We Own the Sidewalks

Skating in Los Angeles, 1966
Contest winners, 1965
Phil Edwards, 1964

Skateboarding was the boom within the boom. Except it was actually bigger. By the numbers, skateboarding blew surfing out of the water, with 50 million skateboards reportedly sold worldwide during the first half of the 1960s, compared to perhaps a million or two surfboards. Here was a sport that arrived with every possible teen-market advantage. The board itself was cheap, and could be ridden anywhere, in any kind of dry-weather conditions. It was functional—skateboarding got you there a lot ...

Skateboarding, at first, was nothing more than surfing on land. Skaters wore the exact same Levis, logo T-shirts, and Pendletons as surfers. Pushing authenticity to the limit, they even rode shoeless—the gnarled black-soled feet of the dedicated skater were a bane of suburban mothers coast to coast.