Old School Skateboarding: A Nostalgic Look Back

In the world of skateboarding, the term "old school" carries a weight of nostalgia and reverence. It refers to an era when skateboarding was not just a sport but a cultural movement, a lifestyle embraced by rebels and misfits seeking freedom and expression. Let's take a journey back to the golden age of skateboarding, exploring its defining characteristics, legendary skaters, and the lasting influence of old school techniques on the modern scene.

The Golden Age of Skateboarding: What It Looked Like

The golden age of skateboarding is often considered to be the late 1970s through the 1980s. It was a time when skateboarding culture was booming, fueled by the emergence of skate parks, magazines, and competitions. Skateboarding was no longer just a pastime; it had become a legitimate subculture with its own fashion, music, and attitude.

Skateboarding during this era was characterized by its raw energy and DIY ethos. Skaters would repurpose empty swimming pools, drainage ditches, and any other concrete terrain they could find to create their own makeshift skate parks. These makeshift spots became iconic battlegrounds where skaters pushed the boundaries of what was possible on a board.

The style of skating in the old school era was heavily influenced by surfing, with an emphasis on smooth, flowing movements. Skaters emulated the surfers of California, carving graceful lines and incorporating elements of surf style into their tricks.

Legendary Old School Skaters and their Contributions

The golden age of skateboarding produced a roster of legendary skaters whose contributions helped shape the sport into what it is today. These pioneers pushed the limits of what was possible on a skateboard and inspired generations of riders to follow in their footsteps.

Tony Alva
One such legend is Tony Alva, often referred to as the godfather of modern skateboarding. Alva's aggressive style and fearless attitude made him a force to be reckoned with on the ramps and in the streets. His pioneering tricks, such as the frontside air and the backside 360, helped establish the foundation of modern vert skating.

If you want to find out more, check out the Dogtown and Z-Boys movie.
Stacy Peralta

Another iconic figure from the old school era is Stacy Peralta, a talented skater and visionary filmmaker. Peralta's role in the influential skateboarding documentary "Dogtown and Z-Boys" helped immortalize the rebellious spirit of the Zephyr skate team and brought skateboarding culture to a wider audience.

Rodney Mullen
Other notable old school skaters include Rodney Mullen, who revolutionized street skating with his groundbreaking flatground tricks, and Jay Adams, whose fearless style and raw talent made him a skateboarding icon. If we were going to talk about Rodney's contribution, it would be a whole article in itself (coming soon, no doubt).

UK Skateboarding
We also have a reich history of old school skateboarding and skateboards which was recently celebrated at the London Calling! event. You can find out more about that here.

How Old School Techniques Influence Modern Skateboarding

While skateboarding has evolved significantly since its old school days, the influence of those early pioneers can still be felt in the sport today. Many of the techniques and tricks developed during the golden age continue to inform the way skaters approach their craft.

One area where old school techniques remain prominent is in the realm of pool and vert skating. Skaters like Tony Hawk, who rose to prominence in the 1980s, built upon the foundation laid by pioneers like Tony Alva and continued to push the boundaries of what was possible on vertical terrain.

Additionally, the DIY ethos of old school skateboarding is still alive and well in the skateboarding community. Skaters continue to seek out abandoned pools, drainage ditches, and other unconventional spots to skate, embracing the spirit of creativity and resourcefulness that defined the golden age.

Even in street skating, where the focus is on technical tricks and obstacle skating, the influence of old school techniques can be seen. Many modern street skaters incorporate elements of old school style into their skating, whether it's in the form of stylish carves and flowy lines or in the homage paid to classic tricks like the ollie and kickflip.

Old school skateboarding holds a special place in the hearts of skaters worldwide. It represents a time when skateboarding was not just a sport but a way of life, a culture built on passion, creativity, and camaraderie. While the sport has evolved in countless ways since its golden age, the influence of those early pioneers remains as strong as ever, serving as a reminder of skateboarding's rich history and enduring spirit.