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Skateboarding fitness exercise

Originating out of the surfer scene in the 50s, skateboarding or pavement surfing, was a way surfers could still get their thrill when there was no swell, or waves, to play on. The original skateboards were similarly styled to surfboards - usually they were planks of board attached to roller-skate wheels, and skateboarding took off as surfers started to "surf" the sidewalks and roads of California.

By the 70s skateboarding culture had become worldwide, and there were many technical innovations to the design of the skateboard. Most notably there was a new type of wheel made of polyurethane that gave tremendous performance improvement in speed and manoeuvrability. This was followed by the invention of the flexible axle that allowed the rider a whole new range of movement previously undreamed of.

Nowadays, the sport is a worldwide phenomenon and has its own culture on every continent. There are many different ways of participating from competition to more free styling forms where skaters just board for the sheer pleasure. The current contemporary emphasis is on "tricks" and street boarding rather than the vert ramp of the 80s and 90s.

The range of tricks available to a competent skateboarder is bewildering. These include the impressive "ollieing" or "grinding" where a skateboarder jumps onto an obstacle, such as a stair rail, and slides the board along it. There are also more gentle forms of the sport where the skater can just use it as a form of transportation to and from work.

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