The Ultimate Guide

by Becky Beal


In the late 1970s, Alan Gelfand figured out a way to keep a skateboard under his feet while in the air—without using his hands. In the early 1980s, another pioneer skateboarder named Rodney Mullen adapted this technique for use on flat ground, allowing him to pop onto—or over—obstacles without stopping. This now-basic trick—named "the Ollie" after Gelfand's own nickname—has become the foundation maneuver of modern skateboarding.

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Cover image for Skateboarding

January 2013


Pages 150
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Popular Culture/Sports, Recreation, and Leisure

From skateboarding's distant origins in the 1940s to the heyday of the Z-Boys to Tony Hawk's lifelong and lucrative career as a professional skateboarding icon, this book showcases what skateboarding was in the past and what it's now evolved into.

In the last half century, skateboarding has evolved from a simple, idyllic child's pastime that originated in southern California to becoming a worldwide youth culture phenomenon. This now-mainstream action sport has spawned a multi-billion-dollar commercial market for skateboarding equipment, skateboard-related media and entertainment, as well as skate-inspired softgoods like clothing, shoes, and accessories; and it is likely to soon become an Olympic sport.

Skateboarding: The Ultimate Guide is brimming with fascinating history and engaging stories from skateboarding's 60-odd year existence and evolution. Covering the action sport's origins, myriad breakthrough developments, pioneering heroes, both "street style" and "vert" or ramp skating, unique popular culture, and likely future, this book will delight anyone with an interest in this individualistic and compelling athletic pursuit.


    • Bibliography includes primary and secondary sources and current websites
    • Glossary provides a comprehensive list of skating "lingo"
    • Index contains a comprehensive listing of names, companies, places, and terms


  • Written by an author who has been researching the cultural and political dynamics of skateboarding for two decades and is an expert on the social significance of skateboarding
  • Highly readable accounts of skateboarding during a long-ago era make history come alive for today's youth reader
  • Describes not only the sport of skateboarding but the unique culture that has now permeated much of modern popular culture
Author Info

Becky Beal, PhD, is associate professor of kinesiology at California State University in Hayward, CA, where she teaches classes in the sociology and philosophy of sport. Beal has been researching the cultural and political dynamics of skateboarding for 20 years and has published several articles and book chapters on the social significance of skateboarding.

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