By Luis Fajardo, Staff Writer
Skateboarding started in the West Coast during the 1950s and then grew into a lifestyle that would still be impactful and important for people after 67 years since it was created because of its popularity throughout the decades.
Surfers in the early 1950s called “asphalt surfers,” wanted to experience riding waves on the streets. California and Hawaii were the first two states to develop skateboards that were short surfboards with wheels that were made out of metal. After World War II ended, the U.S. economy was in a great shape and allowed companies to grow. Toy Company Roller Derby, released the first official skateboard with improvements in 1959.
With the popularity of skateboarding increasing in the U.S. between 1959 and 1965, it changed from just being a toy into sports equipment. Surf shops started producing skateboards, magazines started advertising skateboards, and the clothing industry started supporting skateboarding with shoe companies like Vans. In 1972, urethane wheels were invented by Frank Nasworthy.
These wheels would improve and create a new way for skateboarding. Skate parks started to open during the 1970s and allowed for new ways of skateboarding. In 1978, the trick that would change skateboarding forever was invented by Alan Gelfand called the “Ollie.” Ever since the first skate contest at Hermosa Beach in 1963, skateboarding became competitive with being able to make a living as a professional skateboarder during the mid-1980s.
The X-Games and other events like it, made skateboarding popular worldwide during the mid-1990s by televising it and posting videos of these events on the internet.
Los Angeles Harbor College skateboarding students were asked about their skateboarding experiences and their thoughts on it. Kent Ishijima and Stephen Alvarado are two friends who started skateboarding since high school.
Ishijima, 19, Humanities skateboards because it’s fun for him. He was asked why he started skateboarding and said “well I got in because of Stephen my friend, it was in high school I think, we were just riding around and then we just started going to parks and stuff. “ I think I was a sophomore in high school like 15 or 16” said Ishijima about when he started skateboarding. “It’s all about having a good time” he said “It’s like a social thing too because usually you don’t really go out to skate by yourself it’s like a social thing you go out with all your group of friends.”
Alvarado, 19, Humanities said: “I started skateboarding because I had an older friend that told me, hey lets go skate, and I was like yeah sure, didn’t know how to skate I had to learn that same day” he continued “also a guy, pro skateboarder Sean Malto, I just saw it on YouTube, I came across it and I was like oh I didn’t even know you could do that on a board, that was the first skate video I saw.” Alvardo was asked when he started skateboarding and said “I started probably in 10th grade and that was with a penny board then longboarding was a thing for like a couple months and then I got bored of both of them and then I started actually skateboarding.” Alvarado said “It’s a lifestyle because the amount of time you have to put into it to like get a lot of fun out of it takes a lot of practice and don’t do it because you think it’s cool or looks cool, just do it because you have fun with it.”
Another student, Sebastian Lindner, 22, Journalism/Anthropology, rides his board to school every day. Skateboarding is just a fun activity for him. Lindner said “It’s not a lifestyle for me, I just skate to get around and cruise the neighborhood.” He was fascinated when he learned about skateboarding, “I thought it was cool that you could surf concrete. I can’t surf that well so skating helps with that” said Lindner. He was not inspired by anyone to start skateboarding, he said “I just like the feeling when I carve on concrete.”