The second edition of the history of skateboarding continues with the 1970s, but there are a few important details from the late 60s that we have to address first. 1963 saw a landmark in skateboarding: the first skateboarding competition was established. It was held in California at Hermosa Beach, skateboarding was not just the fun pastime of cruising anymore, it had become a sport.
The contest was a test of different disciplines, such as freestyle or slalom, and sponsors appeared at the scene wanting their companies to be associated with this rapidly growing cult scene.
As skateboarding was growing in popularity, the first dedicated magazine was published in 1964, The Quarterly Skateboarder. Around this time, Larry Stevenson invented the Kicktail and a whole new ball park was open for skateboarders in terms of the skills they could now display.
The only consistent thread of the 1970s, as far as skateboarding was concerned, was change. The 70s brought about radical changes in everything connected with the humble skateboard. 1972 saw the invention of urethane wheels by Frank Nasworthy, the new wheels by Cadillac Wheels used a material that made the ride faster, smoother and more comfortable.
New disciplines were added to the skateboarder’s repertoire while downhill, slalom and freestyle reached new highs. New magazines hit the streets, such as Skateboarder Magazine first published in 1975; these magazines advertised new competitions and events.
And in 1976 the world saw the very first artificially made skateboard park, complete with kickers and vertical ramps.
Another milestone happened to the industry in 1975: skateboarding hit Europe, and Germany accepted it gladly. Skateboarding was brought to Germany by the American soldiers stationed there, and in 1976 Munich became the very first skateboarding center in Europe. The first skate park was constructed in Neuperlach and a bevy of skateboarding magazines soon followed.
Then in 1978 Munich hosted the first European skateboarding championships, with newly appointed riders and their new styles and tricks. During all this change, the hardware of skateboarding was also rapidly developing, shapes became fatter, longer, more concave and now had noses and tails!
Alan Gelfand added a new technique to the skateboarder repertoire in 1978, he invented The Ollie. It is still highly respected today and considered as the greatest skateboarding trick that has ever been invented, it also revolutionized skateboarding at the time as it caused a chain reaction that formed street skateboarding.
Rodney Mullen perfected the Ollie for the streets and developed a whole new style of skateboarding designed purely for the urban areas. Skateboarding was now as popular as BMX or inline skating and its popularity was growing within a whole new skateboarding generation.
We continue our blog on the history of skateboarding with the 1980s and see the impact one particular magazine had on the skateboarding industry as a whole. It focused primarily on the street scene and made skateboarding cooler than it ever had been before. Skateboarding was coming to a new media level as it featured in videos, TV and films.