Last updated on 26/02/2018
Nowadays, skateboarding is far from the cliché of the blond Californian guy surfing with wind in his hair. No, the way people skateboard today has been born 50 years ago. Sometimes seen as a board with small wheels, skateboarding is also a way of life for some other.
Surf and roll
The story said skateboarding's time zero was in the 50's. On a day whit flat waves, surfers were let workless but with a clue: screwing roller skate wheels on a rectangular wood board. Then, they started striding along the streets with their new weird invention, looking for inclined planes and wavy shapes. And that's how the story of skateboard began. This new sport became quickly famous.
50 millions of boards were sold but in 1965 due to some American authorities, skateboarding was forbidden, causing a lot of injuries. 'Freestyle' was created at the same moment. Freestyle is a choreography, based on music, made up of figures danced on a plane surface. This variant was so hype in the 80's and became has-been afterwards. Skateboard took is revenge during the 70's, thanks to the urethane wheels. Those wheels were a true revolution, pushing boundary of the sport away and opening the edge of modern skateboarding. Then came a lot of improvements: aluminum axles, boards made up of stuck laminated, ...
Skate or die
Our current skating's edge was the work of a Californian skate team called the 'Z-Boys', aka Zephyr. Those guys, Tony Alva, Jay Adams and Stacy Peralta were the first famous skater boys, they hit the headlines practicing in empty swimming pools. At this point, the discipline was no longer practiced on plane surfaces. In 1978 Alan Gelfand invented the 'Ollie', the ultimate big transformation in skating. Ollie is a trick where the rider and board leap into the air without the use of the rider's hands. Before the Ollie, early skate tricks had consisted mainly of reproducing tricks practiced on ramps. A style, a way of riding... here came the street skateboarding.
Skaters started to use public spaces such as walls, pavements, benches, stairs, fences as their spot to skate. Ollie allowed skaters to seek the city. Street skateboarding is a different way to skate and helps each skater to 'express himself wherever he is. At this time, skaters left surf business and started to found small independent labels. Skateboarding was, at first, tied to the culture of surfing but it subsequently became a real culture.
Ride all day
In the late 70's there were skate parks all over the US. But municipal authorities decided to forbid skating again and skate parks started to close. There were only a few of surviving skaters, who got into a united community. Technical advancements brought skating back to life. From 1984, skateboarding culture was spread throughout Europe, like a virus and its virulent microbe was called 'VHS'. Peeps 'shared it, copy it and watch it again and again to understand a style, a trick, 'to seek it and to add a personal touch.
This new passion for videos took part in 'skate's expansion and reduction of the differences between the European and American way of skating. Periodically rejected by the crowd, skateboarding is still a quirky sport for some people. A sport which wants to be different but also be known, ... skating paradox itself! Skateboarding is always evolving but it has never lost its essential spirit: being relaxed and self mockery.
What about Belgium ?
Far away from the blue sky and California's waves... Belgium offers a cold North Sea and rain. But it couldn't keep Belgian people away from the international stage, think about well-known skaters like Julian Dykmans, Hans Claessens or Goeffrey Van Hove. Moreover, a new discipline coming from skating, the longboard has becoming more and more successful these years... You will find a lot of outdoor spots in Brussels... A city where to practice joyfully... At least if it doesn't rain. However, Belgium doesn't offer a lot of places where to skate peacefully any time of the year. Kriss Gutierrez Cuervo
Blütcher Longboard Club The Blütcher Longboard Club unites the Belgian longboarders and plans a lot of events such as free rides, barbecue and many more!
Geoffrey Van Hove Geoffrey Van Hove is a Belgian skater famous on the European skating scene. With his 20 years of experience he is now ready to create Homemade skateboards.