Exploring Old School Skateboards

Old school skateboarding had a major impact on popular culture in the 1970s and 1980s. Skateboarders were often seen as rebels and counterculture figures. They were featured in movies such as Thrashin’ and Police Academy, and they were even the subject of a Saturday morning cartoon show called The Skatebirds.

Old school skateboarding also influenced fashion. Skateboarders wore baggy pants, Vans shoes, and bandanas. They also had their own unique slang, such as “gnarly” and “radical.”

Old school skateboarding also had a significant impact on music. Bands such as the Ramones and Black Flag wrote songs about skateboarding, and skateboarding videos were often set to punk rock music.


Old school skateboards represent a cherished chapter in the history of skateboarding, characterized by distinctive designs and a unique era of creativity. As we dive into the world of old school skateboards, we’ll uncover their fascinating history, anatomy, and their resurgence in contemporary skateboarding culture.

The design of old school skateboards

Old school skateboards are typically made of wood, with a long, narrow deck and a small kicktail at the back. The deck is usually covered in grip tape, which helps the rider keep their feet on the board.

Old school skateboards have small, hard wheels, which are typically made of polyurethane. The wheels are attached to the deck by trucks, which allow the board to turn.

Old school skateboards often have simple, iconic designs. Some of the most popular designs feature skulls, animals, and surf-inspired imagery.

Some of the most popular old school skateboard brands include:

  • Powell Peralta
  • Santa Cruz
  • Dogtown
  • Independent
  • Spitfire

Old school skateboarding culture

Old school skateboarding culture is characterized by a number of things, including:

  • Skateboarding fashion: Old school skateboarders typically wear baggy pants, Vans shoes, and bandanas. They also have their own unique slang, such as “gnarly” and “radical.”
  • Skateboarding tricks:¬†Some of the most popular old school skateboarding tricks include the ollie, the kickflip, and the board slide.
  • Skateboarding competitions: Old school skateboarding competitions are typically held at skateparks and feature a variety of different events, such as pool skating, vert skating, and street skating.
  • Skateboarding magazines and videos: Old school skateboarding magazines and videos were very popular in the 1970s and 1980s. These publications helped to promote skateboarding culture and inspire new generations of skateboarders.

The Anatomy of Old School Skateboards

Deck Design and Shape

Old school skateboard decks are easily recognizable by their classic shapes. They often feature a pointed or squared-off nose and a squared tail. These shapes not only harken back to the early days of skateboarding but also influence the rider’s style. The wider platform allows for a stable ride, while the pointed nose opens up the possibility of nose tricks.

Wheels and Trucks

Wheels and trucks have come a long way since the inception of skateboarding. Old school skateboards typically sport larger, softer wheels that offer a smoother ride and better grip on rough terrain. The trucks on these setups are often wider and more substantial, providing stability and control.

Grip Tape and Accessories

Classic grip tape designs with bold colors and patterns are a hallmark of old school skateboards. They exude a sense of nostalgia that resonates with riders who fondly remember the early days of the sport. Additionally, vintage accessories like riser pads, rails, and nose guards complete the retro aesthetic.

A Walk Down Memory Lane: Historical Context

To appreciate old school skateboards fully, it’s essential to understand their historical context. Skateboarding emerged in the 1950s and 1960s Skateboards as a way for surfers to ride the streets when the waves were flat. The 1970s witnessed a skateboard boom, marked by the proliferation of skateparks and the rise of legendary skateboarders like Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta. However, the sport faced a decline in the 1980s due to various factors.

The Resurgence of Old School Skateboards

In recent years, there has been a notable resurgence of interest in old school skateboards. This revival can be attributed to several factors, including nostalgia for the past and a desire to reconnect with skateboarding’s roots. Contemporary skateboarders have embraced old school setups for their distinctive feel and aesthetic, bringing new life to these classic designs. Collecting vintage skateboards has also become a popular hobby for enthusiasts.

Riding Old School Skateboards

Riding an old school skateboard is a unique experience. The wider decks and softer wheels provide a smooth and stable ride, making them suitable for cruising and carving. Transition and pool skating also benefit from the stability and control offered by old school setups. While adjusting to the retro features may take some time, many riders find the experience to be both enjoyable and rewarding.

Restoring and Customizing Old School Skateboards

Restoring vintage skateboards is a labor of love for many enthusiasts. It involves finding and refurbishing old school components to bring a skateboard back to its former glory. Tips for finding and selecting vintage skateboard parts are crucial in this process. Additionally, personalizing and customizing old school setups with unique graphics and accessories allow riders to make these boards their own.

Old School Skateboarding Communities

Old school skateboarding has fostered a sense of community among enthusiasts. Online forums, social media groups, and skateboarding events dedicated to old school setups provide spaces for riders to connect, share their passion, and exchange knowledge. These communities celebrate the nostalgia and history associated with old school skateboards.

The Influence of Old School Skateboarding

Old school skateboarding has a significant influence on modern skateboarding culture. Many brands and artists pay homage to the retro aesthetic in their designs and products. Old school skateboarding plays a crucial role in preserving the history of skateboarding, ensuring that the lessons and creativity of the past continue to inspire and inform the future.


Old school skateboards represent not only a nostalgic journey but also a testament to the enduring appeal of skateboarding’s roots. As skateboarders explore the rich history of the sport through old school setups, they discover a connection to the pioneers who paved the way. These classic skateboards continue to hold a special place in the hearts of riders, reminding us of the creativity and innovation that have shaped the culture of skateboarding.

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