Press Release: June 12, 1999

Dylan Gardner noseslide

Urban skateboarders look at benches, concrete obstacles, stairs, and the rest of the city landscape and ask, "Can I skate that?" They can and they do. Now find out how as this extreme sport meets physics in a first of its kind event, the Science of Skateboarding at the Exploratorium.

On Saturday, June 12, from 12 noon to 3 p.m., the counterculture of Bay Area skateboarders performs their signature stunts in a specially constructed skate park of rails and ramps. Meanwhile, Exploratorium physicists do the color commentary: how the principles of momentum, gravity, friction, and centripetal force affect the sport and govern these totally cool moves. Skateboarding history, couture, technology, and argot—from "noseslide" to "tailslide"—are all part of the day’s events.

Scientists will explain the underlying physics of such skateboard standards as the ollie, the nollie, and the kickflip. Slow motion video will also be available to help analyze the sport’s characteristic moves. Find out how a skateboard’s structure and material affect ride quality. And get an inside look at how skateboard manufacture—including the development of new technologies—is driving this fast-growing sport.

This event is free with admission to the Exploratorium. The Science of Skateboarding will also be available live online at, from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m.

© The Exploratorium