Skateboarding evolved in the ’50s of the twentieth century when surfers began pondering over the way to surf in the absence of waves. The first skateboards were ordinary boards or boxes with rollerskate wheels attached to them. These inventions were heavy and primitive, and the wheels were made of clay and metal, which didn’t facilitate soft sliding to well. Eventually, wheels started to be manufactured of polyurethane which allowed performing new tricks on wheeled boards.
In the beginning, it was surfers who rode skateboards, trying to transfer the tricks from water to the asphalt surface. Then in the early ’70s, when California suffered drought, some skaters figured out they might try and skate in a drained pool. This is how surfing over concrete waves emerged in the suburbs of Los Angeles, San Diego, San Fransisco, and other places in California. Gradually, these skateboarders — who also were surfers — learned to perform incredible tricks, including airs. And, naturally, they wanted to transfer the aerial maneuver to the ocean waves. Thus a reverse process occurred: skateboarding had been influenced by surfing at first, and then surfing, in its turn, has been influenced back by skateboarding.
Impact of Skateboarding on Surfing
Many have achieved similar advancements in both surfing and skateboarding. Christian Fletcher is among them. He was one of the first to transfer skateboarding tricks back into the ocean. Skateboarding was the reason why the legendary Kelly Slater started performing high-amplitude airs. Zoltan Torkos won USD 10,000 for performing the world’s first surfboard kickflip ever.
But performing tricks is not the only aspect where surfing was influenced by the skateboard. Many pro surfers use surfskates to master their surf skills onshore.
Nowadays, regular nonpro surfers use surfskates for practicing. It helps to improve one’s balance and coordination and to refine one’s style. It also allows surfers to learn maneuvers by doing an infinite number of repetitions over and over again — which, as you must already know, is not quite possible on the ocean waves.