Skateboarding is perceived as many things: an extreme sport, a hobby, performance art, transportation, and fitness. Skateboarding became popular in California when surfing began to permeate pop culture, in the mid-twentieth century. When there weren’t any waves to be had, surfers could cruise the streets on clunky, wheeled boards. Over time, the activity and the boards themselves have evolved, attracting a broad swath of enthusiasts around the world. Whether you want to learn how to skate, catch up on the latest skating news, buy gear, or dissect the physical execution of the most complex tricks, these are the best sites devoted to skateboarding.
Transworld is a print and online magazine devoted to all things concerned with skateboarding. You’ll have to subscribe to get the full bounty of the site, but there’s more than enough to check out before you decide to commit. Any good skateboarding site will have videos and photos, and Transworld has these in spades. Both are categorized by event, and you could spend hours taking them all in. There are also reviews and links to places you can by clothing, gear, and accessories, and a whole section of how-to guides. These are mostly in video form, and are prefaced by an explanation of the trick or transition in question by the featured skater. Subscribe to the RSS feed to get the latest news as it is published.
Thrasher magazine is the household name for skaters and the folks who know them. Once again, you will have to subscribe to see it all, but what’s on the surface will keep you busy for quite some time. The store links to deals you won’t find elsewhere; there are thirteen categories for videos, including crashes and contest winners. You can find out more about the music used on the site under the “Features” bar, where there are also tons of contests and giveaways you can enter. You can check the interactive skate park map to find a spot to shred on nearly every continent (excepting Antarctica). There is also a forum page you may join to discuss matters of all sorts. After you have perused the site, friended, followed, liked, and subscribed to Thrasher’s YouTube channel and RSS feed, you might as well subscribe to the magazine to make it official.
Skateboarder Magazine’s page resembles many of the better news sites, where you can get a rundown of the latest articles, photos, videos, and features. A sidebar displays the day’s Twitter feed, Facebook activity, comments, and industry news. There are scads of contests you can enter to win decks, wheels, boards, and more. If you like what you see, you can subscribe to the print and/or online magazine to get full access to the site. Without a subscription, you can still view videos, photos, and articles.
Exploratorium is the museum of science, art and human perception. This is their treatment of skateboarding. Using the principles of physics, this site explains the exact processes that comprise skateboarding tricks and maneuvers. There is also a historical overview of the evolution of the boards: the wheels, bearings, trucks, and designs of popular boards are all examined in depth. The changes in skateboarding culture since its introduction in the 1940s.
Not surprisingly, the all-encompassing how-to site, About.com has a pretty thorough skateboarding site. There are links to videos that show you step-by-step execution of tricks ranging from basic to death defying. The site also features articles on building skateboards, longboards, history, lifestyle, and events. There is also a link to other boardsports for those who love the ride on any terrain. About.com is a great place to start for beginners, and a nice resource for finding the latest news.
Life magazine, famous for it’s beautiful and iconic photography has your favorite activity covered in the most spectacular way. If you’re wild about skateboarding, take a moment to read through Life’s treatment of the sport, the lifestyle, and the craze, as it was in the 1960s. Skater girls will draw particular inspiration from the cover photo of champion skateboarder, Pat McGee stylishly pulling off tricks in her bare feet, white jeans, red sweater, and beehive hair.