Skateboard Inventor, Larry Stevenson Dies at 81

In 1963, Larry Stevenson started Makaha skateboard company to mass-produce his surfboard shaped skateboard design. The unique shape offered a better ride on the concrete wave. Makaha was one of the first skateboard companies that adopted clay wheels over metal wheels, providing a smoother ride and more maneuverability. That year, he also made the first professional skateboard, naming it after legendary surfer Phil Edwards.  The same year, Makaha sponsored the first skateboard contest, with about 100 competitors in Hermosa Beach. Makaha was the first to sponsor a skateboard exhibition team.

In 1969 Larry invented the kicktail, a sloping incline at the end of the skateboard that gives the skateboarder more control and allows them to launch the board off the ground with their feet. Without the kicktail, the ollie and all other aerial tricks that define modern day skateboarding would be impossible. Larry is also accredited with inventing the double kicktail which most modern skateboards are modeled after.

Mr. Stevenson died on Sunday in an assisted-living facility in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 81. The cause was pneumonia, resulting from complications of Parkinson’s disease. Mr. Stevenson is survived by his son who now heads the Makaha company, which is known for its retro line of skateboards.

View Comments (16)


  1. Luke

    April 7, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    oohhnooooo !

    • peter

      December 10, 2014 at 11:37 am

      why do you all end up as a pack of whiners?
      why is it you all experts on this matter, personally I do accredit this man for what he achieved, it is well document it was for surfer, this man saw the need and you idiot think it was the man in the moon.
      don’t diss this guy
      I think he is the real deal

    • Jim Peterson

      January 27, 2017 at 3:53 pm

      Well this battle will never die.
      I’m from Oceanside, Ca. In 1959 about 6 of us decided to nail a shoe skate to a 1 foot piece of 2×6. The first skate board was built.
      The people involved were. Jerry and Ron Geisel they lived on Soto Streeet.
      Ron human on Kelly,
      Jim Peterson on Kelly st. Dave and Chuck McClain lived on Andy Lane.
      None of us heads the balls to standup until one day Jerry stepped p and down the driveway he flew. Straight ahead no turns and whe he hit the street he was airborne., in time all of us tried it.
      We ventured around Oceanside finding sidewalks that made the ride smooth. Those show skates were made of steel , noisy and a rough ride. But we didn’t know any better.
      Then a couple of the surf shops on the coast, Hobie Alter! Phill Edwards, Hansen of Cardif proceeded to capitalize on the idea and manufactured mini surfboards with wheels that made all the difference in the world.
      I know there is a never ending argument between Orange County, Newport and Huntington area dudes that claim fame to the invention. NOT!
      We nailed the shoe skate to the 2×6, flew down driveways and tumbled with road rash scars to prove our accomplishments.
      I’ll give credit where I is due. The boys in O.C. And coastal surf shops invented the
      Predicessar to days models . They took the wheels off shoe skates and they invented the
      Craze that has found its way into most cities around the world.
      But those of us on Kelly St., Soto st. And Andy lane Gould at least get an honorable mention. We aren’t wanting $$ or fame just small amount of recognition . We would like to be known
      as the Henry Fords of sidewalk Surfing. We just put the idea out there and all of you glory hounds can differ till all the pot holes get fixed!

  2. Afro Jester

    August 23, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Ok,so he invented the longboard,thats sick,who was the inventor of the 1st skateboard?

    • anthony

      January 25, 2015 at 7:32 am

      he invented the actual skateboard we have today in 1969

  3. Skaterboy72

    August 20, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    No one knows who invented the first skateboard it was created by a bunch of surfers who wanted to surf the sidewalks of cali when there were no waves or the water was too cold.

    • emmanuel brown

      December 13, 2013 at 6:27 am

      yo mama

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  5. Anna

    March 6, 2014 at 7:09 am

    He is the inventor…. Stupids.

  6. Linda

    July 16, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Well this guy may have “produced” the first “manufactured” skateboard but as kids back in the day on the West Coast, we took blocks of wood, separated our metal skates in half and nailed each half to each end of the board. We started out riding down hills by sitting on these things but then we got the nerve to stand up on them. So whoever was the first person to actually do this is the real inventor of the skateboard. My guess would be it was a surfer who needed something to do between trips to the beach.

    • nate

      November 19, 2014 at 10:51 am

      not true u are just geluise because he was more succesfull and you were not.

  7. bob

    August 20, 2015 at 11:27 am


  8. bob

    August 20, 2015 at 11:29 am

    well at least he did something kuu that gave people a job 🙂

  9. bob

    August 20, 2015 at 11:29 am


  10. Pingback: Inventions that change the world! | Photonics and Solars

  11. Hank

    May 7, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    He did not invent the skateboard. He just mass produced them.

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