Little Bits of History

Sidewalk Surfing

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 21, 2015
Go Skateboarding Day*

Go Skateboarding Day*

June 21, 2004: The first Go Skateboarding Day (GSD) takes place. It was the official holiday initiated by the International Association of Skateboard Companies (IASC) to promoted skateboarding. The day involves riding and performing tricks using a skateboard. These are usually made of a specially designed maplewood board (the deck) over which has been laid a polyurethane coating. The surface of the board is often covered with grip tape to help the rider’s feet grip the board. The board rests on two trucks, usually made of an aluminum alloy. These have the ability to swivel and turn. Attached to the trucks are the wheels which are usually made of polyurethane. The wheels are mounted on an axle with two bearings.

The first skateboards were wooden boxes or boards mounted on roller skate wheels. The boxes turned into planks which were similar to the decks used today. In 1944, an American WAC serving in France noticed children riding on boards with roller skates wheels and gliding through Paris in this fashion. By the late 1940s or early 1950s, skateboarding as it is known today had arrived. There is no record of who made the first board and it was likely that several people came up with the idea simultaneously. The first manufactured skateboards were ordered by a surf shop in Los Angeles. Bill Richard, owner of the shop, made a deal with the Chicago Roller Skate Company to produce sets of skate wheels which were attacked to boards for “sidewalk surfing”.

The first trick was the ollie created by Alan “Ollie” Gelfand in 1976. This is where the rider and board leap into the air without the rider using his or her hands. Once this was achieved, skateboarders could balance their boards on any surface and glide. Municipalities did not like the idea and put up many signs declaring “No Skateboarding” which sparked the idea by the IASC. The signs were often marked by graffiti changing the first letter to a G and Go Skateboarding was the eventual result. GSD has been given Special Congressional Recognition by the US Congress for promoting the sport of skateboarding. There are thousands of participants each year with the largest number congregating in New York City.

The IASC was founded in 1995 by Jim Fitzpatrick to promote skateboarding and increase participation. They also have as a mission the educating of communities about the sport. Members include skateboard manufacturers, distributors, skatepark designers, and contest organizers. Another initiative began in 2012 by both the IASC and the Go Skateboarding Foundation (established by the IASC to run the event of GSD). The Just One Board campaign is a non-profit initiative to collect used skateboards and refurbish them for distribution to underprivileged children. They have been able to supply over 1,500 boards to kids who just want to have fun. There is an International Skateboarding Hall of Fame located in Simi Valley, California which honors those who have contributed to sport.

I feel like skateboarding is as much of a sport as a lifestyle, and an art form, so there’s so much that that transcends in terms of music, fashion, and entertainment. – Tony Hawk

For me, skateboarding is a lifestyle. I really don’t know anything different. My life revolves around skating. If I wasn’t a professional skateboarder, I’d still be skating every day. – Ryan Sheckler

Skateboarding teaches you how to take a fall properly. If you try to kickflip down some stairs, it might take you thirty tries – and you just learn how to take a tumble out of it without getting hurt. – Bam Margera

Skateboarding helps a ton with balance, precision, with air awareness… it gets your senses to be spot-on and it’s also a great way to take my mind off things. – Shaun White

Also on this day: Job Insecurity – In 1919, the Winnipeg Strike went horribly wrong.
Manchester Baby – In 1948, the world’s first stored program computer worked.
SpaceShipOne – In 2004, the first privately funded ship made it into space.
Long – In 1948, the first LP album was demonstrated.
Burnin’ Down the House – In 1734, Marie-Josèphe dite Angélique was executed.

* “Go-skateboarding-day” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –

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