Published on Jan 19, 2020

Skateboard Background Images

License Info: Creative Commons 4.0 BY-NC

Aggressive skating, blading, rolling or whatever term you use is and always has been an exciting sport and a great way to express ones individuality. There is no better feeling than ripping a session with some close friends at a good spot pushing each others boundaries. Skating is an outlet for expression which we thankfully can participate in at several levels whether it be fun or competition. Many up and coming skaters do not know how good they have it with the product advancements in skates and accessories that have excelled the sport to where it is now. With any sport or activity there must be a beginning and it is often times the spark that ignites the outlook of the future. Aggressive skating has had its fair share of ups and downs which is why it is important to learn some history to better respect the future of the sport which can be shaped and lived out by the next generation of skaters.
Invention of Rolling

The act of inline skating was invented far years ahead of the art of aggressive skating. The first known invention of an inline skate was John Joseph Merlin of Belgium whom invented a pair of skates in 1760. Merlin, a musical instrument maker and mechanical inventor, made a pair of skates with a single line of small metal wheels that he used as a publicity stunt for promotion of his museum. That is the invention of the initial roll and we have definitely grown since then, as great as it is to know the history it’s time to get into the aggressive realm of things and see how this came to be from Merlin’s initial invention.

Free Skating


It was not until the late 80’s when people started taking to the streets and attempting tricks while wearing inline skates. This early adaption of aggressive skating was given the slang name of free skating and involved anything from jumping curbs to doing powerslides. While the term inline skating was better known at the time for it’s recreational background there were more and more free skaters popping up and taking on the personality of other action sports into the inline skating spotlight. To step into the next level of the sport we will see how skaters were using their imagination to initiate a new aspect and action in aggressive skating.


There are many speculations to who actually ground first on a pair of inline skates and is a debate that may never get fully resolved. Grinding made its debut in 1990 and was originally credited to aggressive skate legend Chris Edwards although it has been argued that pioneer Jess Dyrenforth actually introduced Chris to grinding. Either way in the early 90’s grinding with inline skates was taking aggressive skating to the next level and making it more mainstream where more exposure could result in more people aggressive skating.

The First Skates

The first attempt to alter skates in order to make them function better at grinding among other tricks was done also in the early 90’s and was done by Jess Dyenforth. Jess who was from the bicycle and BMX world had experience with grinding and did not take him long to take his skates and try different ideas to make them more functional in his new activity. Jess started by taking the third wheel out of each skate’s frame and this offered an area on each skate to grind the metal pipe at his local skate park. After trying this several times there were some flaws that needed to be addressed, there was no center point to balance on and the soft wheels would grip the pipe if they hit it at all. Jess went back to work and would soon have his new project revealed, mounting 8 skateboard wheels to the bottom of his Rollerblade TRS’ skates, Jess was able to grind the metal pipe with no issue. the wheels great for grinding did not however work well for skating and Jess would ultimately use two different skates. Getting the exposure of Jess’ grinding skates at demo’s would spark the next piece of our puzzle.

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