The popularity of skateboarding has soared and plummeted since the sport's inception more than a half century ago, much like skateboarders themselves. But now it is more popular than ever. Urdu TV's Sarah Zaman has more on why skateboarding is attracting a growing number of people looking for the ultimate thrill. VOA's Carla Coolman narrates.
Skateboarding originated with California surfers in the 1950s who were trying to surf on land. Today, this relatively low-tech sport has become a subculture in almost every American city and town. But it has always been more of a pastime for the fearless young, as skaters, like Anthony Manning, Marissa O'Guinn and Sean Gates, experience the highs and lows of defying gravity.
"It makes me feel good like when I land a cool trick that I've been practicing for a while. When I go down something and do a trick, and it look cool. It's really exciting," says skateboarder Anthony Manning.
Marissa O'guinn, also a skateboarder, adds, "It's really exhilarating, skateboarding. I think that's what attracts most people to it. I guess just knowing there's a possible risk within it, it's just what makes it exciting."
"It's just a really, really cool feeling because, I mean, you are just flying through the air, and you are just all weightless and stuff. Also, in the pool they have tiles so when you hit them they have a certain sound. And, it's just a really, really cool, " says Sean Gates, a fellow skateboarder.
But skateboarding is not just for the young. Some skaters hang on to this adrenaline-fueled hobby into middle age. As a skateboard veteran, Boogie enjoys the excitement of a good ride without taking safety lightly. "Now, I want you to know that wrist guards cure insecurity because they protect you falling forward. They protect your hands, and then you wear this [helmet] to protect your head from falling backwards. That, and a pad right here, along with the pads here. And this is the only reason that you get to skate when you are 59 years old."
With advances in technology, today's skateboards are lighter and faster than boards from the past. This means that skaters can now do some wild tricks - things that the first skateboarders never dreamed of.
Skateboarding involves speed, balance and coordination, and can sometimes result in serious injuries. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 26,000 people need hospital emergency room treatment each year in the U.S. for injuries related to skateboarding.
Manning says, "I broke my finger. I cracked my ribs." O’Guinns recalls, "I fell and rolled down a street."
The sense of danger has a lot to do with the popularity of skateboarding. For others, skateboarding means freedom and self-expression. For Anthony, it is a chance to develop a unique, personal style. "It's really like no pain, no game. If you can't take the pain, then you might as well not skateboard."
Once thought to be another passing fad, skateboarding is an extreme sport that appears to be here to stay.