deck shoe. Once you have tried on a pair, you will be a true believer.

eS Shoes - eS Skateboarding Shoes - éS incorporates 4 main technical principles into its cutting edge skateboarding footwear. Because of their advances in support, cushioning, grip and durability éS has been able to lead the way and stay true to the performance side of skateboarding. This is necessary when you have arguably the best skateboarding team in the world. éS…It’s____the best part.

Dakine Handbags - In 1979, Rob Kaplan begins manufacturing the Da Kine Leash in Haiku, Maui, Hawaii. The DAKINE surf leash is designed for rigorous Hawaiian conditions and sets DAKINE's standard for innovative design and high quality. In 1980, Pro windsurfers ask Rob to help build footstraps for their new wave boards. In 1981-84, DAKINE developed the 1st adjustable footstrap, seat harness, and waist harness defining the company as the leading innovator in technical windsurfing accessories. In 1989, DAKINE first commits to the snowboard market with board accessories, board bags, and gear bags. The company would become the world leader in this market over the next 15 years. In 1996, DAKINE introduces the Heli Pack, which creates the new category of minimalist technical backcountry day packs. In 1998, DAKINE introduces the Heli Pro backpack. In a short time, the Heli Pro becomes the standard for technical daypacks and the sport's best selling (and most copied) model. In 2004, DAKINE celebrated its 25th Anniversary! DAKINE prides itself on developing products for the top professionals in every board sport. DAKINE has built a reputation for innovation and quality for over a quarter of a century!

Jansport Handbags - The story of JanSport begins in 1967 with three friends and their love for the outdoors. Jan Lewis, Murray Pletz and Skip Yowell lived in Seattle when they created their first framepack and the first panel loading daypack. Murray had just won a design contest for "The Best New Use of Aluminum" for the framepack the trio had fabricated in the transmission shop of Skip's uncle. Once climbers on Mount Rainier and other Northwest peaks saw the new pack, they wanted one for themselves. The rest is history.

OGIO Shoes - OGIO Skateboarding Shoes - Infusing OGIO’s intensely focused bag designs with the vision of today’s top athletes results in what many think are the best packs and bags on the market. Innovation, function and style are seamlessly blended with renowned durability to carry your gear and take a beating. Tested and approved by the best team of pros, you know OGIO bags will get you there and back every time.