‘In 1962 a southern California surf shop, Val Surf, began making its own brand of skateboards and struck a deal with Chicago Roller Skate Company for the wheels. The skateboards began to attract everyday surfers who could use the boards when they weren’t in the water, and thus the term “sidewalk surfer” was coined. Additionally, skateboarding gained popularity when Larry Stevenson, publisher of Surf Guide, promoted it in his monthly magazine. In 1963, Stevenson made the first professional skateboards using the Makaha brand and organized the first known skateboarding contest. That same year saw an evolution in skateboard design with the use of clay (also known as composite) wheels that replaced treacherous metal ones. Moving ahead, in 1964 surf and sailing entrepreneur Hobart “Hobie” Alter joined forces with Vita-Pakt company to make a line of Hobie skateboards; the Hobie line also sponsored several contests and professional skaters. Later that summer, the musical group Jan and Dean performed “Sidewalk Surfin” on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, an event which helped further popularize skateboarding with mainstream society.
In 1966, Vans shoes made their way into the surfing and skateboarding scene and by the early 1970s Vans shoes were “the skateboarding shoe” to wear. Makaha’s founder, Larry Stevenson, continued to perfect skateboard design by adding his patented “kicktail” to the end of the deck. In 1972 another design modification radically enhanced skateboarding performance: the urethane wheel. These wheels, formerly used in indoor roller skating, were introduced to the skateboarding world by Frank Nasworthy who realized that their durability (they were made from industrial forklift tire compound) would enable skateboarders to turn without sliding. The upgraded wheels, aptly named “Cadillac Wheels,” ultimately revolutionized the skateboarding industry.’ – states Museum of Play
Without these early innovators we would not have the lifestyle we live. Give thanks to those who came before!