A Brief Look Into the Evolution of Skate Culture

Skateboard culture

Nobody really knows who designed the first skateboard, but what we do know is that since the first riders took to their homemade board back in the late 1940′s, skateboarding has taken on a unique niche in society and has developed its own culture, fashion and lifestyle trends.

In the early days the first ideas for skateboarding were born out of frustrated Californian surfers who wanted to be able to indulge their surfing cravings even when the waves were not up to the job. Surfers fashioned together planks of wood or wooden boxes with roller skates attached to the bottom and soon the craze for “sidewalk surfing” became popular with the surfing community in California. Somewhere around the early 1950′s a Los Angeles based surf shop struck up a deal with roller skate manufacturers to provide sets of wheels which they then attached to wooden boards for use by surfers when the waves were too flat to hit the ocean.

By the 1970′s the company Cadillac Wheels led by Frank Nasworthy started mass producing plastic boards which were far superior in traction and performance than their rudimentary predecessors and soon the freestyle skateboarding movement was born, with skaters performing ever more daring tricks and stunts on their skateboards. By the 1980′s the development of purpose built skate parks was spreading around the globe and the number of riders honing their skills on adrenaline pumping vertical or “vert” ramps was on the increase the world over.

Modern skateboarding has moved out of the skate park and onto the streets, with skaters seeing the various steps, benches, ramps and rails around shopping centers and parking lots as their skate area. Skaters still frequent good skate parks to hone their trick skills but for the dedicated street skater nothing quite commands the same respect as owning tricks using everyday objects and structures.

As the interest and variety of skateboarding has evolved, so has the lifestyle and culture associated with it. As the early skaters were predominantly surfers in their downtime, the culture of a laid back attitude and positive outlook on life has continued to run through skateboarding culture to this day. However, pure skateboarders have also developed their own unique image, initially tied to the punk music scene but more recently encompassing also hip hop, rock and reggae too.

Skateboarding magazines have helped this culture to grow and develop, with Thrasher being an early publication which has remained popular over time. Thrasher depicted the world of the skateboarder as hardcore, rebellious and rude, so competitor magazine, Transworld Skateboarding evolved to be a more kid friendly, clean cut image of the lifestyle which has proved equally successful over time.

Skaters have adopted certain clothing and brands which are seen as part of their culture. Even when seen without their skateboard a skater can often be identified by their attire, from their Animal hoody to their etnies and DC shoes. Of course much of this style has been adopted by non skaters who like the image, but for real skating fanatics it is not just about skateboarding or fashion, it is a way of life.

A Brief Look Into the Evolution of Skate Culture by


  1. Cytro says

    It has too much of an image now. a couple years ago it was seen as a hobby or something fun to-do, it’s all a fashion trend now.

    • says

      Hey Cytro,

      I’m sure that many will agree with you, however, there are those of us that are able to see past all of that and continue to love the pure feeling of stepping onto a skateboard and riding away to sweet freedom.

  2. Alexa says

    As a girl i like to longboard more, but i would love to learn how to skateboard. Instead of freaking out on those people who don’t know anything why don’t you teach them? Id love if someone taught me how but everyone is stuck up

    • says


      Everyone starts out at the same spot, not knowing how to skate. Those that freak out and make fun of you usually do so because they’re insecure about their own abilities.

      In general, we as skaters are a very accepting and giving bunch so you may unfortunately have been around too many posers.

      Start by reading this: Skateboard tips for beginners and studying what you find here on Skatessentials.com.

      We are all about helping you learn how to skate!

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