Academic journal article The Technology Teacher

Boards on the Move: Surfboards, Skateboards, Snowboards, and Kiteboards: Technological Advances through Mathematics and Science Have Made Possible the Modification of Boarding Sports

Academic journal article The Technology Teacher

Boards on the Move: Surfboards, Skateboards, Snowboards, and Kiteboards: Technological Advances through Mathematics and Science Have Made Possible the Modification of Boarding Sports

Article excerpt

Tinkering is an activity that allows technology to grow. This tinkering is evident in many sports activities. Skateboarding is no different and was probably developed by young people who took the wheels off roller skates and attached them to a board to have a new sports vehicle. Kiteboarding was a result of tinkers with kites and surfboards. Snowboarding is the result of using a surfboard on snow. Yes modifications were needed, but these new sports all resulted from people using their imaginations and modifies other technologies to fit their new uses. Tinkering is a form of technological thinking that uses what exists and modifies it to serve other purposes--technology transfer. Young people performing this technology transfer have done more than just create new sports equipment; their innovative ideas also spawned subcultures surrounding the use of these new technologies. This article will discuss the development of sport technologies that use boards and will also touch on the social and cultural effects of the new technologies.

A reader should be aware of the origin and evolution of surfboards and roller skates--the roots of "boarding"--to understand the technology used in the development and modification of those items. Many anthropologists feel that it was the early Polynesians who created the first surfboards. The people of the Hawaiian Islands were already surfing experts by the time Captain James Cook's third Pacific expedition reached the big island of Hawaii in 1778 (Marcus, n.d.). The first known surfboard designs were short paipo (belly) boards. The boards grew in length, some as long as 24 feet. Those early boards were constructed with the only material available, wood. Surfing became very popular in the 1960s. It seemed to provide evidence of an alternative lifestyle for young people and also spawned an industry of surfer photographers, cinematographers, musicians, and journalists (Marcus, n.d.).

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

Skate Evolution

It is said that roller skates were invented in the 1700s by an "unknown Dutchman [who] decided to go ice skating in the summer" (Bellis, n.d.). The skates were constructed by nailing wooden spools used to hold thread to strips of wood and then attaching the strips of wood to his shoes. Metal wheels came about in the 1760s, with ball bearing wheels being introduced in the 1880s (Bellis, n.d.). Skating became a much smoother ride when plastic (or polyurethane) wheels were first used in the 1960s and 1970s (Skateland, n.d.). Roller disco, a dancing craze during the latter 1970s would not have been possible without those smooth wheels gliding across the floor--something that wood or metal wheels could not have provided. The innovative development of these smooth wheels, in part, opened the door for different fashion styles, photography, music, and many "roller-disco" movies. As with many fads, disco (and disco dancing) had its heyday.

The developer of the first skateboard is unknown but some say it was a surfer who wanted to get the feel of riding a wave on land (Fry, n.d.). The first skateboards looked like scooters. They were made with skates attached to a 2 x 4 piece of wood and had a push-bar handle attached to the top of the board. Eventually the push bar was removed and the skateboard was born (Fry, n.d.). During the latter part of the 1950s, skateboards were mass-produced. Modifications to skateboard trucks (the mechanism that attaches the wheels to the board [or deck]) allowed a rider to maneuver the board to the left and right. Like skates, polyurethane wheels started appearing on skateboards during the 1960s and 1970s. Modern skateboards are made from seven plies of maple wood veneers. These veneers are pressed together using polyvinyl glues in either aluminum, metal, or concrete forms (Wanner, n.d.). As happened with surfing and skating, a culture of skateboarders erupted from youths around the world. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.