Skateboarding History Time-line 1920s-2016 by Jim Goodrich
|Date||January , 2016|
Researched and compiled by Jim Goodrich. Revised January 2016
Sources and contributors: Concrete Wave Magazine, SkateBoarder Magazine, Juice magazine, Russ Howell, Dave McIntyre, Dale Smith, Dan Gesmer, Monty Little, Larry Gordon, Jim O'Mahoney, Jon O'Malley, Peter Ducommun, Skull Skates, Gordy Lienemann, Keith Hamm, Bob Feigel, Jim Fitzpatrick, Woody Woodward, Jack Smith, Mike Horelick, Mike Williams, Jonathan Harms, Larry Balma, Stacy Peralta, George Powell, Craig Snyder, Steve Cathey, Ben Marcus.
- 1 1920s
- 2 1930s
- 3 1940s
- 4 1950s
- 5 1960s
- 6 1970s
- 7 1980s
- 8 1990s
- 9 2000s
- 10 2010s
The first known skateboard type product is a three-wheeled, stamped metal device with pedal-car like wheels, and an adjustable heel cup and toe clip. Usually sold in pairs with a set of poles, it is apparently designed to mimic cross-country skiing. It has a 3" by 10" riding surface, and no steering mechanism.
Another three-wheeled device, the "Scooter Skate" is a skateboard/scooter hybrid; it can be ridden with its included handle or without. The bulbous rocket-ship style metal deck has a riding surface of 6 1/2" by 13", with steel roller-skate style wheels. There is no turning or steering mechanism.
A four-wheeled device made from aluminum, the "Skeeter Skate" is created around 1945. With a 4 3/8" by 15 3/4" riding surface, this scooter comes with a removable handle and pedal-car style wheels. This device introduces a unique innovation, the first steering axles, or "trucks," which allow riders to turn for the first time.
A crude form of skateboarding as we know it today begins to develop. Kids create their own home-made boards by nailing roller-skate assemblies to the bottom of a wooden plank. Often the plank has a milk crate nailed to it with handles attached for control. Late in the 1950s, surfers discover skateboarding and embrace the feeling of wave riding on flatland. Clay wheels are introduced to skateboarding in 1959.
The early 1960s bring the introduction of the first manufactured skateboards. The following are some of the popular mainstream skateboard designs from the 1960s: Scooter Skate (three-wheeler), Roller Derby, Skee Skate, Sokol SurfSkate, Nash Sidewalk Surfer, Sincor, and Super Surfer.
A Southern California surf shop, Val Surf, begins making its own skateboards. Owner Bill Richards makes a deal with the Chicago Roller Skate Company to produce sets of skate wheels, attaching them to squared-off wooden boards. Val Surf is the first known retail shop to sell skateboards.
Kids begin referring to skating as "sidewalk surfing." The strong connection with surfing gives skateboarding a direction that influences everything to come, from maneuvers and style to fashion and attitude.
Larry Stevenson designs and manufactures the first professional skateboards, which will later become the Makaha brand. Larry and his wife, Helen, initially work from their garage building and shipping boards. Surf legend, Mike Doyle later works with Larry in developing future board designs. The Makaha Phil Edwards (another legendary surfer) model is the first pro model skateboard ever produced. The board introduces two revolutionary components - clay wheels, and Chicago trucks (the first double-action, adjustable truck). That first skateboard is ordered through the mail for $10.95, shipping included. Makaha's early team riders are Phil Edwards, Jim Fitzpatrick, Brad "Squeak" Blank, Bruce Logan, Danny Bearer, Torger Johnson, John Freis, Brendan "Woody" Woodward, George Trafton, Danny Schaefer, Joey Saenz, and Mike Hynson. The original team captain is Dave Rochlen. Larry later publishes Surf Guide, which becomes a popular surf magazine.
The first known organized skateboard contest, sponsored by Makaha, is held at the Pier Avenue Junior High School in Hermosa, California.
Working with Bill Richards at Val Surf, surf legend Hobie Alter introduces the Hobie Super Surfer skateboard. Surf legend, Charles "Corky" Carroll III is also involved with Hobie in developing its products. Hobie Alter later teams up with the Vita Pakt juice company to create Hobie Skateboards. Hobie's early team riders are Skitch Hitchcock, Danny Bearer, "Woody" Woodward, Pat McGee, John Freis, Joey Cabell, and Davey and Stevie Hilton.
July - Makaha team member, Jim Fitzpatrick, goes on a two-month, 14-country tour to promote Makaha and introduce skateboarding to countries all over Europe and the U.K. Jim returns to Europe 25 years later as part of the Powell-Peralta Bones Brigade tour, skating all over Europe with Steve Caballero, Mike McGill, Mark Saito and Tommy Guerrro.
Larry Gordon and Floyd Smith, co-founders of Gordon & Smith Surfboards, develop a revolutionary new board manufacturing process that combines Bo-Tuff (a fiberglass-reinforced epoxy) with a maple wood core to create the Fibreflex skateboard. This is the first laminated board created for the skate market. G&S's early team riders are Harry "Skip" Frye, Willie Phillips, Mike Hynson, and Vince Turner.
The musical group Jan and Dean appear on Dick Clark's American Bandstand and sing "Sidewalk Surfing." Dean performs a few tricks and rides a board across the stage.
Skateboarding becomes widespread and very popular, and companies are struggling to keep up with demand. While most skaters take to the streets or sidewalks, some skaters begin to explore skating in backyard swimming pools.
Surfer Publications publishes The Quarterly SKATEBOARDER magazine, which releases only four issues that year. John Severson is the publisher and editor. When the magazine begins publishing again as a bi-monthly in 1975, the name is changed to SkateBoarder Magazine.
On May 22, 23 the National Skateboard Championships are held in Anaheim, California, and are shown on ABC's "Wide World of Sports."
The first skateboard organization, the National Skateboard Championships Association (NSCA) is formed in Anaheim.
San Diego skater, Patti McGee is featured on the cover of Life magazine.
The first skateboard movie, Skater Dater is released, and later wins an Academy Award for Best Movie Short.
Hobie Alter looks into using urethane for skateboard wheels but is turned down by Vita-Pakt executives because the price is too high. It will be nearly 10 years before urethane is used for skateboard wheels.
Many public officials and safety organizations begin condemning skateboarding as unsafe – urging stores not to sell skateboards, and parents not to buy them. Many cities start banning skateboarding on public streets. The skateboarding fad dies primarily due to inferior product, too much inventory, and a public upset by reckless riding.
Vans shoes get their start in the surf and skateboard scene after brothers Jim and Paul Van Doren build a shoe factory in Anaheim, later opening a chain of stores in California. Vans are popular with surfers, then become popular with skaters in the 1970s after the company introduces their Off the Wall line of shoes designed for skateboarders. Their stores even offer skaters the ability to choose from a selection of materials and colors to create their own custom shoes. For many years, Vans shoes are considered the skateboard shoe.
Summer - Surfer's World, the world's first known skatepark opens in Anaheim, California. Hobie and Vita Pakt sponsor a contest at the newly opened park.
The National Film Board of Canada releases, “The Devil's Toy,” a documentary movie about the skateboarding craze in Montreal, Quebec.
Skip Engblom, Jeff Ho and Craig Stecyk co-found Zephyr Surfboards, in Santa Monica, California.
Larry Stevenson invents and patents the kicktail. Though not accepted at first, other manufacturers eventually copy the idea. Most of the companies balk at paying a royalty to Stevenson and he eventually loses his patent rights in court. Gordon & Smith, Hobie, Suregrip, and LoganEarthski are the only companies who agree to pay a royalty on Stevenson's design.
Gren Tec, Hang Ten, and California Free Former join the mass-production skateboard market.
Frank Nasworthy creates a urethane skateboard wheel design after seeing the material being used on rollerskates by the Roller Sports Company. He begins producing the first urethane wheels made exclusively for skateboarding. He promotes these new Cadillac wheels heavily at surf and skate shops, but meets with a great deal of resistance because of the much higher cost over clay wheels. After Nasworthy sells Cadillac to Bahne, urethane wheels finally become a hit around 1973-74.
Ron Bennett builds one of the first skateboard trucks specifically designed for skateboarding. Board manufacturers spring up everywhere and the industry is booming with new products and ideas.
Kent Sherwood (Jay Adams' step-father), who owns a fiberglass shop, is approached by Jeff Ho, Skip Engblom and Craig Stecyk of Zephyr Surf Shop to create a Zephyr skateboard. The Zephyr skateboard team is formed, with Tony Alva, Jay Adams, Wentzle Ruml IV, Bob Biniak, Jim Muir, Nathan Pratt, Stacy Peralta and Shogo Kubo as the original members. Craig Stecyk is credited with giving Santa Monica the Dogtown name.
Northern California surfing buddies, Rich Novak, Doug Haut and Jay Shuirman join together to form NHS, the powerhouse behind Santa Cruz Skateboards. Jay Shuirman is later instrumental in the development of Independent Trucks in 1978, but dies in 1979 of leukemia.
Dave Dominy approaches Larry Balma to create a wider, more stable truck for use in the slalom races at La Costa in northern San Diego County. Trackers are the first truck that can handle the more aggressive skating that is developing at the time.
Gordon & Smith begins production again on its popular Fibreflex skateboard line. As skating style and terrain changes in the following years, the company offers a variety of stiffnesses and shapes in the Fibreflex line.
Skateboard magazine is published by James O'Mahoney, who also forms a team consisting of Russ Howell, Steve Monahan, Gordy Lienemann, Tom Sims, and other top skaters.
SkateBoarder magazine begins publishing again as a bi-monthly. Warren Bolster is the editor and principal photographer, and Steve Pezman is the publisher (he is later replaced by Dave Dash).
The coastal hills of La Costa in northern San Diego County become the most popular local skate spot in history. The hillside streets and sidewalks had been built in preparation for a new housing tract, but construction is delayed for years and La Costa becomes a mecca for skaters from all over southern California. Slalom and downhill skaters like Steve Sherman, Curt Kimbel, Lee Gahimer, Marty Schaub, Greg Taie, Bobby Piercy, Tommy Ryan, Henry Hester, Bob Skoldberg, Denis Shufeldt, Bobby Turner, and Mike Williams hold regular races there.
Mike Williams is the first to promote wearing safety gear at La Costa, which was mostly equipment used by the hockey industry. Bob Turner makes major innovations with his Turner SummerSki boards, which were widely used at La Costa and elsewhere. Over the next few years, many of the top freestyle and street skaters also enjoy the smooth asphalt and curbs of La Costa. Kim Cespedes, Steve Cathey, Ellen Oneal, Laura Thornhill, many of the Dogtowners, Bruce Logan, Robin Logan, Brad Logan, Jim Goodrich, Di Dootson, Curtis Hesselgrave, Brian Beardsley, Ty Page, Warren Bolster, and Curt Lindgren are among the regulars.
Fausto Vitello and Eric Swenson form Ermico Enterprises to create a skateboard truck that would turn well in the streets. Fausto's friend, John Solimine creates a complex steering system truck design, and production begins on the Stroker truck. Though the truck turns too much for street riding, it proves popular for downhill skating.
Road Rider wheels are developed by Quality Products, Inc. in Rhode Island. They are the first skateboard wheel to use precision bearings, ending decades of loose ball bearings. Road Riders are an immediate success, soon bringing an end to the very popular Cadillac wheels which are still using loose-ball bearings.
Surfer Mitch Haake, together with friend Michael McCreary, found Tunnel Products in San Mateo, California.
Mike Rector and Bob Wolfe create the first safety gear designed specifically for skaters. Prior to this, injuries are common since most skaters haven't given much thought to safety gear.
The skateboard movie “Spinnin' Wheels” is released, featuring the skating of Mike Weed, Ty Page and Skitch Hitchcock.
March - Huntington Beach City Skateboard Contest, Dyno Championships. Held in the Huntington Beach Mall and sponsored by Dyno Surfboards. Surfer, Corky Carroll is the MC.
- Men's Freestyle: 1- Russ Howell, 2- Tom Sims
- Junior Freestyle: 1- Fred Flavell, 2- Don Weaver
- 12-14 Freestyle: 1- Jay Adams, 2- Steve Monahan
May 24, 25 - Huntington Pier City Contest. Held at the HB Pier parking lot, skaters from all over southern California compete. Many new faces emerge that will go on to higher recognition.
- Men's Freestyle: 1- Russ Howell, 2- John Denny, 3- Chris Cahill
- Junior Freestyle: 1- Bob Neishi, 2- Fred Flavell, 3- Stacy Peralta
- Boys Freestyle: 1- Steve Monahan, 2- Paul Constantineau, 3- Jay Adams
- Women's Freestyle: 1- Patti Monahan, 2- Janet Larrucea
- Men's Slalom: 1- Don Andre, 2- Jim O’Mahoney
- Women's Slalom: 1- Denise Shaw, 2- Tina Trefethen
April 26, 27 - Bahne-Cadillac National Championships are held as part of the Del Mar Ocean Festival. This contest leads to the creation of the first skate celebrities, which are heavily featured in the magazines. The appearance of the Z-Boys, with their unique and aggressive style, causes a major sensation and controversy at the competition.
- Senior Men's Freestyle: 1- Russ Howell, 2- Skitch Hitchcock, 3- Bob Mohr, 4- Bruce Logan
- Senior Men’s Slalom: 1- Chris Yandall, 2- Dan Trailer, 3- Woody Woodward, 4- Larry Crow
- Junior Men's Freestyle: 1- Steven Picciolo, 2- Ty Page, 3- Jay Adams, 4- Tony Alva
- Junior Men's Slalom: 1- Paul Engh, 2- Dennis Harvey, 3- Steve Shull, 4- Nathan Pratt
- Women's Freestyle: 1- Peggy Oki, 2- Robin Logan, 3- Michele Brunot
- Women's Slalom: 1- Michele Brunot, 2- Loretta Rogwold
July 3 - Long Beach Arena City Championships
- Men's Freestyle: 1- Russ Howell, 2- Torger Johnson, 3- Tom Sims, 4- Bob Jarvis
- Men's Slalom: 1- Don Andre, 2- Jim O’Mahoney, 3- Bruce Logan
- Women's Freestyle: 1- Desiree Von Essen, 2- Robin Alaway, 3- Mary Zorkie
- Women's Slalom: 1- Andrea Malczewski, 2- Desiree Von Essen, 3- Tracy Green
Northern California Pro-Am Skateboard Championships, Cow Palace, San Francisco. Broadcast on “Ara's Sports World.” (a syndicated TV show hosted by former University of Notre Dame football coach Ara Parseghian). Filmmaker Jon Malvino and John O’Malley are co-directors.
Summer - Southern California State Championships, Orange County Fairgrounds.
- Men's Freestyle: 1-Russ Howell, 2-Bob Mohr, 3-Tom Sims
- Men's 14-17 Freestyle: 1- Kelly Mahon, 2- Ty Page, 3- Stacy Peralta
- Women's 17 and Over Freestyle: 1- Andrea Malczewski, 2- Debi Eldredge, 3- Desiree Von Essen
USSA President Jim O' Mahoney receives a call from a producer of the TV show “The Guinness Book of World Records” looking for a skateboarding event to televise. O’Mahoney comes up with three events: a high jump, a barrel jump, and a downhill race at Hill Street in Signal Hill, California which became the annual Signal Hill Skateboard Speed Run. Most experts say that the event was the first true, sanctioned downhill skateboard race.
The first year at Signal Hill, there were about a half dozen entrants, but only two actually tried to skate the hill: Garrison Hitchcock and Guy Grundy. Hitchcock fell and dislocated his shoulder. Grundy completed his run without incident, clocking 50.2 miles per hour, which netted him a trophy and entry into the Guinness Book of World Records.
Ventura Pro contest.
Tom Sims, working from his father's woodworking shop, begins manufacturing the first Sims skateboards. The first team riders are Lonnie Toft, George Orton, "Woody" Woodward, and Laura Thornhill.
September 7 – Jack Murphy Stadium (now Qualcomm Stadium) World Invitational contest.
September 20, 21 – Hang Ten World Pro-Am Skateboard Championships at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. (Tom Sims and a friend “streak” down the slalom ramp)
- Men's Freestyle: 1- Bruce Logan, 2- Tom Sims, 3- Stacy Peralta
- Men's Slalom: 1- Henry Hester, 2- Tom Sims, 3- Danny Trailer
Surfer and slalom skater, Mike Williams, looking for a new truck design to use in the La Costa slalom races, approaches San Diego aerospace tooling company, HPG IV. Mike works with owners Bill Brawner and Walt Tiedge to design the Gull Wing truck from the newly formed company, Gull Wing Products.
The Zephyr team begins breaking up - Kent Sherwood leaves Zephyr and starts making his own boards (Z-Flex), taking Jay Adams, Tony Alva and Jim Muir with him. Tony Alva, Jay Adams and Bob Biniak later switch to Logan EarthSki, and Stacy Peralta starts skating for Gordon & Smith. Shogo Kubo is the only skater who stays with Z-Flex up until the company folds. Skip Engblom later starts Santa Monica Airlines.
Wes Humpston and Jim Muir trademark the Dogtown name and start Dogtown Skates. Wes begins creating the first real graphics for skateboard decks.
Noted promoter Don E. Branker promotes the World Skateboarding Championships at a series of rock concerts with the Beach Boys, Jethro Tull, Peter Frampton, Santana and Rick Derringer.
January – Albany Skate Track skatepark is built in Albany, Australia, and is one of the first skateparks.
Early March – Skatboard City (sic) skatepark opens in Port Orange, Florida. The builder is Joe Quinn. In mid-March, Carlsbad Skatepark, designed and built by Jack Graham and John O'Malley, opens in Carlsbad, California. Graham and O'Malley also consult on and design a dozen skatepark projects, including Concrete Wave in Anaheim and Shady Acres in Long Beach. They publish a skatepark builder’s guide, "Skatepark Development." This is the beginning of the construction of skateparks all over Southern California, the United States, and eventually worldwide.
Newly formed company, Gull Wing Products releases the Gull Wing truck, a revolutionary split-axle truck design that allows adjustment of both the tension and radius.
"Wee" Willie Winkels, an avid Canadian skater and skier, begins making his own boards at his father's door manufacturing company because skateboards are so expensive to buy from the U.S. He creates one of the first maple laminate decks, and forms a skate team to promote it. His new board design soon comes to Tom Sims' attention, and Sims switches to having their boards manufactured by Winkels. Soon, many other board companies begin having their boards made in Canada. Winkels is also a pioneer in developing modular, mobile half-pipes.
Challenge of the Sexes appears on the CBS TV network, with Robin Allaway and Chris Chaput.
Spring/Summer - Two brothers in Saskatchewan, Canada, Rick and Peter Ducommun, found Great North Country Skateboards. In 1978 they change the name to Skull Skates. In the early 80s they move operations to Vancouver, B.C. Skull Skates is one of the few Canadian skateboard companies to gain widespread popularity worldwide. Over the years, top skaters Christian Hosoi, Duane Peters, Steve Olson and Dave Hackett become connected with the company.
May 22, 23, 1976 – Northern California Skateboard Championships – Cow Palace, San Francisco
- Men's Freestyle: 1- Ed Nadalin, 2- Curt Lindgren, 3- Roy Jamieson, 4- Steve Cathey
- Women's Freestyle: 1- Ellen Berryman, 2- Robin Logan, 3- Kathie Bomeister
- Men's Slalom: 1- Paul Engh, 2- Henry Hester, 3- Bob Skoldberg, 4- Tony Alva
- Women's Slalom: 1- Laura Thornhill, 2- Susan DeLora, 3- Dodie Hackenmack
- High Jump: Woody Woodward (4 feet, 1 inch)
- 360s: Bob Jarvis (11)
The skateboard movie “Freewheelin'” is released, produced by Scott Dittrich, and stars Stacy Peralta, Camille Darrin., Russ Howell, Kenny Means, Tom Sims and Mike Weed.
June 19, 20 – New York Nassau Coliseum Invitational World Contest. The contest uses an applause meter to determine the winners.
- Results: 3-way tie for 1st place in Men’s Pro Freestyle - Russ Howell, Steve Cathey, Gary Kocot.
June 27 - Second Annual Signal Hill Speed Run. The $1000 first prize is claimed by Sam Puccio, Jr. who clocks 54 miles an hour while riding on his back.
Jack Smith and two of his friends skateboard across the United States, completing the trip in 32 days. Smith completes the trip again in 26 days in 1984 with Bob Denike, Paul Dunn and Gary Fluitt.
Tunnel comes out with the Tunnel Rock wheel, which due to its hardness quickly proves itself to be a premiere pool riding wheel. Tunnel's team consists of many top riders of the time.
California Free Former World Professional Skateboard Championships are held at the Long Beach Arena, California.
- Men’s Freestyle: 1- Chris Chaput, 2- Ed Nadalin, 3- Mike Weed, 4- Gary Kocot, 5- Russ Howell
- Men’s Slalom: 1- Henry Hester, 2- Bob Piercy, 3- Mike Williams
- Women’s Freestyle: 1- Ellen Berryman, 2- Laura Thornhill, 3- Ellen Oneal
- Women’s Slalom: 1- Desiree Von Essen, 2- T. Brown, 3- Robin Logan
- Consecutive 360’s: 1- Bob Jarvis, 2- Chris Chaput, 3- Gary Kocot, 4- Steve Shipp, 5- Ed Nadalin
September 11 - The first major skateboard contest in Canada is held in Vancouver's Stanley Park with Canada's National TV news program “W5” covering the event.
September - 2nd Annual Hang Ten Pro Skateboard Championships, held at Carlsbad skatepark. It is broadcast by ABC's Wide World of Sports.
Yo Yo wheels, the first radius-ed wheels are released by Gordon & Smith. Steve Cathey, a G&S team rider, noticing that his Road Rider wheels rode better after the edges wore down, approached Dave McIntyre (G&S sales and team manager) about making radius-ed wheels.
November - George Powell teams up with Tom Sims to produce the Quicksilver ProSlalom deck, constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum skins around a maple core. Shortly afterwards the company produces the Quicktail to appeal to the growing freestyle/vertical market. Powell also introduces Bones, the first double-radial wheel.
The skateboard movie “That Magic Feeling” is released by Jon Malvino. Shot in and around San Francisco and Marin County, it features Kim Cespedes and Nick van Krydt.
From the summer of 1976 through 1978 many new skateparks begin construction around the United States, especially in southern California. Some of the most popular parks in the Los Angeles area are Concrete Wave, Skatopia, Pipeline, Lakewood, Reseda, Oxnard, Big O, and Whittier. The main San Diego skateparks are Carlsbad, Del Mar, Oasis, Movin' On (Home Avenue), Vista, La Mesa and El Cajon. The main skateparks in the San Francisco Bay Area are Winchester, Newark, Campbell and Milpitas. Some of the best parks across the rest of the country are Cherry Hill (New Jersey), Sensation Basin (Gainesville, Florida), Rainbow Wave (Tampa, Florida), Solid Surf (Fort Lauderdale, Florida), Clearwater (Florida) and Kona (Jacksonville, Florida). Wally Hollyday, and Jack Graham and John O'Malley are the main skatepark designers and builders at the time.
February – Hang Ten Championships held at Carlsbad skatepark, California.
March 20 – Third Annual Signal Hill Speed Run. 4,000 spectators attend. This event is considered to be the birth of “skate cars,” enclosed skateboards with lean steering and a variety of braking systems, including parachutes and friction. Dave Dillberg and Henry Hester both go 57 miles per hour in their skatecars and split the $1,000 prize, although Dillberg takes home the winner’s trophy with a faster alternate run. Michael Goldman is the fastest stand-up skateboarder at 50 mph. Leslie Jo Ritzma places first in the women's division at 51 mph.
Wide World of Skateboarding magazine begins publishing and is soon joined by Skateboard World magazine.
April 21 – The Canadian Pro-Am Skateboard Association is formed by Monty Little, who serves as its president for several years. Although the association's name changes twice over the years, CASA is still recognized as the oldest active governing body of skateboarding in Canada.
May – Skatopia skatepark opens in Buena Park, California
Gordon & Smith begins manufacturing the Warptail, a new series of boards made from solid wood.
Brad Dorfman gets his start in skateboarding helping his sister distribute Mad Rats (a popular skate short). With the success of Mad Rats, Brad begins manufacturing other skate products, leading him to later create what will become Vision, one of the largest skateboard companies in history.
Pepsi and 360 Sportswear form a professional skateboard team to sponsor a variety of safety clinics and demos performed mostly at local schools. The first team riders are Stacy Peralta, Russ Howell, Jerry Valdez, Laurie McDonald, Gregg Ayres, Allen Scott, Gordy Lienemann, Lonnie Toft, Waldo Autry, Paul Hoffman, Marc Scott, Brent Lavett, Rod Saunders, Sylvia Scott and George Orton. Rene Carrasco, Ritchie Carrasco, David Carrasco, Steve Rocco, Tony Jetton, Wink Roberts, David Hackett, and Cheri O'Berg later join the team.
Skateboarders attend the International Trade Show in Munich for the first time. The result is an increase of skateboarding's appeal worldwide.
Russ Howell and Stacy Peralta do a six-month skate tour of Australia to promote and organize provincial skateboard contests for the clothing company, Golden Breed. Russ and Stacy tour all over Australia organizing contests which later end in the Australian National Event.
Peter Camann organizes the Another Roadside Attraction Pro Race Series, a pro and amateur skateboard race series held in several Colorado mountain communities. The events are downhill, giant slalom and dual slalom. The series is a huge success in the summers of 1977 and 1978.
August 25 – Canada’s first concrete skateboard park opens in West Vancouver, B.C. Two weeks later Skateboard Palace, Canada’s first indoor concrete skateboard park opens.
September 4, 5 – California Free Former World Professional Skateboard Championships are held at the Long Beach Arena in California.
- Men's Freestyle: 1- Bob Mohr, 2- Mike Weed, 3- Ty Page, 4- Ed Nadalin
- Men's Slalom: 1- John Hutson, 2- Bobby Piercy, 3- Greg Taie, 4- Randy Smith
- Women's Freestyle: 1- Ellen Berryman, 2- Ellen Oneal, 3- Laura Thornhill
- Women's Slalom: 1- Terry Brown, 2- Kim Cespedes, 3- Desiree Von Essen
- Consecutive 360's: 1- Russ Howell, 2- Paul Hoffman, 3- Ed Nadalin, 4- Steve Shipp
- High Jump: 1- Bryan Beardsley, 2- Jerry Pattison, 3- Brent McCullogh
- Barrel Jump: 1- Tony Alva (17 barrels), 2- Paul Hoffman, 3- Ed Nadalin, 4- Steve Shipp
October 15, 16 – The Catalina Classic contest, sponsored by Santa Cruz, is held on Santa Catalina Island, off the coast of southern California.
- Men's Downhill: 1- John Hutson, 2- Jamie Hart, 3- Bob Skoldberg, 4- Cliff Coleman, 5- Tony Alva
- Men's Dual Slalom: 1- Bobby Piercy, 2- John Hutson, 3- Randy Smith, 4- Henry Hester, 5- Mike Williams
- Women's Dual Slalom: 1- Deanna Calkins, 2- Terry Brown, 3- Kim Cespedes, 4- Ellen Berryman
Vertical, slalom, downhill and freestyle skating are all progressing at an incredible rate and are included in the increasing number of contests.
The average size of skateboards changes from 7 to 8 inches in width to more than 9 to 10 inches.
March – The 1st Annual SkateBoarder Magazine Poll Banquet is held at the Balboa Pavilion in Newport Beach, California. Industry awards are given for accomplishment and popularity. In the men's category, Tony Alva wins first place, followed by Tom Inouye, Jay Adams, Stacy Peralta, Gregg Weaver, Ty Page, Bob Biniak, Waldo Autry, Bobby Piercy, Russ Howell, Shogo Kubo, Henry Hester, Paul Hackett, Bruce Logan, Steve Cathey, Mike Weed, David Hackett, Gregg Ayres, Darren Ho, and Tom Sims. In the women's category, Laura Thornhill wins first place, followed by Ellen Oneal, Kim Cespedes, Jana Payne, Robin Logan, Ellen Berryman, Desiree Von Essen, Robin Alaway, Michelle Matta, and Edie Robertson.
March – The USSA & Don E. Branker puts on the Cal Jam II, a rock concert and skateboard demo for an estimated 400,000 people. The California Free Former team performs for the largest skate demo ever.
From 1978 until 1989, skateboarding was illegal in Norway, which involved a total ban on skateboard imports, ownership, or use.
March 11, 12 – The Hester-ISA Skateboard Pro Bowl Series #1 is held at Skateboard Heaven skatepark in Spring Valley, California. It is the first organized professional skateboard contest series, and the first held in a vertical pool. Henry Hester is responsible for putting the series together.
- Results: 1- Steve Alba, 2- Mike Weed, 3- Steve Olson, 4- Scott Dunlap, 5- Gregg Ayres, 6- Doug Saladino, 7- Doug Marker, 8- Steve Cathey, 9- Harvey Hawks, 10- Dennis Martinez.
April 15-17 – The #2 contest of the Hester-ISA series is held at Pipeline skatepark in Upland, California.
May 27 – The #3 contest of the Hester-ISA series is held at Ride-On skatepark in Newark, California.
June 11 – The fourth, and final Signal Hill Speed Run. With his revolutionary “arms back” position, John Hutson wins the stand-up division with a speed of 53.45 mph. Roger Williams wins the skatecar class with a speed of 59.92 mph. Tina Trefethen wins in the women's division with the fastest speed at 57.69 mph in a skatecar. Unfortunately, she crashes after the finish line and suffers severe injuries. Crashes and injuries like Trefethen's helped lead to the demise of the popular but dangerous event.
June 24-25 – The 2nd Annual Oceanside Pro Freestyle contest is held at the Oceanside, California pier. The event is sponsored by G&S, ACS and the I.S.A., with a prize purse of $10,000.
- Men's division: 1- Doug Saladino; 2- Matt Barden; 3- Steve Cathey; 4- Steve Day; 5- Dan Ewell
- Women's division: 1- Ellen Berryman; 2- Robin Logan; 3- Julie Cheng; 4- Ellen Oneal; 5- Cathy Bowmeister
- 360 event: 1- Richie Carrasco (47); 2- Dan Ewell (40); 3- Chris Larson (35)
July 15 – The #4 contest of the Hester-ISA series is held at Big O skatepark in Orange, California. The highest air contest is added at this contest. The 1978 Hester-ISA overall series winners are as follows:
- Men's division: 1- Steve Olson, 2- Steve Alba, 3- Rick Blackhart, 4- (tie) Scott Dunlap & Bobby Valdez, 5- Howard *Hood, 6- Mike Weed, 7- Brad Bowman, 8- Curt Kimbel, 9- Tay Hunt, 10- Kirk Talbot.
- Women's division: 1- Leilani Kiyabu, 2- Teri Lawrence, 3- Kim Cespedes.
July – The Derby Downs Skatecar event, sponsored by Freeformer/Professional Skateboard Products, is held in Akron, Ohio. The 4-day event is broadcast on TV by CBS Sports Spectacular, and also includes mens and womens slalom racing, freestyle, and a ramp competition.
Alan Gelfand is credited with inventing the "ollie pop," which is the first known no-hands air on vertical. However, there is some debate on who actually created the maneuver, since most tricks tend to be discovered by a number of people in different places at around the same time. The same debate goes on with the front side air. Among the first to do airs on vertical is George Orton and Tony Alva, but several others are known to have done them at around the same time.
Concert/skateboard demo series in Anaheim, California with the Beach Boys, Peter Frampton, Santana, Boston, Black Sabbath, Sammy Hagar and Van Halen
Skateboard Mania show premiers at the L.A. Forum in Los Angeles, California. The stage show features Tony Jetton, Vicki Vickers, Leilani Kiyabu, Kerry Cooper, Laurie McDonald and Paul Hoffman, among many others. The “hero” skaters’ battle against the "Evil Emperor," played by Dan White, with everyone dressed in glitter costumes for the event.
The theatrical movie “Skateboard” is released, starring then-teen heartthrob Leif Garrett and skaters Tony Alva and Ellen Oneal. Skaters Richard Van der Wyk and Steve Monahan play supporting roles, and dozens of other top skaters of the day play various bit parts.
Brian Gillogly becomes editor of SkateBoarder, replacing Warren Bolster, who stays on as “Field Editor” until 1980.
Fausto Vitello of Ermico Enterprises, with input from Jay Shuirman, Rick Blackhart and Kevin Thatcher, creates Independent trucks, which combines the best design features of both Tracker and Bennett trucks. They take the skateboard world by storm with their quick-turning radius, and gain a 50% market share within six months.
Stacy Peralta leaves G&S to start a partnership with George Powell, forming Powell-Peralta. Stacy starts as team manager, and works in promotions and advertising. Powell-Peralta's first board is the very popular Beamer, a wood laminate with one or two aerospace strips (beams) for reinforcement. Stacy is responsible for creating one of the all-time most successful and popular skate teams, the Bones Brigade. Ray "Bones" Rodriguez, Steve Caballero, Alan Gelfand and Mike McGill are the original members. Tony Hawk, Lance Mountain, Tommy Guerrero and Rodney Mullen later join the team. Vernon "Court" Johnson, a.k.a. VCJ, is the creative genius responsible for nearly every company graphic ever created.
Spiraling insurance rates and declining skatepark attendance begins forcing all but a few skateparks out of business. The punk movement infiltrates the skate scene and alienates many skaters and commercial sponsors. Throughout 1979 skateboarding interest declines, and is all but commercially dead by the end of the year. The majority of skaters move on to other things.
Summer - 2nd Annual Skateboarder Magazine Poll Banquet. The winners are: 1- Steve Olson, 2- Tony Alva, 3- Steve Alba, 4- Doug Saladino, 5- Bobby Valdez, 6- Shogo Kubo, 7- Rick Blackhart, 8- Chris Strople, 9- Jay Adams, 10- Tom Inouye.
Vision begins manufacturing skateboards.
Skateboarder Magazine changes its name to SkateBoarder's Action Now, and eventually to just Action Now, and begins to focus on a variety of action sports in order to widen their magazine's appeal in the dying skateboard market.
In the early 80s, Vision produces the very successful and popular Mark "Gator" Rogowski model, followed by the Mark Gonzales model. Their popularity launches Vision into the mainstream.
May - Former SkateBoarder magazine photographer, Jim Goodrich, takes over as general manager and team coach at the struggling Gull Wing Products. Gull Wing makes a comeback as one of the top three truck companies through heavy marketing, truck design improvements, and rebuilding their team with top riders like Neil Blender, Billy Ruff, Chris Miller, Mark "Gator" Rogowski, Dave Andrecht, and Jeff Phillips.
Skating goes mostly underground. Street skating, and kids building their own wooden ramps, keep skating going at the core level. The large skateboard companies suffer huge losses.
Vision signs a licensing agreement with Sims and begins producing and marketing the Sims boards. Vision eventually produces an entire clothing line called Vision Street Wear, which becomes very popular worldwide. Vision later creates Vision shoes, which spurs growth in many new shoe companies creating shoes specifically for skaters.
Warren Bolster leaves SkateBoarder magazine as field editor.
January - Fausto Vitello creates the skater-only magazine, Thrasher, with Kevin Thatcher as the editor.
Action Now magazine ceases publication after their February 1982 issue.
May - In an attempt to portray a more positive side to skateboarding, Larry Balma (co-founder of Tracker Trucks) and Peggy Cozens begin publishing Trans-World Skateboarding magazine.
Torger Johnson dies in a car accident.
Bob Mohr commits suicide.
Vertical riding takes off, followed closely by streetstyle skating. Launch ramps become popular.
Powell-Peralta creates the first Bones Brigade skate video thanks to the creative talents of C.R. Stecyk and Stacy Peralta. The “Bones Brigade Video Show” features all the team skaters and helps to propel skateboarding to new levels of popularity.
Dozens of new manufacturers spring up in the industry. Numerous vertical champions emerge, including Tony Hawk, Christian Hosoi, Lance Mountain and Neil Blender. Skaters like Mark Gonzales, Natas Kaupas and Tommy Guerrero take street skating to new heights, and Rodney Mullen dominates the freestyle competition.
In the mid to late 1980's, Powell-Peralta, Vision/Sims, Santa Cruz, Tracker and Independent are the major companies in the industry. Board royalties and contest winnings escalate and some pro skaters earn as much as $10,000 a month. The National Skateboard Association, headed up by Frank Hawk (Tony's father), holds numerous contests across North America and eventually throughout the world. Skateboard shoes from Airwalk, Vans and Vision become enormously popular, along with skate clothing.
August 18 - 27 - TransWorld Skateboard Championships are held at the Expo86 in Vancouver, Canada. Organized by Monty Little and the Canadian Amateur Skateboard Association, it is the first truly international skateboarding event, bringing pro and amateur skaters from 16 countries together to compete in various events. The entire event is covered by an international film crew, which later releases the video, “Radical Moves.”
Many new and existing shoe companies begin marketing directly to the skateboard industry. In the coming years, Airwalk, Etnies, Simple and DC are among the first companies to enter the skate market. Converse, which once had been a popular skate shoe in the 1960s, begins going after the skate market, sponsoring Rodney Mullen and Christian Hosoi.
The cycle peaks this year after skateboarding has directly influenced international culture, ranging from hard-edged punk style music to the baggy, earth-tone clothes and retro tennis shoes. The current cycle of skateboarding is fueled by many items, including new companies, more varied and difficult terrain, a new, more hard-core attitude. Skateboard tricks become very technical and more difficult.
A number of top skaters and former pros leave their sponsors and start their own skateboard companies. One example is Steve Rocco of World Industries. The new skater-owned companies increase competition and shake up the established industry.
Jim Fitzpatrick joins Stacy Peralta in the growing promotion and marketing departments at Powell-Peralta, and Todd Hastings becomes the primary team manager of the Bones Brigade team.
The skateboard movie “Gleaming the Cube” is released. It stars Christian Slater and features the skating of Tony Hawk, Mark Rogowski, Mike McGill and Rodney Mullen. Stacy Peralta is the second-unit director.
The skate industry is deeply affected by a world-wide recession. Skaters rediscover their roots in street skating, and the skate companies begin re-evaluating themselves. As in the past, a hardcore group remains with the sport, but this time the attrition is not as great as it was in the past.
Skateboard deck sizes begin to decline from 9" to 10” to an average of 7" to 8" in width. “Popsicle stick” board shapes gain popularity.
Stacy Peralta leaves Powell-Peralta, and the Powell Corporation struggles to reinvent itself in a changing market.
Jim Fitzpatrick becomes Executive Director and founder of International Association of Skateboard Companies.
December 25 – Jeff Phillips dies from a self-inflicted gun shot wound.
Skateboarding re-emerges from its slump. The sport gains a great deal of exposure at the “Extreme Games” in Rhode Island. This event, produced and broadcast by cable television network ESPN, serves to bring skateboarding more into the mainstream.
Skateboard shoe manufacturers like Etnies (owned by top freestyle skaters Pierre Andre and Don Brown) and Vans begin selling huge quantities of product and are joined by other soft-goods manufacturers eager to cash in on skateboarding's growing popularity.
Mainstream shoe companies Adidas, and later Nike begin marketing made-for-skating shoes.
Frank Hawk dies of a heart attack.
The Extreme Games, now known as the X Games, are again held in Rhode Island, once more exposing the sport to millions of people.
IASC director, Jim Fitzpatrick travels to Sacramento several times to educate and lobby legislators to pass new liability laws to provide municipalities the opportunity to build public skateparks.
There are fewer than 10 public skateparks remaining in the United States. By 2004, there are more than 2000 skateparks.
Skateboarding is included in the 1997 Winter X Games in the form of a crossover event that also included in-line skating, bicycle stunt and snowboarding.
April 29 – Conrad Miyoshi dies of cancer.
One of the biggest trends at work is among soft goods. In the past, clothing fashions have consistently reflected the changes influenced by those who skate. Footwear is currently getting all the attention. According to the 1998 TransWorld Skateboarding Business Summer Retailer Survey, shoes represents 26.5 % of the market share, followed by decks (26%), apparel (16%), trucks (11.5%), wheels (11%), and accessories (9%).
Interest in old-school products and skaters begins. Many old school skaters re-surface again after years away from the limelight. Thanks to eBay, collectors can now easily find, sell and buy old skateboards and other skate-related memorabilia.
Towards the end of the 1990's, skateboarding's focus remains street-oriented style and the industry is filled with numerous manufacturers and marketers. Many pro skaters continue developing their own products and manage their own companies. Longboarding, a forgotten art, begins to make a comeback. Skateparks are being built once again in California, partially due to a change in legislation. Jim Fitzpatrick and the IASC ensure that other states follow California, and more parks are scheduled for construction over the next few years.
Tony Hawk invents and executes the 900 to a stunned crowd at the X-Games.
May 9 – Tim Brach dies.
The impact of media coverage on skateboarding has moved it from an underground sport to a more mainstream spectator sport over the last four years. It brings an influx of companies and their advertising dollars.
Skateboarders are now present in ad campaigns for products from soft drinks to potato chips, candy to phone companies. The primary focus of the sport remains in street skating, as can be seen throughout both the editorial and advertising pages of the major skateboard magazines. Vertical skating makes a comeback, due in part to the large number of new skateparks being built. These skateparks give a boost to the skating community in many towns.
The documentary film “Dogtown and Z-Boys” is released to rave reviews. Directed by Stacy Peralta (an original Z-Boy) and written by Peralta and Craig Stecyk, this story of Dogtown's history launches a new interest in Dogtown and skateboarding's history.
Paul Hackett dies of cancer while serving time at Patton Mental Hospital for killing his mother in the mid-80s.
Monty Little receives a lifetime achievement award for his hard work and dedication to the advancement of skateboarding in Canada.
Jim Fitzpatrick becomes the Executive Director of the United Professional Skateboarders Association.
March 23 – Bobby Turner dies.
The two main skateboard organizations are the IASC and World Cup Skateboarding, which is the leading competition organization. Skateboarding is beginning to earn respect as professional athletes are receiving greater amounts of purse money from contests.
Jim Fitzpatrick is named to the board of directors of USA Skateboarding, with Tony Hawk and Don Bostick as vice-presidents. Recognized as skateboarding's national governing body, the organization works with the United States Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee in preparation for skateboarding to be included in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
George Powell and Stacy Peralta get back together again to produce their once very successful Powell-Peralta product line.
A new skateboard movie “Lords of Dogtown” is released. The film's producers consult many of the original Dogtowners to make the movie as true to life as possible. The screenwriter is Stacy Peralta, an original Z-Boy. The film is produced by Indelible Pictures and Columbia TriStar, and distributed through Sony Pictures.
March 21 – Dennis “Polar Bear” Agnew dies.
September – Craig Fineman, surf and skateboard photographer dies.
January – Gary Medeiros, former skateboard photographer, dies.
January – Hal Jepsen, legendary surf and skate filmmaker, dies.
April 22 – Fausto Vitello, founder of Independent Trucks and co-founder of Thrasher magazine, dies of a heart attack.
September – Warren Bolster, former SkateBoarder magazine editor and photographer, dies from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Ray Underhill dies of brain cancer.
October 27 – Steve Picciolo dies.
July 23 – “Baby” Paul Cullen dies.
September 27 – Danny Bearer, an original Hobie team skater in the 1960s, dies of a heart attack at age 59.
May – Bob Biniak, one of the original Zephyr team riders, dies of a heart attack.
January 25 – Bob Staton (WFSA) dies.
June 20 – Eric Swenson, one of the founders of Thrasher magazine and Independent trucks dies from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
June 24 – Chris Cahill, one of the original Zephyr team skater and surfer, dies after a long struggle with cancer.
December 12 – Tom Fain dies.
February 2 – Jeff Ruiz, former Hobie skateboard photographer and creative director, and former SkateBoarder magazine contributing photographer, dies.
March 25 – Larry Stevenson, founder of Makaha Skateboards and inventor of the kicktail, dies after a long fight with Parkinson’s.
September 12 – Toms Sims, skateboard and snowboard pioneer dies of cardiac arrest.
January 24 – Don “Waldo” Autry dies.
March 25 – Curtis Hesselgrave dies after a 2-year battle with pancreatic cancer.
November 13 – Gregg Carroll, an original Makaha team rider dies of throat cancer.
February 2 – Steve Schneer commits suicide.
March 29 – Hobie Alter dies of cancer.
April 20 – Chris Yandall dies of complications from high blood pressure and kidney failure.
June 24 – Shogo Kubo, original Zephyr team rider dies of a heart attack while paddle boarding in Hawaii.
August 15 – Jay Adams, original Zephyr team rider dies of a heart attack while vacationing in Mexico.
September 9 – Mike Weed dies after a long battle with leukemia.
February 6 – Founder and owner of ACS, Chuck Stephens dies.
October 13 – Jerry Hurtado dies from liver cancer.
January 1 – Larry Gordon, co-founder with Floyd Smith of Gordon & Smith surfboards and skateboards, dies after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.