Many older people will remember the 1970’s being a boom period for the skateboard, which burst onto the scene with every boy and quite a few girls out there absolutely having to have one. Skate parks appeared seemingly from nowhere and being unable to ride one was likely to get you laughed at by your friends. Since then, skateboarding has seen many ups and downs in terms of popularity, though as of today, it remains the third most popular sport in America, just behind football and basketball. Being adopted as an Olympic sport is highly likely to see the numbers of skateboarders out there continue to increase once more, but what else drives the sport?
Improvements in Technology
The standard store offering for the early skateboard was not of a particularly high standard, with boards often being made of cheap plastic, having a mediocre set of wheels and very basic trucks for steering. Then specialist skateboard stores began to open, offering a significantly higher quality product in every department. Initially it was about the wheels and the bearings, which offered much smoother running, less noise, and the ability to go further and faster with every push. As better wheels became available, so people wanted better trucks to be able to steer the board, especially as slalom races became more popular, and then of course there was the deck itself, which may explain partly why it has remained so popular across the years.
The Skateboard Decks Transformation
From cheap and nasty mass-produced decks, individuality began to be seen, with original designs and production methods providing more stylish, statement making boards, many of which were almost a work of art in themselves. Some of the first were individually made by the skaters themselves, though deck manufacturers saw the writing on the wall and rapidly began to provide designs that appealed to the younger generation, a practice that continues today. Here in England Slick Willies sell some of the best skateboard decks available in the world today, from manufacturers who understand that board art is as important as the physical construction of the board itself. Today there are many amazing looking skateboard decks, in vibrant colours and designs incorporating superheroes, cartoon characters, and individual designs that are very eye catching.
Skateboarding in the Future
Skateboarding seems destined for a long and successful future as boarders cross traditional boundaries among cultural identities. The skate park is where the nerd, the punk, the Goth and every other group’s inhibitions seem to just drop away. A boarder is a boarder and is generally accepted as such, regardless of who they are when they are not skating. You don’t even need to be particularly good at it to find social acceptance, with more experienced skaters offering help and advice freely to those less experienced.
It is a great way for kids to make friends they might not otherwise be able to make and for them to be able to feel that they have achieved something. Accidents are going to happen, but that is the price the boarder pays for learning new tricks and as long as kids have a sense of adventure, skateboarding is highly likely to remain popular.
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