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Skateboarding is much more than just a sport. It’s a culture, a lifestyle and a form of expression that has captivated people all over the world.

From its humble origins on the streets of California, skateboarding has evolved to become a widely recognized and respected activity.

In this guide, you’ll dive deep into the universe of this sport and find out everything about skateboarding, such as its history, rules, protective equipment, disciplines, top skaters and championships.

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Skateboarding history

guia tudo sobre o skate
Bob Burnquist (Picture: Jed Jacobsohn)

Skateboarding originated in California in the 1960s as a form of entertainment for surfers at low tide.

They basically took a wooden board and added roller skate wheels so that they could “surf” the city streets. No wonder the practice became known in the region as “sidewalk surfing”.

The first skateboards were quite rudimentary. However, with the popularization of the new sport, especially in the 1970s, they began to be marketed to a higher standard of quality.

It’s worth noting that the initial shape of the skateboard was rectangular. Larry Stevenson, however, revolutionized the market by producing the oval shape we know today. The entrepreneur was even the founder of the popular Makaha brand.

During this period, there were other significant advances in skateboard technology, such as trucks (axles) and wheels, which allowed for greater control and mobility.



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Over time, competitions, professional athletes and specialized skateboarding magazines erupted in the USA, helping the sport to become not only a global phenomenon, but also a lifestyle.

Tony Hawk is considered one of the main people responsible for the internationalization of the sport. The charismatic American skateboarder took part in competitions, created products and spread the sport.

Who hasn’t played Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater on PlayStation? The franchise has won over a legion of fans, even those who didn’t practice skateboarding.

Skateboarding rules

Professional skateboarding is divided into several categories, each with its own peculiarities, so there is no global set of rules in the sport.

Generally, a championship is won by the skater who performs best among the participants, offering a repertoire of maneuvers that are diverse, complex, well executed and within the stipulated time.

In the sport’s competitions, these maneuvers and moves are judged by a panel of expert skateboarders.

Skateboarding styles

modalides do skate
Bowl (Picture: Nicolas Jacquemin)
  • Street
  • Vert
  • Freestyle
  • Slalom
  • Park
  • Downhill

Street

skate street
Street

Street is the most popular and practiced sport in the world. Skaters use urban obstacles such as handrails, stairs, benches and ledges to perform maneuvers such as ollies, kickflips, grinds and slides.

Vert

skate vert
Vert

Vert is practiced on ramps with steep inclines. Skaters perform aerial maneuvers such as grab tricks, inverts and spins.

The main subdivisions of vert skateboarding are: bowl (rinks in the shape of empty pools), banks (shallower “pools” without sloping walls), half-pipe (the traditional “U” shaped ramps), mini ramps and mega ramps.

Freestyle

skate freestyle
Freestyle

Freestyle is characterized by creative and choreographed tricks, often performed on a flat area or on specific tracks. Freestyle skaters perform not only traditional tricks, but also dance, balance and spin tricks.

Slalom

skate slalom
Slalom

Slalom skateboarding involves navigating a course of cones at high speed. In this way, the skater has to perform tight turns and technical maneuvers to complete the course as quickly as possible.

Park

skate park
Park

Park is one of skateboarding’s most recent disciplines and includes several elements from other categories. In it, athletes have to perform maneuvers on a course made up of ramps, bowls, handrails, banks and stairs.

In this way, they can perform maneuvers from both vertical skateboarding (grab tricks, inverts, spins) and street skateboarding (ollies, kickflips, grinds, slides).

Downhill?

skate downhill
Downhill

Downhill is the least popular category in the sport. It consists of going down steep slopes, either performing maneuvers (slide downhill) or as fast as possible in order to achieve the best time (speeddownhill).

Variety of skateboards

  • Skateboard
  • Longboard
  • Cruiser
  • Waveboard

Skateboard?

skateboard
Skateboard

The skateboard is the traditional board we know, made up of a board, trucks, wheels, bearings and anti-slip tape. It is the model used in the main disciplines, such as street, park and vertical.

Longboard

longboard
Longboard

The longboard, when compared to the skateboard, has a longer board and softer wheels, ideal for high-speed descents. This model is often used in downhill races.

Cruiser

skate cruiser
Cruiser

The cruiser is a smaller version of the longboard, i.e. smaller and faster. They are not used in competitions, only in everyday life. Many people use this model to get around cities, work, etc..

Waveboard

waveboard
Waveboard

The waveboard is a more modern model, made up of just two wheels. To propel it, we need to perform a lateral rocking movement, alternating our weight from one foot to the other, as if we were a “snake”.

Skate equipment

Skateboarders often use a variety of equipment to improve their performance and ensure their safety. These include helmets, knee pads, elbow pads and gloves (in the case of downhill).

This equipment is essential for those who practice the sport, as falls, stumbles and bumps are very common.

Skateboarding requires balance. In addition, we always fall to the ground until we master a maneuver, especially those that involve a flip.

Benefits of skateboarding

  • It requires a high level of coordination between the lower and upper limbs, which helps to improve dexterity and balance;
  • It involves the use of many parts of the body, such as the legs, abdomen, arms and back, which contributes to muscle strengthening;
  • Skateboarding is an effective cardiovascular exercise that helps improve endurance and lung capacity;
  • Maintaining balance on the board while performing tricks helps develop stability skills;
  • It involves performing maneuvers, tricks and movements that improve fine and gross motor skills;
  • Playing sport can be a therapeutic activity that helps reduce stress, anxiety and improve mood;
  • Learning new skills and maneuvers helps increase self-confidence and self-esteem;
  • It is a form of artistic expression, allowing skaters to develop their own style and creativity in their tricks;
  • Many skaters like to practice outdoors, which promotes a connection with nature and the environment.

Most important skateboarding championships

rayssa leal
Rayssa Leal – Tóquio 2020
  • Olympic Games
  • World Skateboarding Championship
  • Street League
  • X Games

Olympic Games

Finally, after many years, skateboarding was introduced to the Olympic Games in 2020 as an official sport. The sport has been divided into four categories: men’s street, women’s street, men’s park and women’s park.

In Tokyo, the winners were:

  • Sakura Yosozumi (Japan) – Women’s Park
  • Keegan Palmer (Australia) – Men’s Park
  • Momiji Nishiya (Japan) – Women’s Street
  • Yuto Horigome (Japan) – Men’s Street

World Skateboarding Championship

Every year, the World Skateboarding Championship is held by World Skate, the sport’s governing body.

Only the best street and park athletes compete in the championship, just like in the Olympic Games.

Until 2017 there were two separate tournaments. The Street World Championship was called the SLS Super Crown World Championship and the Park World Championship was called the Vans Park Series World Championship. After 2017, both events were unified.

Five different Brazilians have already won the World Skateboarding Championships: Pedro Barros in park and Kelvin Hoefler, Letícia Bufoni, Pamela Rosa and Rayssa Leal in street.

Rayssa is the current two-time champion of the tournament. She won the World Cup in 2022 and 2023, cementing her name as the best female street skater today.

Street League

Street League Skateboarding, often abbreviated to SLS, is a professional street skateboarding league founded in 2010 by former professional skateboarder Rob Dyrdek. The event is one of the most prestigious competitions in the world and attracts some of the best skateboarders on the planet.

The SLS holds a series of stages throughout the year, in different cities and countries. The skaters compete in heats, where they perform tricks and maneuvers to accumulate points and advance in the tournament.

The SLS format is known for its points system, which rewards the technical and consistent execution of difficult tricks. Skaters are judged on criteria such as difficulty, style and creativity.

X Games

The X Games is an event that focuses on extreme and action sports such as skateboarding, cycling, snowboarding, skiing and motocross. Skateboarding is currently divided into three disciplines: park, street and vertical.

Created by the ESPN channel in 1995, the competition has become one of the biggest and most prestigious championships of its kind in the world.

In addition to the tournaments, the X Games also has other attractions, such as live shows, music, interactive events and the opportunity for fans to get closer to the athletes and the extreme sports culture.

Greatest skateboarders of all time

tony hawk
Tony Hawk (Picture: Gareth Cattermole)
  • Tony Hawk (United States)
  • Daewon Song (South Korea)
  • Elissa Steamer (United States)
  • Bob Burnquist (Brazil)
  • Rodney Mullen (United States)
  • Stacy Peralta (United States)
  • Lyn-Z Adams (United States)
  • Nyjah Huston (United States)
  • Rayssa Leal (Brazil)
  • Mark Gonzales (United States)
  • Tony Alva (United States)
  • Letícia Bufoni (Brazil)

That’s it! Now you know everything about skateboarding. Did you like this content? Let us know what you think in the comments, as it’s very valuable to us!

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