‘A really distinctive object’_ Design Museum to chart historical past of skateboards

From its origins within the California hills to its ubiquity on city streets around the globe, the historical past of skateboarding spans seven a long time over which it has developed from fringe sport to Olympics occasion.


The place as soon as surfers nailed curler skates to makeshift picket boards to practise their strikes on concrete when there have been no waves, the continuing commercialisation of the game has led to a booming trade.

Now a London exhibition is to chart the trail from these humble home made boards of the Nineteen Fifties by way of to in the present day’s hi-tech skilled fashions.


Particulars of the Design Museum present, which opens within the autumn, have been introduced to coincide with the one-year countdown from Wednesday to the beginning of the Paris Olympics.

The exhibition will function about 90 uncommon and distinctive boards together with greater than 100 different objects, together with wheels and vans, security gear, VHS tapes, DVDs, magazines and ephemera. Half of the skateboards will likely be on mortgage from the Skateboarding Corridor of Fame Museum in California.


A home made skateboard from the mid Nineteen Fifties. {Photograph}: Caleb J Adams

The game originated in California, the place skaters initially skated in swimming pools or bowls. Within the UK, skaters tailored the fashion to go well with the British climate and concrete terrain. A spotlight will likely be a 1967 skateboard produced by the Newquay-based surf firm Bilbo, considered one of many earliest examples of a business board offered below a British firm title.

Additionally on show would be the famed skateboarder Tony Hawk’s first skilled mannequin, from 1982, with its variations for the vert fashion of skateboarding – utilizing vertical ramps slightly than floor terrain; early home made boards from Nineteen Fifties California modelled on the design of curler skates, scooters, and surfboards; and the primary two fashions to function a kicktail – the raised tail enabling skaters to pivot the board on the again wheels to carry out tips.

It would additionally function Laura Thornhill’s Logan Earth Ski Seventies professional mannequin, the primary girls’s professional mannequin, and professional fashions from the most important skaters of the Nineteen Eighties to the 2000s, together with Steve Caballero, Rodney Mullen, Mike Vallely, Mark Gonzales, Matt Hensley and PJ Ladd. Sky Brown, who at 13 gained a bronze medal for Crew GB on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, is represented by way of her first professional mannequin, the Sky Brown x Skateistan Nearly deck.

A Makaha kicktail, 1969. {Photograph}: Caleb J Adams

Tim Marlow, the chief government of the Design Museum, mentioned: “Skateboards, typically misunderstood as being simply toys, at the moment are technically refined merchandise responding to continuously altering city environments. It is a story of design, efficiency and communities evolving collectively.”

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Jonathan Olivares, the curator of the present, mentioned: “This exhibition is centred round a single query: how did the skateboard get to be the way in which it’s?”

Tory Turk, a co-curator, mentioned: “From Californian hills to British automobile parks, in the present day the skateboard’s presence is ingrained in our on a regular basis. This exhibition takes you on a journey by way of time, design and house – positioning the skateboard as a really distinctive object.”