80s Skateboard Brands are still among the best skateboard brands today.
Not only have they served the test of time, these companies innovated and pushed the boundaries of what skateboard manufacturing could mean. This innovation freed skateboarding to new heights. We hope you enjoy our list of the best 80s skateboard brands.
- 1 Powell Peralta
- 2 Santa Cruz
- 3 Vision Skateboards
- 4 Hosoi
- 5 Independent Trucks
- 6 Alva Skateboards
- 7 5boro Skateboards
- 8 Alien Workshop
- 9 Birdhouse Skateboards
- 10 Black Label Skateboards
- 11 Blind Skateboards
- 12 Globe Skateboards
- 13 Mini Logo
- 14 Heroin Skateboards
Old school Powell Peralta skateboards are at the core of the 80s skateboard movement. The company was formed company in 1978 by George Powell and Stacy Peralta in 1978 in Santa Barbara, California.
The brand got some got some serious traction in the 80s with some simply awesome boards and skateboard graphics (During their peak they revealed they received $30,000,000 sales in a year).
But the originals aren’t as common as you may hope. Vintage Powell Peralta skateboards are valuable with many people showing off their their collections online . . Thankfully, Powell Peralta have started producing dope reissue decks with identical prints but some more modern production benefits.
Powell manufacturers skateboards in a unique way. When stacking and sticking plywood sheets for their deck they use a gentle air pressure system system rather than a traditional press to create their decks.
Our favourites, the classic Powell Peralta Steve Caballero Chinese Dragon Deck Green – 10 x 30
The organisation was strengthened even more by one of the most famous teams ever – the Bones Brigade. An all star team nurtured from amateur to professional by George Powell, featuring:
Stacy Peralta left the company 1991 while Powell powered on to grow other skateboard brands such as Powell, Bones Bearings and RollerBones.
But, the story has a better ending. Peralta reunited to produce their gear under the name Powell Classic!
Can their be a more iconic logo than the Santa Cruz screaming hand? Santa Cruz is a well known brand international and in many cases – more known than the city it was founded in..
Santa Cruz has ridden through nearly every moment through the history of skating, and over time has similarly developed a phenomenal range of boards in a large range of materials and styles.
Rob Roskopp was one of the earliest skaters for Santa Cruz and has a board that is one of the cornerstone designs of the 1980s skate scene.
Santa Cruz is always reviving the 80’s with new concepts heralding the humble beginnings it came from – such as the Santa Cruz Freak 80’s Cruiser Complete, a new solid cruiser from Santa Cruz designed as an all terrain board but featuring the dynamic old school board designs.
The brand recently had a 40 years anniversary with its distribution company and we’ll still be around for its 50th.
Vision was founded in 1978 by Mark Gonzales, one of the great pioneers of street skateboarding. They also product streetwear under the name (wait for it) Vision Street Wear. Vision is still known today for their top performing gear and they continue to produce old school decks in all shapes and sizes.
To meet the continuing demand from the 1980’s, Vision introduced reissues of their famous Psycho Stick and Gonz decks.
Andy Takakjian designed both of these decks. When speaking about the Psycho Stick he mentioned that the ‘psycho man worked at Vision, he was a real guy (Gregory). He dressed like this all the time dark shades, the whole bit, and the kids started haunting the shop. Gregory started having to come in the back door in a disguise, paper bag over his head, fake nose. He’d hide from these kids who swamped him…poor guy ended up losing all of his hair.’
The deck ended up getting famous, and featured on the final INXS album cover.
The Vision Shredder are also an interesting return to the era.
The vision skateboard decks come in a full range of 80’s fluro colors and psychedelic prints and graphics.
Hosoi is an old school skateboard brand founded by one of the 80s best skaters – Christian Hosoi.
Christian Hosoi had the smoothest vert style around and his skateboards are just as smooth. Hosoi’s deck designs often pay homage to his part Japanese heritage, featuring a rising sun graphic
Hosoi boards are renowned for their ability to perform technical tricks while maintaining the old school deck design. The hammerhead shape Hosoi innovated offers a better grabbing surface when performing aerials – and it makes the deck look wicked with many people buying these decks to place on their walls.
We should mention, the new Hosoi hammerhead decks offer both the original and modified versions of old school design – with new features such as double kicks and concave.
Hosoi wheels are worth considering when pairing wheels with the hosoi decks. These wheels are made out of a high rebound formula and are an asymmetrical conical shape for additional riding control.
This brand is still booming and it’s unreal to see an old school brand so conscious of what people want.
To learn more, check out the Christian Hosoi Documentary – Rising Son: The Legend of Skateboarder Christian Hosoi.
The Independent truck company was established in 1978 in Santa Cruz, California. The company was created to fill a large hole in the market for quality trucks.
The organisation was formed by Richard Novak, Jay Shiurman, Fausto Vitello, and Eric Swenson. The brand is also supported by an amazing set of riders including Tony Hawk. The list is too long for this article, but you can check the list here.
Previous to Independent, trucks were chiefly made by toy manufacturers. These trashy trucks were too unreliable for professional skateboarders who were stacking constantly and crushing their gear quickly.
Independent trucks are still the only company in the USA that focuses only on creating trucks. The company has released several models and stages of trucks over the years, starting from stage 1 in 1978 leading up until stage 11 in 2012. Check out their lineage here!
Here are some things you can expect from Independent trucks:
Super smooth turning
A nice snug fit with Bones bushings
The smoothest grinding you’ll ever experience
At the ripe age of 19, Tony Alva rejected the major skate companies and formed his own in 1977.
He was the first professional skateboarder to run and own his own company. We should also mention he was one of the earliest to produce layered Canadian maple ply in decks.
His legacy has been cemented by his innovations as a skater. Check out the films ‘Dogtown and Z-Boys’ and ‘The Lords of Dogtown’.
Alva has some dope retro skateboard designs and some super wide decks hitting 11 inches. They produce a range of quality decks and also many reissues – always featuring that classic Alva logo.
Ok, this isn’t really an 80s skateboard brand but you have to love some of the retro designs carrying over from the 80s era. Steve Rodriguez founded this New York based company in 1996 (Although the idea was conceived in 1993) for skaters who live for the streets. The name is based on the 5 boroughs of New York city:
If you are interested in some monochrome designs, this brand has some interesting ones to check out.
Quote from Steve Rodriguez “No two boards are the same, because it’s wood – it’s nature”
Aliens Workshop is a quirky independent skateboarding company that was conceived in the 80s and founded in 1990 in Dyaton, Ohio. The brand was formed by Chris Carter, Mike Hill, and Neil Blender and their original team rider Rob Dyrdek. We want to support this brand a little since it closed in 2014 and then was revived by an all-amateur team.
Their decks are pretty sick, with some designs reviving a cartoonish H. R. Giger vibe. The Rob Dyrdek alien workshop skateboard is also worth checking out.
This brand was born after the downturn of skateboarding in the late 80s by an ex Powell Peralta Pro saker ‘Per Welinder’. Lance Mountain was offered a 50-50 cut of the company to be partner but Lance Turned it down in pursuit of a 100% ownership company. Birdman ‘Tony Hawk’ decided to accept the offer instead of Lance feeling his skills would be in less demand due to the decline of vert skating and the dominance of street skating.
The brand was renamed ‘Birdhouse’ based on Hawk’s nickname. The company produced the popular Tony Hawk Birdhouse Skateboard’ and makes some cheeky skateboard design, perhaps not suited for the kiddies.
Black Label Skateboards
Black Label was founded in 1988 by the current owner – John Lucero. Lucero had the plan to own a company and run a team ever since he was a kid (where he penned it on paper). His passion emerged from his lifestyle ‘I’ve always skated with my friends, we would just skate around town, hit curbs, drink beers.’
The theme of the brand is ‘Never be bought never be sold’. Lucero has kept to this mantra ,when the distribution company Black Label was using was bought out by Billabong he didn’t want any of it, and took the brand back to the garage and built up a team.
Black Label skateboard decks often have a bit of an anti-establishment theme, but one of the coolest designs brings a ‘skate till you die’ meaning – check out Black Label Skateboards OG Crutch Red Skateboard Deck – 8.12″ x 31.88″
Blind was founded in 1989 by Mark Gonzales. Gonzales is gone now but the company has continued to be run under the Dwindle distribution.
The brand’s identity is often associated with a cartoonish grim reaper. Blind produces some cheap and good value decks and completes. They have a good range at the of 7.5 decks to for kids. You may spot some Blind boards in toy and sporting stores occasionally and this often raises questions to people.
Are blind skateboards good?
Our answer to this is that the decks are particularly sturdy and definitely a good consideration for youngsters first getting into the sport. You will also see Blind skateboards in many skate shops across the country. The designs aren’t the most edgy but if you are looking for a value board to dip your toe on consider a blind complete and upgrade the trucks to an indy or another quality truck.
The Blind Skateboard team also feature a good set of skateboarders.
Founded in 1985 by three Australian brothers, Peter and Stephen Hill (OZ skateboarding champions) along with the current CEO Matt Hill. Globe continues to be one of the world’s largest skateboard distribution companies. Similar to the story of Independent Trucks – The Hills bross were unsatisfied with the lack of quality skate gear that they needed, so they went into the business of importing US skate products – Down Under.
They were one of pioneers that led to an explosion of skateboarding in the 80s, both in Australia and New Zealand.
Rodney Mullen is closely involved with the production practices and the company operates its own company to manufacture skateboards and trucks.
Globe produces some wicked cruisers, and some all round quality gear. Chris was cruising around Barcelona on cobblestone and said it was one of the smoothest skate experiences he’s had on that kind of surface.
Mini Logo was actually formed in 1996 however it’s a brand formed from Powell Skateboards (AKA Skate One – think Powell Peralta). The other reason I feel this brand deserves to be here is because some of their old school tie die prints remind me of that era.
Powell introduced the Mini-Logo as it’s very first ‘blank deck’ product. While still maintaining the quality expected from the Skate One warehouse, mini logo focuses on quality materials rather than exotic branding. Their bearings are really good quality and an awesome price point.
Looking over their latest range you can really get a KILLER setup using Mini-Logo gear. We’re also seeing the Pizza deck a lot around skateparks.
The Militant mini logo sums up its mission with precision ‘Mini logo is militant about raw, pure skateboarding.’
are mini logo wheels good?
Yes! They are a great option for low price points. If youare looking for cheaper wheels we suggest Mini Logo above all other brands.
Heroin is a UK based company that was founded in 1989. Their graphics range from grungy to retro featuring neon colors and custom art. Their decks and wheels scream quality and are built to last. They were recently absorbed by Baker skateboards so expect this brand to grow even more over the next decade.