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A skateboard is a platform typically made of wood,76-91 cm long (2 1/2 to 3 feet) that is attached to 2 metal parts called trucks. These trucks are made of two parts: the top part of the truck is attached to the bottom part of the skateboard and is called the baseplate. The bottom part of the truck is called the hanger. Between the baseplate and the hanger are bushings (other names are rubbers and grommets) that provide the spring mechanism for turning the skateboard. A bolt called a kingpin holds the truck parts together. Attached to the two ends of each truck are wheels. On trains, and other vehicles, the similar item that holds the wheels to the vehicle are also called trucks.

Skateboards are used for skateboarding and skateboarding tricks.

History of the skateboard

In the beginning, a skateboard was just made of wooden planks, little more than two by fours with the wheels from roller skates attached to the bottom. Often the wheels were made of clay.

Stage two was the plastic surfboard imitations that were small and unstable. The wheels began as clay but were later replaced with plastics.

Stage three was the attempt to make them more interesting and flexible. They all had kicktails now, an approximately 20 degree slope up of the last 7,5 or 10 cm (3 or 4 inches aprox.) of the board, behind the back wheels. Materials included fiberglass ply (sucessful but seldom seen now) and aluminium (bad idea because the edges became very sharp). (The aluminium board, though, presaged the current skateboard style of having a kicktail at both ends).

Stage four was when the wide boards and trucks came on the scene and everything changed. The tricks that could be performed expanded tremendously and the equipment and control needed to handle extreme vertical terrain was finally available. This was the first renaissance in skateboarding (later followed by the Ollie). Boards were now 20 to 25 cm wide(8 to 10 inches aprox.) , with wheels well out to the edges. Wheels were generally soft polyurethane and came in a large variety of colors, sizes and degrees of hardness (durometer). The decks had a kicktail still, and a very useful convex surface running the length of the board.

Stage five was when the Ollie took over and the wide boards were too heavy and unidirectional to accommodate all of the tricks being invented. The boards narrowed to about 20 cm (8 inches aprox.), with no front or back distinguishable. The wheels also narrowed to catch on things less and were made much harder to allow more sliding.

An Altenative Cynics Definition of the Skateboard

A Skateboard is a flat board fitted with wheels, and so designed so as to radiate the maximum noise when rolled over a paved surface, or banged against architectural features.

The Skateboarder gets the greatest pleasure from using the skateboard in places where its use is not permitted. Such places can be recognised by the damaged edges to masonry, the marks where the boards and masonry have been abraded, and the presence of bricks, planks, boards and other building materials that have been "borrowed" to construct ramps.

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