10 Blam Facts about Skateboarding!
If you're going to spend the day at Beanotown's skatepark, here are some awesome facts you might want to learn and share with your blam crew!
Beanotown's very own skate park is busy after school, at the weekends and during the school holidays, with many people queuing to have a go on the blam ramps. Phil E.S. Dogg has spent the day there and tried his best to win the Beanotown Skateboarding Championships! While he was there, he learned quite a lot about this awesome sport.
Here's what he found out...
1. Skateboarding has been around since the 1950s
Californian brothers Bill and Mark Richards invented the skateboard in 1958, by attaching roller skate wheels to a board. They named it the Roller Derby Skateboard. Later on, a chap called Larry Stevenson added the kicktail to the board, which allowed people to develop their own cool tricks. It was not invented by Marty McFly in the first Back to the Future movie, no matter what Hollywood wants you to believe. Skateboarding is very popular in Beanotown, and its skate park just appeared one day and no-one knows who built it.
2. A skateboarder named Alan invented the 'ollie' trick
The addition of the kicktail allowed Alan Gelfand to invent the 'ollie' trick, which allows the skateboarder to jump into the air. It's very complicated to explain (and do) but it involves pushing your feet down onto the board and, thanks to physics, it will then pop into the air. Any skateboarder who wants to do lots of cool tricks, must master this one first. Alan's nickname was Ollie, by the way.
3. Surfers pioneered skateboarding because they were bored!
Skateboarding's popularity in California took off because surfers wanted something fun to do when the waves were lower than a snake's belly, and it was originally called 'sidewalk surfing'. It was extremely dangerous at first, because skateboards had metal or hard clay wheels to begin with and no-one really thought to wear helmets. In the early 1970s, an engineering student called Frank Nasworthy created a safer wheel, which is used to this day. They're made out of polyurethane polymer, and we definitely don't need to Google what an earth that is.
4. The world's biggest skateboard was over 11 metres long!
In 2009, two people from the United States of America – that's Rob Dyrdek and Joe Ciaglia – decided to create a new world record for the biggest skateboard. It measured 11.14 metres long and 2.63 metres wide. It was also 1.1 metres high. Do you know how many times bigger this is compared to a normal-sized deck? That's right. 12.5 times bigger! It's not something you can pop under your arm and go to the park with.
5. The world record for the most kickflips is quite ridiculous!
In 2008, an American skateboarder called Zach Kral did 1546 kickflips in a row at the Four Seasons Skate Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Beanotown skatepark record is much lower, but it's something Dennis, Gnasher and Phil are currently working on beating.
6. Skateboarding is a form of transport!
You might see Dennis go to the shops – or the library – on his skateboard, but Andrew Andras went much, much further than that in 2017. He holds the Guinness World Record for the longest distance traveled on a skateboard in a 24-hour period. He went 309 miles! That's the same distance as a journey from London to Cologne in Germany!
7. Skateboarding became an Olympic sport in 2021!
Just a few decades after its invention, skateboarding was officially recognised as an Olympic sport and made its debut at the Tokyo Olympics. Britain picked up a bronze medal, thanks to Sky Brown, who became Britain’s youngest ever medallist in Olympic history. She was also voted the winner of the Beano Power Awards: Fave Sports Star category by you!
8. Norway banned skateboarding for over 10 years!
Between 1978 and 1989, Norway decided that skateboarding was a "public menace" and banned it completely! The government felt it was too dangerous, but that didn't stop people keen to learn the sport and built secret ramps in forests. These days, Norway hosts an X-Games competition every year.
9. The largest underground skatepark in the world can be found in Hastings!
In 2016, an old Victorian swimming pool In Hastings was converted into a skatepark under the promenade and now hosts major skateboarding and BMX competitions. You can even get lessons there!
10. In 2021, over 100,000 people rode a skateboard in the UK!
According to research, and estimated 103,800 people took part in some form of skateboarding activity in the UK in 2021. It's one of the most blam things you can do. Beanotown skate park is always busy, but not during school hours, obviously.