SKATEBOARD Inventor Various 1960s

Put a couple of roller skates on a board and what do you get? Bruised knees, for one. You also get a device that allows for sidewalk surfing, if you can stay on it. Surfers used the first skateboards to ride the streets the way they rode the waves. The fad lasted until the mid-’60s. and then lost momentum.

The business got a boost in 1973 with the introduction of urethane wheels that cut down the noise and bumps that came with the original clay wheels. The California drought of 1976 and 1977,

which forced the draining of backyard pools, opened up new vistas for dare-devil skateboarders. And then a legend was born, as Alan “011ie” Gandalf figured out that you could slam a foot down on the skateboard tail while jumping and launch both you and the board airborne.

By the time ESPN broadcast its first Extreme Games in 1995, the former toy had been widely accepted as a bona fides sporting tool by mainstream audiences. Not bad for a bunch of surfers and long-haired punks.


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