How Boards Have Changed Over Time
The Science and Art of Skateboard Design (continued...)
Over the past decades, skateboarding has gone through many phases and swings in popularity. Riding styles have changed many times, and are still evolving, and as Piumarta related, skateboard designers have to change the design of boards to support and enhance those styles:
"Considering that the early 70's were all downhill riding, slalom riding, we made boards that were almost like snow skis.
Then skateboard parks and pools came along, we had flat 10-inch wide boards with no nose and a big kicktail, because everyone was just going forward and carving in pools and parks. Street skating took over, and we introduced the first street skateboard back in 1979, and it was called the Street Skate of course. As skateboard parks closed and people moved out into the street, the ten-inch boards wouldn't work. So all the boards got narrow, and eventually I started putting upturned nose into some of our early concaves. Which eventually migrated right over into narrow boards on the street with an upturned nose and an upturned tail, with concave, but all at around8 and one half to 9 inches wide.
Vert, as pool riding was called, came back in the form of ramp riding back in the mid-80-'s, and boards got wide again, up to 9 inches wide. Again big concaves, upturned noses, a lot more tricks being done than in the late 70's, so the upturned nose stayed on those boards. Then with vert really dying down, and street skating going crazy, which is where we're at right now, the boards have gotten down even narrower than what was called a freestyle board back in the late 70's. These boards are 7 1/2 -7 3/4 inches wide, big upturned nose, big tail, and a lot of concave, and again the thickness varying form 3/8 inch to 420/1000."
So the size and shape of the skateboard has been fluid, changing to fit the needs and demands of the riders, reflecting the changing interests and styles of skaters out on the street. Many former pro riders have gone into the design and production of skateboards; perhaps that is why skateboard manufacturers are so attuned to the needs of skaters.