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How Skateboarding Became So Popular

Aug 17, 2007
The 70's are the fateful era that brought about one of the most popular sports that is sweeping the whole world, knocking it off its feet and sending it through the air (literally).

It was first introduced by surfers who would want to bring their love for hanging ten and shooting the tube back to dry land. Skateboarding was born out of the passion of some dedicated surfers for the sport. The first prototypes of the skateboard closely resemble that of its granddaddy.

A shorter version of a surfboard with wheels on an axle. Street surfing or skateboarding started its humble roots from riding up and down the street. With the contributions of guys like Alan Gelfand, Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva, Jay Adams, The Z-boys, Bones brigade, Steve Caballero, Rodney Mullen, Mike V, Tony Hawk and other skaters who in their own way made skate boarding one of the biggest subcultures in the world.

Skateboarding owes its popularity to the needs of some to be different. The culture of skateboarding is mostly about non-conformance, rebellion, no nonsense and the need for something more than the ordinary.

It was quite a hit for teens and other kids who found themselves misunderstood and ostracized because they won't just say yes to everything.

In the early days of skateboarding there were only two requirements to be called a skater, one you needed to be fast and two you have to be brave. One of the earliest facets of riding a skateboard was bombing a hill. From a top an inclined street a skater would push forward with full force weaving through the incoming traffic.

Just like the game of "chicken" where the loser is the first one to deviate from the direct path. Bombing a hill means being brave enough to take a car head on and then dodging it a the last second. Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva, Jay Adams and the rest of the Zephyr skateboarding team or the Z-boys, were the forerunners of street skating.

Fancy moves and tricks on a surfboard infused with the mobility and large availability of hills in the West Coast made it possible for them to go on their hill bombing days. An exhilarating experience but a dangerous one.

Another special if not most colorful era of skateboarding is the free style era. Rodney Mullen, considered to be the god of freestyle skateboarding, gave freestyle it's colorful and enchanting character.

When Alan Gelfand landed the first ever ollie in the world, Mullen was watching from high above his Olympus and is watching Gelfand trying to think of better ways of making the board fly. The kickflip, heelflip, hardflip, finger flip, pop shove-it, underflip, pressureflip, 360 flip, varial and other modern skateboarding tricks can be credited to the discovery of Mullen's "Magic flip" the first real ollie kickflip.

In modern times, skaters are more inclined to perfecting a sequence of different tricks or a combo. Combos are two to three tricks performed in one fluid motion. One of the most common combos is the kickflip to 50-50 on a rail to kickflip out.

Combos are usually done to add difficulty to a sequence. Because of the increasing need for difficulty and variation, skaters have introduced the use of a contraption called the ramp. A ramp or a skate ramp is used to have more height and to ollie across a farther gap. An aide to achieve greater difficulty.

Ramps vary in design, the launch pad, pyramid contraption, funbox, grind box, gator pit, quarter-pipe, half-pipe and the big ramp. Each has a different function and each can make a run or a sequence more interesting and more exciting.
About the Author
Desperate to learn the best skateboarding tricks and techniques? Matthew, the author of this article runs a site dedicated to a skaters best friend, the humble skate ramp .
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