Larry Stevenson

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Larry Stevenson
Richard Lawrence Stevenson

December 22, 1930
Los Angeles, California
Died25 March 2012(2012-03-25) (aged 81)
Alma materSanta Monica College
Known forSkateboard kicktail

Richard Lawrence "Larry" Stevenson (December 22, 1930 – March 25, 2012) was the inventor of the kicktail, the bent-upwards end of a skateboard, which made most of today's skateboarding tricks possible and essentially revolutionized the sport.[1]

Early life[edit]

Stevenson was born in 1930 in Los Angeles, California;[2] his mother was Inez Kiem and his father was Leonard Stevenson. After high school Larry Stevenson joined the U.S. Navy as a fighter mechanic, he served for two years in the Korean War.

After that, he went on to Santa Monica College in California and became a swimmer, he played water polo and swam for Coach John Josephs. Stevenson won the all American award for fastest time for the breast stroke; the record was only recently[when?] broken, and he was given a lifetime allowance into any Santa Monica College event, if he wished to attend. After SMC, Stevenson went to USC, on a swimming scholarship, where he majored in business.

During the middle to late part of the 1950s, Stevenson became a Venice Beach lifeguard for the city of Los Angeles. While sitting watching surfers he noticed they would skate on crude skateboards back in the parking lots at the beach; this was true especially when there was no surf. Stevenson, while visiting Hawaii en route to Korea, during the war noticed a great surfing beach called "Makaha". All those years later he remembered how much he liked the beach in Hawaii, but he also loved the name Makaha.

After a short period of time, Stevenson started MAKAHA skateboards, he is credited with being the man who made the first high-quality skateboard. He patented the double kicktail in 1969, had the first skate team in 1963, and held the first skateboard contest in 1963.[3] Stevenson also published Surfguide magazine during the 1960s, and Poweredge skateboarding magazine during the 1980s and 1990s, he was involved with Makaha and Poweredge; both have been reborn with new editors.


Stevenson died on March 25, 2012 from complications of pneumonia due to Parkinson's disease in his Santa Monica home.


  1. ^ "Skateboard kicktail innovator, Larry Stevenson, dies at 81 - ESPN". Retrieved 2012-03-27.
  2. ^ Slotnik, Daniel E. "Larry Stevenson, Innovative Skateboard Designer, Is Dead at 81". New York Times. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  3. ^ Rompella, Natalie (2007). Famous firsts: the trendsetters, groundbreakers & risk-takers who got America moving!. Lobster Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-1-897073-55-1. Retrieved 21 October 2010.

External links[edit]