In the ever-evolving world of skateboarding, where innovation and progression are celebrated, there’s a subculture that cherishes the past, embraces nostalgia, and keeps the spirit of the sport alive through old-school skateboards. These iconic boards, reminiscent of the sport’s early days in the 1970s and 1980s, have made a remarkable comeback in recent years. In this article, we’ll explore the enduring appeal of old-school skateboards, their history, unique features, and why they continue to captivate skateboarders and enthusiasts worldwide.
The Origins of Old School Skateboards
The roots of old-school skateboards can be traced back to the early days of skateboarding when it was more closely associated with surfing. The first old school skateboards were essentially wooden planks with roller skate wheels attached to the bottom, an attempt to replicate the sensation of riding waves on concrete sidewalks.
As skateboarding evolved, so did the equipment. In the 1970s, the introduction of polyurethane wheels revolutionized the sport, providing smoother rides and better grip. Skateboard decks also underwent significant changes, transitioning from flat, rectangular planks to the more distinctive and functional shapes we associate with old-school skateboards today.
Unique Features of Old School Skateboards
Wide Decks: Old-school skateboards typically feature wider decks compared to their modern counterparts. These broad decks offer stability and a more comfortable stance for riders, making them ideal for cruising and carving.
Concave Shape: Many old-school skateboards boast a distinctive concave shape, with raised edges and a sunken centre. This concave design enhances control, allowing riders to perform tricks and manoeuvres with greater precision.
Kicktails: Old-school skateboards often have pronounced cocktails on both ends of the deck. Kicktails are essential for executing ollies, flips, and other tricks, as they provide the leverage needed to lift the board off the ground.
Wheel Wells: To prevent wheel bite, a common issue with wider decks, old-school skateboards often include wheel wells or cutouts near the wheelbase. These features allow for more extensive wheel movement without causing interference between the wheels and the deck.
Old School Graphics: The graphics on old-school skateboards are a nod to the sport’s history and culture. Many feature vibrant, retro-inspired designs that pay homage to the artwork of the ’70s and ’80s.
The Enduring Appeal of Old School Skateboards
Nostalgia: For many skateboarders, old-school skateboards evoke a sense of nostalgia, transporting them back to the days when skateboarding was in its infancy. Riding an old-school deck is a way to relive the past and connect with the roots of the sport.
Simplicity: Old-school skateboards offer a simpler, purer form of skateboarding. With their wide decks and functional shapes, they prioritize the joy of riding and cruising over complex tricks and flips.
Cruising and Carving: Old-school skateboards excel at cruising and carving, making them an excellent choice for riders who want to explore their surroundings, glide down hills, and enjoy the sensation of flowing with the terrain.
Artistic Expression: The unique graphics and designs found on old-school skateboards allow riders to express their individuality and personal style. Many collectors and enthusiasts appreciate these boards as works of art.
Community and Culture: Old-school skateboarding has its vibrant community and subculture. Enthusiasts often gather at skateparks and events dedicated to old-school skateboarding, fostering a sense of camaraderie and shared passion.
The Resurgence of Old School Skateboarding
In recent years, old-school skateboarding has experienced a resurgence in popularity. While modern skateboarding continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible with technical tricks and high-flying stunts, there is a growing appreciation for the roots of the sport. Many skateboarders and collectors have embraced old-school skateboards as a way to pay homage to the pioneers of skateboarding and to reconnect with the sport’s simpler, more carefree days.
Old-school skateboards are not just relics of the past; they are a vibrant and thriving part of skateboarding culture today. Skateboard companies have responded to the demand by reissuing classic old-school deck shapes and graphics, making it easier for riders to access these nostalgic boards.
Riding the Wave of Nostalgia
If you’re considering riding an old-school skateboard or adding one to your collection, here are a few tips to get started:
Choose the Right Deck: Select an old-school skateboard deck that suits your riding style and preferences. Consider factors like deck width, concave shape, and graphics.
Quality Components: Invest in quality trucks, wheels, and bearings to ensure a smooth and enjoyable ride. Old-school skateboards benefit from modern components that enhance performance.
Safety First: Don’t forget safety gear. Helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads are essential, especially if you plan to try tricks or ride at higher speeds.
Practice and Enjoy: Embrace the simplicity and joy of riding an old-school skateboard. Cruise through your neighborhood, carve down hills and relish the sensation of gliding on a piece of skateboarding history.
Old school skateboards are more than just relics of a bygone era; they are a testament to the enduring spirit and culture of skateboarding. These boards, with their wide decks, unique shapes, and retro graphics, offer a bridge between the past and the present, allowing riders to experience the pure joy of skateboarding in its simplest form.
Whether you’re a seasoned skateboarder looking to reconnect with the sport’s roots or a newcomer eager to explore the world of skateboarding, old-school skateboards offer a unique and nostalgic ride. They remind us that skateboarding is not just about tricks and flips; it’s about the freedom, creativity, and sense of community that have defined the sport since its inception. So, hop on an old-school skateboard, and ride the wave of nostalgia as you embrace the timeless allure of skateboarding’s past.