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Skateboarding Essay, Research Paper

Skateboarding is one of the most unique, enjoyable, and physically demanding

sports in the world. Like baseball, basketball and football, skateboarding his

endured many changes and fluctuations in popularity, and has emerged as one of

the most entertaining and satisfying activities enjoyed by both today?s youth

and its adults. The goal of this paper is to inform about the history, evolution

and present state of skateboarding. The concept of skateboarding was invented in

the 1950s when surfers from California wanted to try their surfing techniques on

land. All over California, surfers and teenagers began constructing their own

?land surfboards? by attaching roller skate wheels to wooden crates. The

surfers would then ride down steep hills while in the crates, performing surfing

moves as they went down. This idea, however, was a painful one. Wooden crates

did not provide the necessary range of motion to equate to surfing and,

consequently, many surfers were injured while experimenting with their new

invention. As a result, wooden surfboard-shaped boards were constructed. A pair

of roller skate wheels were attached eight inches inward to either end of the

board to add stability while riding. One day, a young man named Alan Gelfand

revolutionized skateboarding. While riding, he pushed downward with his back

foot, causing the front of the board to rise. He then jumped with the board.

This caused the board, and Alan, to lift off into the air about five inches off

the ground. This technique became known as the ?ollie?, after Alan

?Ollie? Gelfand. This was a momentous occasion in the history of

skateboarding. Before Alan?s discovery, skateboarding was nothing more than

land surfing. The ability to ollie marked the transition between land surfing

and skateboarding. Now that people could leave the ground with their board, a

brand-new sport was born, and skateboarding became a sport of it?s own. Now

that skateboarders could jump into the air, a whole new world was opened to

them. All across America kids were constructing their own boards. Skateboarding

became a discovery sport. Everyone was discovering new ways to spin and flip

their board and land back on it. Skateboarders were jumping down stairs, over

gaps and onto handrails. Skateboarding was flourishing. The explosion of

skateboarding was noticed not only by kids, but by enterprising entrepreneurs.

Pioneering businessmen saw a potential market in skateboarding, and acted on it.

Skateboards became mass-produced, allowing kids to buy a board, rather than

build one. The market boomed, and skateboarding became an industry. The

skateboard itself has undergone an evolution of it?s own. Skateboard decks

were originally just pieces of wood. Slowly, the decks took on a rectangular

shape, with the two smaller sides rounded off. A ?nose? and ?tail?,

curvatures on the ends of the board, were made to help a skateboarder ollie.

Griptape, a corse sandpaper-like tape, was added to the top of the board to help

skateboarders stay on their boards. Skateboard decks are now made by compressing

multiple layers of wood together to make the board stronger. The skateboard

wheel has also undergone a transformation. Skateboard wheels were originally

just metal roller skate wheels. Rubber wheels were made to make riding on the

skateboard smoother. Finally, urethane wheels were invented to make the wheels

smoother, lighter, and cheaper to produce. Skateboarding is now one of the

fastest-growing sports markets in the United States and Europe. Every year there

are more than 350 million dollars is spent on skateboarding-related products.

Everything from wheels and kneepads, to shoes and clothing items are produced

and purchased. Skateboard parks are opening up all across the country.

Skateboarding is currently at the height of its popularity. Skateboarding as a

sport in the 1990s has taken on an identity of it?s own. Skateboarders see the

sport as the perfect activity. Skateboarding has no bias. It accepts anyone,

regardless of race, gender, age, or creed. The unofficial skateboarding motto is

?If you carry a board, you are my friend?. One advantage to skateboarding is

that skateboarders can do it anywhere: skate parks, garages, streets, parks,

basketball courts, parking lots or back alleys. Skateboarders don’t need a field

to play in. They just need their skateboards. Skateboarding teaches

determination. It teaches you how to set goals, and what it takes to achieve

them. Skateboarding teaches you persistence. No matter how hard you fall, no

matter how many bruises you get or bones you break, you always hop back up and

try the same trick again. No other sport offers you that . Skateboarding has

undergone many changes, but its unique willingness to accept anyone to try it

will keep it popular for years to come, and the love of the sport will keep it

alive forever.

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