Skateboarding is an action sport originating in the United States that involves riding and performing tricks using a skateboard, as well as a recreational activity, an art form, an entertainment industry job, and a method of transportation. Skateboarding has been shaped and influenced by many skateboarders throughout the years. A 2009 report found that the skateboarding market is worth an estimated $4.8 billion in annual revenue, with 11.08 million active skateboarders in the world. In 2016, it was announced that skateboarding would be represented at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, for both male and female teams.
Since the 1970s, skateparks have been constructed specifically for use by skateboarders, freestyle BMXers, aggressive skaters, and more recently, scooters. However, skateboarding has become controversial in areas in which the activity, although illegal, has damaged curbs, stoneworks, steps, benches, plazas, and parks.
By the 1960s a small number of surfing manufacturers in Southern California such as Jack's, Kips', Hobie, Bing's and Makaha started building skateboards that resembled small surfboards, and assembled teams to promote their products. One of the earliest Skateboard exhibitions was sponsored by Makaha's founder, Larry Stevenson, in 1963 and held at the Pier Avenue Junior High School in Hermosa Beach, California. Some of these same teams of skateboarders were also featured on a television show called Surf's Up in 1964, hosted by Stan Richards, that helped promote skateboarding as something new and fun to do.
As the popularity of skateboarding began expanding, the first skateboarding magazine, The Quarterly Skateboarder was published in 1964. John Severson, who published the magazine, wrote in his first editorial:
The magazine only lasted four issues, but resumed publication as Skateboarder in 1975. The first broadcast of an actual skateboarding competition was the 1965 National Skateboarding Championships, which were held in Anaheim, California and aired on ABC's Wide World of Sports. Because skateboarding was a new sport during this time, there were only two original disciplines during competitions: flatland freestyle and slalom downhill racing.
The growth of the sport during this period can also be seen in sales figures for Makaha, which quoted $4 million worth of board sales between 1963 and 1965. By 1966 a variety of sources began to claim that skateboarding was dangerous, resulting in shops being reluctant to sell them, and parents being reluctant to buy them. In 1966 sales had dropped significantly and Skateboarder Magazine had stopped publication. The popularity of skateboarding dropped and remained low until the early 1970s.
In the early 1970s, Frank Nasworthy started to develop a skateboard wheel made of polyurethane, calling his company Cadillac Wheels. Prior to this new material, skateboards wheels were metal or "clay" wheels. The improvement in traction and performance was so immense that from the wheel's release in 1972 the popularity of skateboarding started to rise rapidly again, causing companies to invest more in product development. Nasworthy commissioned artist Jim Evans to do a series of paintings promoting Cadillac Wheels, they were featured as ads and posters in the resurrected Skateboarder Magazine, and proved immensely popular in promoting the new style of skateboarding.
In the early 1970s skateparks had not been invented yet, so skateboarders would flock and skateboard in such urban places as the Escondido reservoir in San Diego, California. Skateboarding magazine would publish the location and skateboarders made up nicknames for each location such as the Tea Bowl, the Fruit Bowl, Bellagio, the Rabbit Hole, Bird Bath, the Egg Bowl, Upland Pool and the Sewer Slide. Some of the development concepts in the terrain of skateparks were actually taken from the Escondido reservoir. Many companies started to manufacture trucks (axles) specially designed for skateboarding, reached in 1976 by Tracker Trucks. As the equipment became more maneuverable, the decks started to get wider, reaching widths of 10 inches (250 mm) and over, thus giving the skateboarder even more control. A banana board is a skinny, flexible skateboard made of polypropylene with ribs on the underside for structural support. These were very popular during the mid-1970s and were available in a myriad of colors, bright yellow probably being the most memorable, hence the name.
In 1975 skateboarding had risen back in popularity enough to have one of the largest skateboarding competitions since the 1960s, the Del Mar National Championships, which is said to have had up to 500 competitors. The competition lasted two days and was sponsored by Bahne Skateboards and Cadillac Wheels. While the main event was won by freestyle spinning skate legend Russ Howell, a local skate team from Santa Monica, California, the Zephyr team, ushered in a new era of surfer style skateboarding during the competition that would have a lasting impact on skateboarding's history. With a team of 12, including skating legends such as Jay Adams, Tony Alva, Peggy Oki and Stacy Peralta, they brought a new progressive style of skateboarding to the event, based on the style of Hawaiian surfers Larry Bertlemann, Buttons Kaluhiokalani and Mark Liddell. Craig Stecyk, a photo journalist for Skateboarder Magazine, wrote about and photographed the team, along with Glen E. Friedman, and shortly afterwards ran a series on the team called the Dogtown articles, which eventually immortalized the Zephyr skateboard team. The team became known as the Z-Boys and would go on to become one of the most influential teams in skateboarding's history.
Soon, skateboarding contests for cash and prizes, using a professional tier system, began to be held throughout California, such as the California Free Former World Professional Skateboard Championships, which featured freestyle and slalom competitions.
Manufacturers started to experiment with more exotic composites and metals, like fiberglass and aluminium, but the common skateboards were made of maple plywood. The skateboarders took advantage of the improved handling of their skateboards and started inventing new tricks. Skateboarders, most notably Ty Page, Bruce Logan, Bobby Piercy, Kevin Reed, and the Z-Boys started to skate the vertical walls of swimming pools that were left empty in the 1976 California drought. This started the "vert" trend in skateboarding. With increased control, vert skaters could skate faster and perform more dangerous tricks, such as slash grinds and frontside/backside airs. This caused liability concerns and increased insurance costs to skatepark owners, and the development (first by Norcon, then more successfully by Rector) of improved knee pads that had a hard sliding cap and strong strapping proved to be too-little-too-late. During this era, the "freestyle" movement in skateboarding began to splinter off and develop into a much more specialized discipline, characterized by the development of a wide assortment of flat-ground tricks.
As a result of the "vert" skating movement, skate parks had to contend with high liability costs that led to many park closures. In response, vert skaters started making their own ramps, while freestyle skaters continued to evolve their flatland style. Thus, by the beginning of the 1980s, skateboarding had once again declined in popularity.
This period was fueled by skateboard companies that were run by skateboarders. The focus was initially on vert ramp skateboarding. The invention of the no-hands aerial (later known as the ollie) by Alan Gelfand in Florida in 1976, and the almost parallel development of the grabbed aerial by George Orton and Tony Alva in California, made it possible for skaters to perform airs on vertical ramps. While this wave of skateboarding was sparked by commercialized vert ramp skating, a majority of people who skateboarded during this period did not ride vert ramps. As most people could not afford to build vert ramps, or did not have access to nearby ramps, street skating increased in popularity.
Freestyle skating remained healthy throughout this period, with pioneers such as Rodney Mullen inventing many of the basic tricks that would become the foundation of modern street skating, such as the "Impossible" and the "kickflip". The influence that freestyle exerted upon street skating became apparent during the mid-1980s; however, street skating was still performed on wide vert boards with short noses, slide rails, and large soft wheels. In response to the tensions created by this confluence of skateboarding "genres", a rapid evolution occurred in the late 1980s to accommodate the street skater. Since few skateparks were available to skaters at this time, street skating pushed skaters to seek out shopping centers and public and private property as their "spot" to skate. (Public opposition, in which businesses, governments, and property owners have banned skateboarding on properties under their jurisdiction or ownership, would progressively intensify over the following decades.)  By 1992, only a small fraction of skateboarders continuing to take part in a highly technical version of street skating, combined with the decline of vert skating, produced a sport that lacked the mainstream appeal to attract new skaters.
By 2001 skateboarding had gained so much popularity that more American people under the age of 18 rode skateboards (10.6 million) than played baseball (8.2 million), although traditional organized team sports still dominated youth programs overall. Skateboarding and skateparks began to be viewed and used in a variety of new ways to complement academic lessons in schools, including new non-traditional physical education skateboarding programs, like Skatepass and Skateistan, to encourage youth to have better attendance, self-discipline and confidence. This was also based on the healthy physical opportunities skateboarding was understood to bring participants for muscle & bone strengthening and balance, as well as the positive impacts it can have on youth in teaching them mutual respect, social networking, artistic expression and an appreciation of the environment. 041b061a72