A Guide to the South Bay Surf and Action Sports Scene
Skateboarding tricks in a historical nutshell
Since I’ve got skateboarding on the brain (and I hoping you do too), I thought I’d walk you through the brief but altogether excitingly bone-crushing history of skateboard tricks. (Quick note: These tricks are assembled chronologically, and I’ve yet to master most of them—and by most I mean at least 90 percent. I spend more time writing about skating than actually skating. Yeah… I don’t get out often.)
During the ‘60s, skateboards were still relatively primitive—usually just a 2-by-4 with clay wheels—so the tricks were also somewhat simple: Handstands, the daffy (it’s actually rather appropriately named) and 360-degree spins were the standard. Other tricks, such as walking the nose, were based off traditional surfing maneuvers. All in all, it was all pretty basic; nothing complex or overly showy, and gravity still had its fingers wrapped firmly around the imaginations of that era’s skaters.
The ‘70s, though, were a different story—things started to get a bit “radical” (sorry, couldn’t resist). The Z-Boys burst into the skate scene with tricks like the “bert,” which capitalized on the speed and agility of the modern surfing cutback popularized by Larry Bertlemann. Then skaters started using new polyurethane wheels to tackle the near-vertical walls of swimming pools, resulting in the birth of the “ollie”—the bread-and-butter jump trick of new-school skating.
By the ‘80s, innovative skaters like Tony Hawk and Mike Mcgill created unique aerial flips and spins that completely shattered the status quo, thus leading to the tricks that we all see at the X Games. And the rest is history.