When the California waves were too mellow, bored surfers attached four wheels to a wooden plank and invented sidewalk surfing back in 1950. The years rolled on, and the sidewalk surfboard evolved into what we know as the modern skateboard.
The sport’s popularity ebbed and flowed over the years. Notorious skater Tony Hawk was the skateboarding idol of the 1980s and ‘90s, winning dozens of skating competitions and making it onto the pages of “Thrasher,” a popular skating magazine. But even as a pro he faced challenges when skating wasn’t at the forefront of the media.
In an interview with the skating magazine “Jenkem” Hawk said, “by 1990, the market began getting flooded and there was a lot more competition and everything was being geared towards street.” For a few years the industry was at a downfall and new skaters simply used their boards for recreation until the mid ‘90s.
Arianna Nalbach prepares for a skate session. (Photos/Ariana Nalbach)
Jonah Hill wrote and directed the film “Mid90s” which encompassed the new skate culture of the time. Set in Los Angeles, the characters on screen trespassed with hundreds of others and rode their boards across the legendary West LA Courthouse skate spot. Skaters of the time wore baggy denims and classic Vans religiously, their style heavily influencing today’s contemporary fashion trends of mom jeans and crop tops.
But skateboarding’s evolution didn’t stop there. In the early 2000s, shredding the gnar grew into a national craze and product-rich industry.
A neighborhood pup tries to learn a new skating trick or two. (Photos/Ariana Nalbach)
Many skateboarding video games were developed for the first and second Playstation such as “Skate and Destroy,” (1999) “Evolution Skateboarding,” (2002) “Grind Session” (2000) and “Street Sk8er 2” (2000). Skating was also a big part of pop culture entertainment. “Rob & Big” debuted in 2006, featuring infamous pro skater Rob Dyrdek who then went on to premiere his second reality TV show “Fantasy Factory” in 2009. Many rocked the oversized DC t-shirts and high-top Supras that the pro skaters wore- even if they didn’t ride themselves. Skate culture in the 2000s was even produced through music, with songs like Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi.”
Because skateboarding had a huge impact on the public in the early 2000s, it empowered many people to continue thrashing today. Twenty one skateparks exist in LA alone. Certain tricks and styles of skating have changed, but traditional baggy t-shirts and classic Vans can surely be found at your nearest local skatepark.