From Skateboard and Longboard to Penny Board (Fall 2012)

Skateboarding is an action sport which involves riding and doing tricks by using a skateboard. However skateboarding can also be considered as transportation or a performance for recreational purpose.

Skateboarding was first started sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s. However no one really knows who started to skateboard or made the first board for the first time because all across California surfers came up with this idea of surfing on the street at the same time. Several people have claimed that they were the one who invented the skateboard but nothing has been proved in evidence so skateboarding has been remained as a mystery but as a spontaneous creation. The first skateboard was just a wooden boxes or boards with roller skate wheels attached on the bottom of the boxes or boards. Many people got hurt while they were skateboarding in early years because the skateboard’s decks were not strong enough to resist the human weight and the wheels were not smooth enough because the wheel’s quality was not as advanced as now, back in the time. The boxes evolved into planks and eventually desks were developed which is similar to the skateboard desks of today. During this time, skateboarding was just something fun to do when the surf was not high enough and was often called “sidewalk surfing”.

The first completed version of skateboards was ordered by a Los Angeles, California surf shop. Skateboards were meant to be used by surfers when the waves were flat or the weather was bad. However in 1963, skateboarding became the most popular among the skateboarding history and companies like Jack’s, Hobie and Makaha started holding skateboarding competitions. During that time, skateboarding competitions were in different form as nowadays competitions. Skateboarding was mostly either downhill slalom or freestyle. Their style of skateboarding was more like dancing ballet or ice skating with a skateboard. However the way skateboard looked was similar as how it is in nowadays.

In 1965, skate boarding’s popularity suddenly dropped. Most people assumed that skateboarding was not interesting anymore and was just a trend that people were into just for a little bit. Skateboard companies went bankrupt and people who wanted to continue skateboarding had to make their own desks from their house. However people who wanted to skate were still skateboarding, even though it was hard for them to find parts they wanted to create completed ones. The hardest parts to find were wheels because wheels did not last long. So people started to make clay wheels which were extremely dangerous and unstable. Skaters needed a new innovation that would keep them boarding safely.

In 1972, Frank Nasworthy created a skateboard wheel made out of polyurethane. This innovation created another boom in skateboard industry. The impact of this creation was immense. In 1972, people started to skate again and this time more people started to skate because the wheels were more durable and faster. Rising number of skaters caused companies to invest more in product development. Skateboards manufacturers started to come up with more durable and light materials for the skateboard parts such as fiberglass and aluminum but the skateboards decks were still made of maple plywood. As the improvement of the skateboards, the skaters started to invent their own style of tricks. In 1976 California left the swimming pool empty because of the severe drought and skateboarders started to skate the vertical walls of empty swimming pool which started the “vert” trend in skateboarding. Skating in the swimming pool was more dangerous but it created a speed and an air so it attracted many skaters who wanted to come up with fancier tricks. Because of the “vert” skating movement, skate parks had to close down the park because of the liability issue. According to the closure of the parks, vert skaters started to make their own ramps, while freestyle skaters continued to evolve their flatland style.

The 80s was the period that was fueled by skateboard companies that were run by skateboarders. Smaller skateboard companies owned by skateboarders started to be creative and do whatever they want such as new styles and shapes. The biggest focus of the skateboard companies was vert ramp skateboarding. However, most people could not afford to build vert ramps or did not have access to nearby ramps so street skating increased in popularity. People would also came up with tricks while they street skate.

The current generations of skateboards have smaller wheels and lighter desks so skaters can perform better tricks without using so much energy. Board styles have dramatically changed over the time since the 1970s but have remained mostly alike since the mid-1990s.

Longboard is an outdoor activity that you ride longboard that has wheels on it. The shape of the longboard is little bit different than the skateboard. Longboard is longer and wider and also has more stability, durability because of lower wheels. Purpose of the longboarding is for transportation, slalom which is weaving in and out a line of obstacles, free ride and downhill.

Longboarding originated in Oahu, Hawaii. Surfers used longboarding as a trainer. Surfers imitated the moves on surf board by skimming their hands across the ground, carving quickly or changing their positioning on the board. Early longboards were homemade creation by teenagers who thought the regular skateboard was too short for them. Instead of putting regular skateboard wheels they put roller-skate wheels. Longboard was not common back in the time because the cost of the board was expensive. However lately people started to use longboard as their transportation and the use of longboard has been increased. Also now there are many longboards companies that provide long boards in affordable prices such as Sector 9, Santa Cruz, Gravity and Arbor. Some companies such as Sector 9 or Arbor use bamboo instead of plywood which increases the durability of the board. Longboard used to be famous only in west coast but as people started to use them as transportation, now you can see people riding longboard everywhere in the United States. Also you can see way more female skaters than it used to be because longboards are easy to ride and they are faster so you do not have kick as much as the regular skateboard to gain speed.

The length of a board is not the only elements that make a longboard what it is. The trucks on a longboard are lower and wider for better turning ability then standard skateboard trucks, and the wheels bigger and softer to create a better condition to cruise around. There is a skateboard that has same length as standard skateboard but has different setting as longboard which is called cruiser.

A Penny Skateboard, also called as a Penny board is a combination of skateboard and longboard. The Penny board has a durability that skateboard has to do tricks but also has strong trucks and big wheels that longboard has to cruise around. The penny board was created on 2011 and created by a young entrepreneur named Ben Mackay. Ben refers Penny board as a throwback to that original board from his childhood. He worked for timber as a cabinet maker however he realized that it was not a job that he wanted to do. So he quit his job and decided to make skateboard. First couple years his business was not successful because economic was going down. When his business was starting to grow, he thought that he wanted to bring back the plastic skateboard that he used ride when he was young. Finally, he came up with the unbreakable plastic skateboard, Penny Skateboard.

Penny skateboard is a skateboard that the board is made out of plastic instead of plywood. Also the size of the penny board is way smaller than the regular size of the skateboard. Skate board is about 30 to 32 inches. However the penny board is only 22 inches. Also the deck comes in variety of color such as neon yellow, neon pink, red, blue and every once in a while the company comes up with new additional colors. Penny board is originated from Australia. Penny skateboards founder, Ben Mackay, has been inspired and influenced by skateboarding in every life since he was young. He also wanted to bring back the fun he had when he was five but also he wanted to create a skateboard that was durable. Back in the day when he was young, the deck or the parts of the skateboards would break easily because they were not durable.

Penny board became popular because of its size, stylish look and the 90s feeling of commercials. Penny board came up with more fun and peaceful image than reckless and dangerous image of skateboard. Also it attracted a lot of female riders because of its cute looking. Penny board is on sale in 35 different countries.

Evolution of skateboarding has a big relationship with the forces of history such as interaction and exchange, Arts and new ideas and Science and technology. Interaction and change is a change that occurs slowly in countries by immigration of people from other countries and nationalities. Sometimes change happens quickly through the instruction of new cultural and technological exchange from other countries through mass media and the Internet. When Frank Nasworthy came up with urethane skateboard wheels in 1972, It created an industrial boom in skate industries because people wanted to ride skateboard that has smooth wheels. Arts and new ideas applies to Ben Mackay, because he was the one who created the idea of Penny board and the inspiration behind Penny board came from the passion that he had when he was five. Last force that relates with the skateboard is Science and Technology. Without development in technology and science, skateboard in nowadays would not exist because there had to be development in technology to create better skateboard and also needed a better materials that can be durable and light at the same time.


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