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TKebaily Tar HeefThu'rsday.Apra 16,-19813
By JOANNE GORDON
Click, click, whiz, swoosh, YIPE!
Walking to class, you are almost
wiped out not by a mad bicyclist
who insists on plowing down traffic,
but by a skater. Not a rollerskater,
but a skateboardist.
With spring fever in the air, skaters
have pulled their boards out of the
closets and have taken to the streets,
er . . . sidewalks.
These skaters are the "new gener
ation" of skateboardists the
products of the second incarnation
of the skateboard.
Skateboards "were born in the
f930s when daredevils tacked rollers
kate wheels to the ends of two-by-four
planks. These sportists often
added an upright bar or orange crate
to make handle bars that enabled
them to steer.
These early "scooter boards" were
later transformed into the wider
model used today.
When skateboarding developed
again in the early 1960s, it was a way
for Southern California surfers to
practice their moves when the waves
were not cooperative.
During the 1960s, skateboarding,
much like the hula hoop, had a short
lived existence as a fad. Like most
fads, the craze died within a few
It suffered from both a loss of
interest and an increased awareness
of danger. In 1965, the National
Safety Council issued an alert of the
risks and injuries associated with the
sport. Some cities banned skate
boarding from the streets and prose
cuted offending skaters.
Despite the risks it caused, skate
boarding rose again in 1973, with
improvements in the boards, trucks
(the two-wheel chassis) and wheels
contributing to its rebirth.
Frank Nasworthy, sometimes
referred to as the "Father of Skate
boarding." sparked the skating
renaissance when he introduced the
polyurethane wheel in 1973.
These wheels, though slower than
metal ones, offered greater traction
and better maneuverability. "The
urethane wheel uses a rubbery com
pound which is more resilent than
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metal wheels like roller skate wheels,"
said Andrew Baxter, a UNC senior
who has been skateboarding since the
age of 12. It is a lot safer to use
and gives more control.
(Skateboarding) got popular again
The sport also gained popularity
because, like surfing and gymnastics,
it involved more individual creative
expression than organized sports,
according to Baxter.
I RESTAURANT I
Andrew Baxter(Ieft) and George Jenne (right) show
"In other sports, there is a coach
or somebody telling you how to do
it. Like football you have to run
a play. But with skating, nobody tells
you how to do it. You make up your
own form. ... It is more creative,"
After its rebirth, skateboarding
became more widespread on the East
and West coasts. Yet the fad died
again. The cause of death? Unknown.
In the early 1980s, skateboarding
off their skateboarding skills in
enthusiasts changed the name of the
sport to skating, and it began to
thrive again. It is now here to stay,
according to Baxter, who says skat
ing is now more than just a fad: it's
This time skaters are using the
"new and improved" wider board
that gives the rider more control. The
boards popular in the early 1970s
were 20 to 30 inches long, 3 to 4
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inches wide, and fish-shaped with
kickback tails. The wider boards,
while still about 2 feet long, are 4
to 6 inches wide and more rectan
gular in shape.
And this time, ask enthusiasts and
they 11 say skating is more than a fad.
"The thing that I would most like
to see is to have it portrayed seriously,
because it is a sport." Baxter said.