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A skateboard is typically a specially designed plywood board combined with a quad wheeled, dual "truck" and eight bearing system designed for both movement and stunts, used primarily for the activity of skateboarding. The modern skateboard originated in California in the late 1970s. By the mid 1980s they were mass produced and sold throughout the United States.
A skateboard is propelled by pushing with one foot while the other remains on the board, or by pumping one's legs in structures such as a pool or half pipe. A skateboard can also be used by simply standing on the deck while on a downward slope and allowing gravity to propel the board and rider.
There is no governing body that declares any regulations on what constitutes a skateboard or the parts from which it is assembled. Historically, the design of the board has conformed both to contemporary trends and to the ever evolving array of stunts performed by riders/users, who require a certain functionality from the board. Of course, the board shape depends largely upon its desired function. Longboards are a type of skateboard with a longer wheelbase and larger, softer wheels.
There is no definitive origin or inventor of the skateboard. One proposed origin is that skateboards arose in the 1930s and 1940s, when children would participate in soapbox races, using soap-boxes attached to wooden planks on rollerskate wheels. When the soap-box became detached from the plank, children would ride these primitive "skateboards". However, there are arguments that this origin is not accurate, and that it has simply been taken from the film Back to the Future. Another suggests that the skateboard was created directly from the adaptation of a single roller skate taken apart and nailed to a 2x4, without the soapbox at all. Surfers would skate when the waves were flat and began skating to recreate surfing on land, some surfers began to do tricks on the land such as Bert slides and Power slides. In 1972, the first Urethane wheels came into production which made these tricks possible. Some of the most well known early skaters, the "Z-boys" named after the Zepher surf shop, used a more fluid motion than most skaters at the time and styled themselves after a famous surfer. The skaters brought back the trend from its slump in 1975 during the Del Mar competition where they wowed audiences with their close to ground maneuvers and fluid movements. The main types of skating during this time were slalom, long jump, free style, and downhill racing. Later during the drought of California the Z-boys and other skaters started to skate empty pools thus creating vert skating. One of the group's members, Laurie Picken, would perform the world's first Aerial in a swimming pool.
Retail skateboards were first marketed in 1958 by Bill and Mark Richard of Dana Point, California. They attached roller skate wheels from the Chicago Roller Skate Company to a plank of wood and sold them in their Val Surf Shops. As skateboarding became more popular, Larry Stevenson created the "kick tail" on a skateboard which led to the design of the trick board. The sport of skating was considered to be an outcast sport because of its strong ties to the punk and rebel movement during the 90s. It wasn't until the 2000s X Games that skateboarding made a new name for itself as an official sport.
Descriptions of the following skateboard parts are the ones most prevalent in popular, modern forms of skateboarding. Many niche disciplines exist with exotic or alternative constructions and designs that fall outside of much of the descriptions listed. The usual parts to design a complete skateboard are the deck, trucks, wheels, bearings, hardware, and griptape.
Most decks are constructed with a seven to nine-ply cross-laminated layup of Canadian maple. Other materials used in deck construction, such as fiberglass, bamboo, resin, Kevlar, carbon fiber, aluminum, and plastic, lighten the board or increase its strength or rigidity. Some decks made from maple ply are dyed to create various different coloured ply. Modern decks vary in size, but most are 7 to 10.5 inches wide. Wider decks can be used for greater stability when transition or ramp skating. Skateboard decks are usually between 28 and 33 inches long. The underside of the deck can be printed with a design by the manufacturer, blank, or decorated by any other means. The longboard, a common variant of the skateboard, has a longer deck. This is mostly ridden down hills or by the beach. This was created by two surfers; Ben Whatson and Jonny Drapper. One of the first deck companies was called "Drapped" taken from Jonny's second name. "Old school" boards (those made in the 1970s–80s or modern boards that mimic their shape) are generally wider and often have only one kicktail. Variants of the 1970s often have little or no concavity, whereas 1980s models have deeper concavities and steeper kicktails.
Grip tape, when applied to the top surface of a skateboard, gives a skater's feet more grip on the deck. It is most often black but can come in a variety of colors including clear, allowing the top of the deck to be decorated. It has an adhesive back and a sandpaper like top.
Attached to the deck are two metal (usually aluminum alloy) trucks, which connect to the wheels and deck. The trucks are further composed of two parts. The top part of the truck is screwed to the deck and is called the baseplate, and beneath it is the hanger. The axle runs through the hanger. Between the baseplate and the hanger are bushings, also rubbers or grommets, that provide the cushion mechanism for turning the skateboard. The bushings cushion the truck when it turns. The stiffer the bushings, the more resistant the skateboard is to turning. The softer the bushings, the easier it is to turn. A bolt called a kingpin holds these parts together and fits inside the bushings. Thus by tightening or loosening the kingpin nut, the trucks can be adjusted loosely for better turning and tighter for more stability.
Longboard specific trucks are a more recent development. A longboard truck has the king pin laid at a more acute angle (usually between 38 and 50 degrees) to the deck, this gives a lesser degree of turning for the same tilt of the deck. This allows riders to go much faster while still maintaining stability and control.
The wheels of a skateboard, usually made of polyurethane, come in many different sizes and shapes to suit different types of skating. Larger sizes like 54–85 mm roll faster, and also move more easily over cracks in pavement. Smaller sizes like 48–54 mm keep the board closer to the ground, require less force to accelerate and produce a lower center of gravity, but also make for a slower top speed. Wheels also are available in a variety of hardnesses usually measured on the Shore durometer "A" scale. Wheels range from the very soft (about Shore A 75) to the very hard (about Shore A 101). As the A scale stops at 100, any wheels labeled 101A or higher are harder, but do not use the appropriate durometer scale. Some wheel manufacturers now use the "B" or "D" scales, which have a larger and more accurate range of hardness.
Modern street skaters prefer smaller wheels (usually 51–54 mm), as small wheels with lighter trucks can make tricks like kickflips and other flip tricks easier by keeping the center of gravity of the skateboard closer to the deck, thus making the deck easier to spin. Street wheels are often quite hard as this allows the wheels to slide easier on waxed surfaces for bluntslides and nose/tailslides. Vertical ramp or "vert" skating requires larger wheels (usually 55–65 mm), as it involves higher speeds. Vert wheels are also usually softer, allowing them to maintain high speed on ramps without sliding. Slalom skating requires even larger wheels (60–75 mm) to sustain the highest speeds possible. They also need to be soft and have better grip to make the tight and frequent turns in slalom racing. Even larger wheels are used in longboarding and downhill skateboarding. Sizes range from 65 mm to 100 mm. These extreme sizes of wheels almost always have cores of hard plastic that can be made thinner and lighter than a solid polyurethane wheel. They are often used by skateboard videographers as well, as the large soft wheels allow for smooth and easy movement over any terrain.
Each skateboard wheel is mounted on its axle via two bearings. With few exceptions, the bearings are the industrial standard "608" size, with a bore of 8 mm, an outer diameter of 22 mm, and a width of 7 mm. These are usually made of steel, though silicon nitride, a high-tech ceramic, is sometimes used. Many skateboard bearings are graded according to the ABEC scale. The scale starts with ABEC1 as the lowest, 3, 5, 7, 9. It is a common misconception that the higher ABECs are better for skateboarding, as the ABEC rating only measures tolerances, which do not necessarily apply to skateboards. The ABEC rating does not determine how fast or how durable a bearing used for skateboarding will be. In particular, the ABEC rating says nothing about how well a bearing handles axial (side-to-side) loads, which are severe in most skateboard applications. Many companies do not show the ABEC rating, such as Bones Bearings, which makes bearings specifically for skateboarding, often marketed as "Skate Rated". These bearings are usually called Swiss (made in Switzerland), ceramic or both and are better for skateboarding.Each bearing usually contains 7 steel or ceramic ball bearings. Some skateboard bearings do however contain 6 ball bearings.
Mounting hardware is a set of eight 10-32 UNC bolts, usually an Allen or Phillips head, and matching nylon locknuts. They are used to attach the trucks to the board. Some have a different colored bolt to show which side is the nose of the skateboard.
Risers increase the space between the truck and the deck. This allows the truck to turn further without causing wheel bite (when the wheel touches the deck and stops rotating).Wedges can be used to change the turning characteristics of a truck.
Narrow strips of plastic or metal that are attached under the deck lengthwise along the edges. They are used for additional grip for grabs, and to enhance sliding while protecting the deck's graphics at the same time. Although rarely used anymore, they are useful for experienced skaters that are capable of grabs.
Grip tape is a sheet paper or fabric with adhesive on one side and a surface similar to fine sand paper on the other. Grip tape is applied to the top surface of a board to allow the rider's feet to grip the surface and help the skater stay on the board while doing tricks. Grip tape is usually black, however it is also available in other colors or transparent.
Slip tape is a clear piece of self adhesive plastic that sticks to the underside of a deck. It helps protect the board's graphics and allows the board to slide easier. Another name for this is everslick.
A lapper is a plastic cover that is fastened to the rear truck and serves to protect the kingpin when grinding. It also prevents hang-ups by providing a smoother transition for the truck when it hits an obstacle or a metal pipe or round bar.
A plastic bumper used to protect the front of a skateboard. Used in old school boards.
Is a plastic cover that protects the tail end of the skateboard
Plastic half tubing that protected the axles of the trucks. In the 1980-85 period, stolen shopping cart handles were cut by some to fit as a makeshift coper.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Skateboard|
- ^ http://skateboard.about.com/cs/boardscience/a/brief_history.htm
- ^ Van Dulken, Stephen (2004). American Inventions: A History of Curious, Extraordinary, and Just Plain Useful Patents. NYU Press. pp. 55. ISBN 0814788130. http://books.google.com/books?id=ZbpU6LI89nIC&printsec=frontcover#PPA55,M1.
- ^ Contains a list of dimensions for popular longboard truck manufacturer http://www.randal.com/guides_faq.html
- ^ http://lushlongboards.com/workshop/abec-ratings-explained-c-199_200.html
- ^ A guide describing turning characteristics of different Riser/Wedge types http://www.randal.com/guides_faq.html