Gut Rumbles

April 20, 2006

vintage word

When I was a kid, we didn't buy skateboards in a store. We built our own, using a roller skate and a piece of 1" X 4" wood. The damn things didn't steer worth a damn, and the steel wheels would slip right out from under you when you tried to turn on concrete, leading to many a spectacular, bloody ass-bustin,' but we rode 'em.

Know what we called that activity back then? We called it "skurfing." I never hear ANYBODY use that term anymore. I'm wondering if anyone else ever did.

Have YOU ever heard of "skurfing?"


Nope, this is a first, even though we used to make the same kinds of things. Did your roller skates have a "key"? Did you have skates that fit onto your shoes? Ever roller skate in a basement?

Posted by: Florida Bill on April 20, 2006 02:33 PM

Not only do I remember skurfing, but when you hung onto a passing car's bumper (or other convenient handle), it was called skitching.

Posted by: Jeff on April 20, 2006 02:38 PM

Nope, but we here in the frozen north have a term called "skitching": a combination of skiing and hitching. Basically, on snowy days, we'd wait for a car to go by and, as invisibly to the driver as we could, we'd grab the rear bumper and have him drive us to school.


Posted by: Russ on April 20, 2006 02:50 PM

YES to all THREE, BILL.....(the good old days, rollerskating around my parents basement on a rainy day...and we used to wear the skate key on a string around our necks)

Posted by: Ruth on April 20, 2006 03:13 PM

No. We were uppity rednecks. We had a configuration of wood that resembled a car. We had 4 wheels. Big rubber ones. Stolen. We "drove", thank you. Hummmph!

Posted by: James Hooker - Smartypants on April 20, 2006 03:16 PM

Kids in Korea have a skateboard, called an "S-board", that has a special hinge in the middle. So the front and the rear can twist in opposite directions. Wierd, but cool.

Posted by: Andy-in-Korea on April 20, 2006 03:17 PM

Skurfing? Not where I lived. But we had an even more dangerous activity called "skitching." That's where you'd grab on to the back end of a car or a school bus and let it drag you down the icy road after a snowstorm. Your shoes acted as skis.

Stephen Baldwin - yeah, that Stephen Baldwin - was a past master at skitching. He lived, along with his brothers, the next street over, and it's a miracle he survived to adulthood.

Posted by: Elisson on April 20, 2006 03:45 PM

I haven't heard the name, but I damn sure remember metal wheels.

And smackin' my butt into the concrete.

It didn't used to be about tricks. We used to ride downhill. The longer/steeper the hill the better.

Now there is great equipment and folks who are insane. They lay down on them and go faster than I'll ride a bike!

Not me. I didn't ride a skateboard any faster than I could get off without injury.

I don't jump out of perfectly operational aircraft either. B-)


Posted by: Rob on April 20, 2006 04:09 PM

Now I know what I'll be doing tonight.

Watching Bio-Dome and 8 Seconds, thanks to Ellison.... *grin*

(Love Stephen Baldwin...)

Posted by: Stevie on April 20, 2006 04:37 PM

Yes to Florida Bill on all three for me too. I may still even have the key somewhere in my box o" junk. We made the same kind of skateboards but I think we called it skateboarding. Maybe skate surfing. My biggest accomplishment was being able to roll down my friends front walk, it was pretty steep and making the turn onto the driveway to roll out to the street.

We had skitching too but I was too chicken to try that.

Posted by: Libby on April 20, 2006 05:32 PM

Don't remember the word...but remember those metal skates....Ya hit a rock..and they would stop on a 15 stiches above my left eye...LOL

Posted by: fourwinn200 on April 20, 2006 05:50 PM

I just remembered that we called it sidewalk surfing.

Posted by: Libby on April 20, 2006 09:49 PM

Made the "skateboards". Did the Car bumber Skitching. Those were the days!

Posted by: No Mo on April 21, 2006 12:26 AM

Yep, and sometimes nailed a wooden milk crate (yeah, I'm that old) to the front of the board and made a scooter. You could paint up the entire contraption and decorate hell out of it.

Posted by: Jim - PRS on April 21, 2006 01:06 AM

Yup, to two out of three. Had the skates, the key and doing stupid stuff. Made a few pair of skateboards before buying one of the original "Sidewalk Surfboards". Damn thing had the same metal wheels and almost as much traction for turning.
Biggest trick I learned on it was gettng off alive.
The newer ones are a lot better. Don't ask.

Posted by: Wichi Dude on April 21, 2006 03:08 AM

No skurfing here but a resounding yes to all three of Florida Bill's answers!!!

Posted by: Lisa on April 21, 2006 07:55 AM

meh, before my time. All of my skateboards had urethane wheels which allowed us to, you know, actually ride them and do tricks...

Posted by: middy on April 21, 2006 10:45 AM

Oh yeah, we always just called it "skating", never heard the word "skurfing" before.

We did do a bit of "skitching" however.

Posted by: middy on April 21, 2006 10:49 AM

We did something called "skurfing" but it wasn't that!

A "skurfer" was an unusual kind of sled. (For you southern types, a "sled" is a kind of toy made to launch you downhill across this stuff we northerners call "snow".)

It was kind of a big ski with a rope attached to the front. You stood on it (nothing but gravity holding you to it, unlike those new-fangled "snowboards" the kids are playin' with today) and held on to the rope, and off you went. It was pretty narrow, and if you were really good you could reasonably steer the thing by pulling the rope and leaning.

That is what I called "skurfing".

Oh, and guys... doesn't everybody know what skitching is? C'mon. Marty McFly.

Posted by: Strider on April 21, 2006 01:17 PM

'Turf' boards is what I beleive we called them in Orlando, FL, where I grew up.

Posted by: Captain Harley on April 21, 2006 02:04 PM

I had a wooden crate on my 2X4, with metal skate wheels. The metal wheels were cheap, easy to slide on concrete, and made a great racket on the sidewalk!

Still, I don't miss the "good-old-days". They weren't!

Posted by: dc on April 21, 2006 02:10 PM

Yeppers, got my butt kicked a few times for boosting my sisters clamp-on skates and making my own "skurf" board. Being a hefty kid my choice was a 2 X 4 with a steel boot cleat nailed to the back end so when I wheelied out I could throw sparks about 4 feet. About set my frayed out bell bottoms on fire a few times. What we called a "snurf" board was a 1 X 12 with the front end filed off and a rope through a hole for a handle. Don't forget to wax the bottom so the snow don't stick. And the kids today think they got it tough with $600.00 worth of equipment to slide down a hill. Wussies!

Posted by: Midwest Madman on April 23, 2006 05:07 PM
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