Yes they have evolved a bit, but there's a good reason why the basic form - a wooden deck with two trucks and four wheels - has remained pretty much unchanged for more than five decades. Because it works.
There's a good reason why the basic form of a skateboard has remained unchanged for more than five decades. Because it works.
None of this of course has stopped people from having a go at "improving" it from time to time, with occasionally hilarious results.
Here are 10 fantastically misguided attempts to fix something that wasn't broken in the first place...
The Rip Stick
Everything about this is wrong, from that god-awful name to the fact that you have to wiggle your hips to make it move along.
Thankfully, the videos are excellent. I particularly love the use of the "newspaper" editing technique in the one below.
Crazily even though these videos look kind of old I've actually seen a couple of "Rip Sticks" (*shudder*) out and about in skateparks recently, so someone, somewhere must still be selling them. But who's buying?
Oh wait, yeah, these dudes...
The Snake Board
Worryingly, there was a point in the mid-90s when it looked like this abomination might actually catch on.
That probably had something to do with the fact that they were giving out "radical" videos like this one (ripped from VHS apparently) with every Snake Board purchased.
I mean who wouldn't want to look like these dudes, with their awesome dreads and massive nu-metal jeans?
Orbit Wheel Skates
So while most of us would look at "the Snake Board" and "the Rip Stick" and laugh, the dude behind these obviously thought: "That's well cool!".
He took the shaking your ass-to-move-forward idea one step further and separated the two ends of the board completely, creating these sideways rollerblade-cum-flying saucer things.
Honestly though, did he really believe these were going to catch on? I mean can you ever imagine your mate calling you up and saying "do you want to go for an orbit wheel skate?" No, exactly.
The Three-Wheeled Skateboard
I saw one of these in the flesh recently, being hawked by one of the Chinese factory suppliers at the ISPO.
In fact, he had several versions of a similar board on his stand, which he proceeded to demonstrate for us. All of them had that kind of shopping trolley-wheel at the front, and all of them required a tic-tac movement to get them going.
What's wrong with a conventional push you ask? Well quite.
The Freebord (yes they spell it like that)
Looking like the bastard love-child of a broken shopping trolley and a long-board, the Freebord is the kind of thing that only a man in the midst of a meth-binge would think is a good idea.
Well, at least we thought that, but there seems (inexplicably) to be a whole scene dedicated to these things and riding them.
I mean this guy claims to be "the best in the world", which implies there are others out there. We can only hope they all have dreads as good as his.
The Segway Skateboard Combo
Of all the crazy inventions we discovered on the interwebs researching this article, this has to be the most bonkers.
C'mon, who thinks: "How can we improve a skateboard? I know, why not cross it with a Segway?!?"
The best thing about this is the fact that he's made this instructional video explaining how to do it as if people would be mental enough to try and follow in his footsteps.
Imagine the conversation: "Hey, we've got this rad new idea that's going to change the face of skateboarding forever. How should we market it?"
"Well let's find something hot, and then tell people how much hotter our board is. What's hot? How about... Angelina Jolie?"
"Shit Dave, you're a marketing genius! Give yourself a payrise and some more stock options in our soon-to-be-bankrupt company."
The crazy thing is, this approach obviously worked on some people. Check out this dude here, he's loving it!
And the description on his Youtube video is the cherry on the cake:
"I've skated for 5 years on this crazy board, fuck kick flips and standard street skating moves. I found, they should sell these boards as "all year street snowboarding deck" full downhill pads a must.
This deck can turn 90 degrees staying on it is all up to you. I melt & destroy the wheels with in 3-5 rides (so there alot of rotating wheels to try to wear & get more rides out of them) enjoy, cus if you don't have to stop riding just because you grow, fact riding keeps me from not being or becoming an old, pissed off, grumpy, out of shape person."
Wow. Just wow.
Razor Sole Skateboard
Well that or one of those three-wheeled scooters you see two-year-olds riding around on, minus the stabilising stick.
Either way, there's no way any self-respecting person over the age of 3 months should be seen dead on one of these. Which makes it all the more disturbing that when you Google 'Razor Sole Skateboard' these dudes pop up.
Should you want to join these gurning goons and get one yourself, you can do so on Amazon of all places. But hurry! At the time of writing there were only 6 left in stock!
The Stowboard provides the the perfect answer to that pesky problem that no-one has ever had - what to do when your skateboard is too unwieldy to be carried around easily.
Apparently it's aimed at trouser-suit-wearing business women who want to skate to the airport (a massive market that), surfers who want to be able to lock their board up securely, and kids who feel the need to fold their skateboard before they put it in their ample-sized school locker.
Judging by their website this company lasted about five years before going bust. We were surprised it was that long to be honest. Wonder how many boards they sold in that time?
I have no idea what this "thing" is, or how it might work, but I want one. Just look at it, it's amazing - it's like a combination mobility scooter/roller skate/coffee table, or something that Wallace might invent and end up chasing Grommet around the living room on.
Whatever it is, it retails for a cool $105 so it must be pretty good.
Unfortunately the only website we could find this on (where it was listed as a "twist board drift board/skateboard/dynamic plate/snake board/drift plate/skateboarding/skateboard" - they're really covering all bases there aren't they?) was apparently sold out.
But if anyone can find one in the dark depths of the internet somewhere please buy it and send it to us. Or at least give it a go and let us know what the hell it's supposed to be!