The origins of skateboarding are not entirely clear, although many in the sport believe it was first started in California in the late 1940s. California surfers apparently wanted a sport on dry land for when the weather for surfing was not optimum. Skateboards were actually originally manufactured for surf shops who wanted to teach beginners the moves needed whilst on dry land. This is possibly when a Californian surfer may of spotted the potential to add wheels to the board. This breed of skateboarders used boards a similar shape to surf boards and used local empty swimming pools for practice.
By the 1970s the sport had exploded in popularity, particularly in the US. Many competitions appeared particularly in LA and Florida. By the 1990s the sport had grown even bigger and board equipment designers coming up with more sophisticated designs to help boarders with tricks, riding inclines, jumping and grinding rails.
Two forms of boarding competitions became very popular, namely Street and Vert, with vert boarding being the most endorsed with stars such as Tony Hawk. Vert skateboarding is when the rider uses a custom built skate park with inclines so they can transition from vertical to horizontal, hence the name. Hawk is famous for riding huge vert ramps and was the first to land a 900 spin on a vert ramp. He has since made millions in endorsements from board manufacturers and of course video games.
Whether you prefer street skateboarding or vert boarding there are huge numbers now involved in the sport with an estimated 11 million worldwide.