My First Skateboard

Sometime in the early 80’s (1980 or ’81, I believe) my Gran informed me that she had picked up a present for me.  Gran sometimes did that, finding bargains at charity shops and jumble sales for me.  These items usually turned out be toys and games that were great fun.  This time, my present turned out be something different: a skateboard.

It was a small red plastic skateboard that she had found at some local kids garage sale, and bought for a few pence.  At that time my only concept of a skateboard was of a craze that had peaked a few years ago when I was younger.  Kids didn’t ride skateboards anymore and the thought of actually trying to ride it didn’t appeal to me.  So the skateboard was left in the garage for years and never used.


Red plastic skateboard. Amateurish camera strap in view.

Fast forward a few years and I saw the film “Back to the Future”.  This is something of a cliche now, but suddenly my eyes were opened to the possibility of what I could do with that old plastic board.  Out of the blue skateboards had become “cool”.  The toy in the garage that bemused me previously now had serious potential.  That looked like fun.

Our driveway at the time was about twenty feet long and fairly steep.  I decided that I would dig the skateboard out of the garage junk and ride it down the drive.  Placing the board at the top of the drive, I held it in place with my front foot.  Then carefully lifted my back foot off the ground, placed it on the board and started rolling.  I rolled about three feet, lost my balance and fell.  Grazes to right hand and that was it.  No more skateboard.

The board went back in the garage junk pile, there to stay forever more.

But it played on my mind.  Over the next week or so, I could remember the few seconds of riding the board successfully.  And I could imagine what it would be like to ride it again.  I could see in my mind’s eye what it would be like, and what I would have to do to stay on.  I liked that feeling.  My imagination was sparked.  What if I made it to the bottom of the drive?  Wouldn’t that feel great?

So I tried again.  Skateboard at the top of the drive, facing downhill.  One foot on, then the other.  Rolling.  Keeping my balance this time, like I had in my mind’s eye.  And I made it.  I rode the board to the bottom of the drive.

When I reached the bottom I felt great.  I felt a feeling of accomplishment that I hadn’t felt before.  This was to be the beginning of an amazing relationship.

I then began to learn to ride the board, down the drive, along the street.  I learned to turn, left and right, and keep rolling.  Big sweeping turns and short, quick turns, leaning to each side.

At the time I was unaware of (then modern) skateboarding tricks so learnt from old 1970’s books.  I practised over and over, doing the same moves and fine tuning them.  Kick turns left and right, round corners – over and over again.  Hour after hour, learning and perfecting just very basic techniques.

That’s over twenty five years ago now.  I’ve had many skateboards since then, of different sizes, shapes and styles.  Learnt new tricks.  Travelled to new spots.  Met great people, some of whom I’m still friends with.  Some aren’t with us anymore.

I still have the small, red plastic skateboard that I learnt to ride.  It’s faded and looks a bit worse for wear now.  It only cost a few pence and was eventually superseded by larger, better quality boards.  But of all the skateboards I’ve ever owned, it’s probably the most important.

Thanks, Gran.



Technical Specifications:

  • Length: 22.5″
  • Width: 5.75″
  • Wheelbase: 12″
  • Plastic deck, flat with no concave.  Minimal kicktail.
  • Metal trucks.
  • Wheels: Unknown – hard – not polyurethane.

Soundtrack: Huey Lewis & the News.


14 thoughts on “My First Skateboard

  1. Pingback: Skateboard Museum Update: My First Skateboard Photos | Platinum Al's Virtual Hot Tub

  2. Hi there,

    Cool little story of how skateboarding all started for you!

    At a car boot sale the other day, I came across the very same little red Albert skateboard that your Gran bought you. Only this one is immaculate, never used and still in its “Made in West Germany” box.

  3. This was also my first skateboard I got it for Christmas – maybe 1976 aged 10. I really coveted a skateboard and I remember seeing it in a catalogue my parents had lying about and thought ‘I hope they don’t get me that!’ I wasn’t expecting anything more than a basic plastic skateboard, but this looked particularly crappy with the wedge-shaped kicktail at the back and the weird bearing covers on the wheels. Come Christmas day though this was the skateboard I received. So I set out to make the best of it, and to learn how to ride it. The main problem was that the wheels were really hard and it made a terrible racket, it was very bumpy over the pavements. my Mum had also made me some knee and elbow pads out of old mattress material. I was very envious of other kids with their expensive wooden boards and smooth quiet Kryptonic wheels. Later I saved up and got a slightly better skateboard made by Newporter, it was still plastic but the wheels looked like proper skateboard wheels and were much quieter. I used to go to Rolling Thunder in Brentford. There were very few other girls there, I wasn’t very good but I loved it!

    • Thanks for adding your thoughts! You’ve described the hard, noisy wheels and dodgy riding experience really well there – took me right back. I can’t believe this skateboard didn’t put kids like us off for life – but the magic of skateboarding is so powerful!

    • Amazing that you managed to learn on one of these boards. Those wheels look pretty unforgiving!
      Recently, I bought a few of these. Unused and in their original Made in West Germany boxes.
      I’m keeping one, but have two for sale. £25 plus UK postage. Let me know if you want one!

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