A skateboard is a special type of sports equipment crafted from a long piece of maple wood with a polyurethane coating for increased durability and easy sliding while in motion. The wood is attached to four wheels and propelled forward by either the push of a rider's foot or by the gravitational forces acting upon them in a given circumstance, which means that a rider can simply stand on the board's surface and ride it downhill without using their feet at all. Skateboards are available as either long boards or short boards. Long boards are usually between thirty-five and sixty inches long and are ideal for cruising purposes and downhill racing. They are typically more expensive than short boards, which are around thirty inches long and are designed for getting air and performing stunts or tricks.
While the skate shoes design afforded better connection and traction with the deck, skaterboarders themselves could often be identified when wearing the shoes, with Tony Hawk once saying, "If you were wearing Vans shoes in 86, you were a skateboarder" Because of its connection with skateboarding, Vans financed the legendary skateboarding documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys and was the first sneaker company to endorse a professional skateboarder Stacy Peralta. Vans has a long history of being a major sponsor of many of skateboarding's competitions and events throughout skateboarding's history as well, including the Vans Warped Tour and the Vans Triple Crown Series.
One of the earliest sponsored skateboarders, Patti McGee, was paid by Hobie and Vita Pak to travel around the country to do skateboarding exhibitions and to demonstrate skateboarding safety tips. McGee made the cover of Life magazine in 1965 and was featured on several popular television programs—The Mike Douglas Show, What's My Line? and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson—which helped make skateboarding even more popular at the time. Some other well known surfer-style skateboarders of the time were Danny Bearer, Torger Johnson, Bruce Logan, Bill and Mark Richards, Woody Woodward, & Jim Fitzpatrick.
Also called Standard Kingpin Trucks, these trucks will mount to any standard or cruiser deck. They are the most versatile type of trucks and can be used for any type of skateboarding. There are many brands and various features to consider, including truck height, weight and replaceable components. Trucks are easily adjustable and allow you to loosen or tighten the board's responsiveness. For more information on trucks, check out our Skateboard Trucks Guide.
Freedom Plaza has become a popular location for skateboarding, although the activity is illegal and has resulted in police actions. A 2016 National Park Service management plan for the Historic Site states that skateboarding has damaged stonework, sculptures, walls, benches, steps, and other surfaces in some areas of the Plaza. The management plan further states that skateboarding presents a persistent law enforcement and management challenge, as popular websites advertise the Plaza's attractiveness for the activity. The plan notes that vandals have removed "No Skateboarding" signs and recommends the replacement of those signs.
Without good grip tape, skaters have a tough time staying on top of their board. The main complaints about poor grip tape tend to be that it was never very grippy or lost its grip really quickly. Once again, we recommend trusting in name brands with years of experience supporting skateboarders. Unfortunately, if you are buying a pre-made complete skateboard, you probably won't have access to the brand name of the grip.