On Board Literacy Research

Written Research

I will start my research on skateboard culture by looking into the college’s database Academic Search Complete.

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“Skating is their saving grace from a very depressing surrounding.”



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After looking through several articles, I will now continue my research with Google.


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The skater “look” does not seem to be that different depending on what background you are.



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Visual Inspiration

I noticed that in most cases, pro skaters start at a young age. I also find the way that they test materials to grind on is pretty smart to do before they attempt the actual trick. It’s like a constant experiment. The use of objects like the bungee cord was resourceful as well.



“Everything is so about skating that to take that away, you’ve not just taken away a hobby. You’re taking away like a whole facet of a lifestyle.” -James Goreing

From these videos, I understand that there is a stereotype that skaters struggle with. Most of society associate skaters with a negative connotation. Most skaters just want to skate and perfect their skills. They are not looking for trouble.

Skateboarding is a bit more mainstream today than it was in earlier years.

“It’s an individual sport. And though we don’t really like to call it a sport, some people would call it more of an art form and we prefer to look at it that way.” -Mark Alcorn

I feel as if the media has helped build the stereotyping of skaters in society. They are often depicted as “rebels” in movies or television shows. I think the same vibe is depicted with people who ride motorcycles.

“There’s so many different types of skateboarders, ya know. You can’t possibly stereotype them all being into that one category” -Matthew Symons

There is always something to improve on for skaters. It’s a neverending journey of trial and error when it comes to tricks. Even professionals still fall off of their board. I see the same happen with gymnasts. Some people still fall at the Olympics and they are the best of the best. Every skill and trick that is learned can always be done better. The possibilities for finding new materials to skate on is literally endless. When they finally nail a trick that was once frustrating, there is this celebration that happens with the community.

When they finally nail a trick that was once frustrating, there is this sense of satisfaction, reward, relief, and encouragement. It almost becomes an addictive process to perfect the trick again in order to go beyond their own personal best. It is a constant challenge that is never completely mastered.

“…You could see a graffiti artist do the most amazing mural on a wall as a painter, but as soon as he pulls out a spray can, he’s a delinquent […] skateboarders, same thing…” -Joff S-L

“I think it’s the semi-outlets that’s in skateboarding that… allow you to be creative and technical and, ya know, learn skills and things like that…” -Mark Alcorn

“It’s having a constant drive… This is the thing you can never complete. It’s not like a video game. You can’t get to the end level.” -Mark Alcorn



I found this video particularly interesting because it was so unusual to see. It is really amazing how skateboarding brought the kids together and even motivated them to stay in school. I feel like this project is something that we should encourage with kids in general, whether it’s any activity. School should come first. The activity would be the reward.




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When it comes to designs that skaters want or like, it honestly depends on the person. For this reason, I think custom boards are a good idea.


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Skater Interviews

Skater 1:

I found that when I interviewed a skater, he mentioned that he cared more about the shape of the board for his height and foot size. The graphics on the bottom did not matter to him. Then again, that may just be how he feels about it personally. The design on the bottom of the board may matter more to others.


Skater 2:

I have a friend who rides on a longboard and sometimes he refers to riding his board as “cruising.” He said that there is a different world between skateboards and longboards. Longboards are generally longer and heavier than skateboards. Although there are options to customize boards and order them online, he prefers to get one in person. He mentioned terms like weaving, grinding, and manual tricks to me.

When I asked about fashion he mentioned flat shoes with brands like Converse, Vans, and Adidas. Overcoming the rebel stereotype is something that he is doing as well.

I asked him about whether or not he preferred to have an image on the bottom of his board or actual type. He said that he prefers image because associating his board with a picture is quicker and better than just words or letters on it. The picture helps him give it a name and then becomes a type of companion to him.

Types of music that he used to describe the culture include rock, hot punk, and street metal. He also mentioned the band Fall Out Boy and a song by AC/DC called TNT.

Besides common skater names like Tony Hawk or Ryan Sheckler, a skater that he admires a lot is Rodney Mullen because of his manual tricks:

I enjoy these videos not only because of his incredible skill but also because I saw him fall off several times. I feel that I often forget how much effort it actually took him to get to that point of amazing skill and that skateboarding is a continuos perfecting process.


Collected facts

Surfing existed before skateboards.

Skateboarding originated in the 1950’s in California by surfers who wanted an experience on land when the ocean waves were flat. The earliest boards were pretty small with metal roller skating wheels attached to the bottom.

Val Surf was the first official shop to start selling actual skateboards in 1962.


The first trick that is fundamental for a new skater to learn in called an ollie. It was invented by Alan Gelfand (nicknamed “Ollie”) and later debuted as a trick by Rodney Mullen.

Frank Nasworthy invented urethane skateboard wheels, which are similar to what most skaters use today. His company was called Cadillac Wheels.

The Z-Boys was a skateboarding competition team that built the image the general image of skateboarders. They wore a uniform which included blue Vans, Levi jeans, and the blue Zephyr competition shirt.

Skating is the second most popular sport watched by 12 to 17-year-old kids (right after the Olympic and beating out the superbowl).



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