Have A Flat Piece Of Material? Join The Board Sports World
The grandfather of all board sports is surfing. I didn’t know our ancestors were so cool and adventurous, did you? So much for the grandaddy smoking his pipe on the front porch. First on water, then on snow, on land, air and paved surfaces, a reason to have some fun and maybe get a shot of adrenaline. All those board sports have become so widely popular that now there is such thing as surf culture with special codes, language and clothing. No matter how it started, take a board of any kind, attach either wheels or sails and you have a passport to adventure.
Slide or roll?
It started on water
Surfing. We are not even sure when it started exactly. British explorers, in the 18th century, witnessed that it was a big part of the Polynesian culture in Tahiti. Imagine the look of dismay, and maybe a little fear? Seeing all these barely dressed people atop a wooden plank dancing in and on the waves?
Then went on land
Skateboarding, (1950). What do you do when the ocean’s flat? You find another surface to board on. If you are a bored Californian, you take your board, attach wheels on it and hop on, you can have as much fun only not on the water because you know, a day without surfing is a day lost and wasted, unless you have an alternative.
Board Sports are about Surf & Turf, in the end
Back on the water
Windsurfing (1970) also called boardsailing. You know how it is, adventurous kids always need to try new things and the most inventive ones create them if they don’t already exist. A 20 year old genius named Newman Darby is recognized as the first one to combine a board, a handheld sail and a rig creating the first one person portable catamaran. Who said that daredevils have no time to think about stuff?
Why, snow of course
Snowboarding, (1977). This one is a tough one though because any of all the people who have lived in the mountains could have figured out how to build a sled to sit on and slide downhill, then, decide it would be fun to stand on it, right? But what we do know is that there are 2 schools. One gives credit to Vern Wicklund when he created what he called a bunker in 1939 (at age 13) that was patented 20 years later as the first snowboard; the second school attributes the first snowboard to Sherman Poppen in 1965.
One of the latecomers
Wakeboarding (1983) may be the baby of board sports but manages to be part of the World Games since 2005. This one involves being pulled, on the board, on the water, by a boat. Lots of speed, wonderful figures and jumps, because the boat is towing, maybe, but the wakeboarder still has to hold on to it and do his things, ride the wake or fly up in the air. Imagine the strength needed!
Today board sports are so popular that many of them have championships and their own heroes. These gladiators of modern times are always taking risks, always improving, and the industry is always innovating. Attach a Gopro on your helmet and voilà, the whole world is boarding with you, on land, on water or in the air.
Besides the well known champions, all the daredevil of the world can become instant sensations on youtube. But let’s not dismiss the amount of training it takes for the likes of Chandler Higgins, Mike Braatens or Matt Davidson (to name a few) to be where they are today. To practice any type of boarding you have to be fit, focused and fearless. I’m telling you, these guys seem a little nuts to most, but they have fun doing it and we have fun watching them.