Get Your Skates On!

Despite coming from a town famous for its skater, well on ice, some of us have never gotten the bug, so it was with some trepidation that I jumped onto a skateboard. It must be safer than roller skates I had convinced myself and the grazed knees of youth are now just a faint memory.

How wrong was I? My son has a longboard, apparently, it’s easy but it is also all too apparent as I sat on my backside looking at the ‘thing’ disappearing down the road that you need balance! I wondered who came up with these things and made my excuses if nothing else to save my son’s embarrassment.

I discovered the first rudimentary skateboards were from old crates during the Great Depression. To my surprise I also discovered that initially, it wasn’t roller skate wheels which were used – roller skate wheels were more available and considered safer! The original versions seem to be push or go-carts as we call them locally which the intrepid stood on – imagine Charlton Heston in Ben Hur on a wooden crate holding a washing line instead of the reins of 4 steeds.

It is not clear whether the change to roller skate wheels was to save a generation of youngsters from years of traction or other vehicles/pedestrians, but the first commercial versions arrived in the 1950s to great commercial success.

The computer games of their day it wasn’t long before the riders came up with tricks to make it more dangerous or exciting and even competitive. Innovation helps in many ways. My neighbour’s son has a father who can do tricks. My son has a father who can fall off without style!