What Does NHS Stand For Skateboarding: Secrets Behind This Iconic Brand

Davis Torgerson

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What Does Nhs Stand For Skateboarding

When it comes to skateboarding, certain names hold an almost mythical status, evoking memories of epic tricks, iconic graphics, and an unwavering commitment to the culture. 

NHS, an acronym synonymous with the skateboarding world, is one such name. But what does NHS stand for in skateboarding? In this blog post, we embark on a journey to unravel the secrets and significance of NHS Inc., particularly under the renowned Santa Cruz Skateboards brand. 

Let’s dive into the world of skateboarding history, innovation, and culture as we explore the five most frequently asked questions about NHS. Let’s then start it.

What Does NHS Stand For Skateboarding?

“NHS” in skateboarding stands for “Nob Hill Skateboards.” It’s a name deeply woven into the fabric of skateboarding history and culture and it is one of the oldest skateboard brands. 

Originating in San Francisco, NHS Inc. began as a surfboard business but transitioned into skateboarding in the early 1970s. Today, it’s celebrated as the oldest continuous skateboard company globally.

The significance of NHS goes beyond its acronym. It represents a rich legacy of innovation, quality, and community engagement.

Santa Cruz Skateboards, operating under NHS Inc., is renowned for its iconic graphics, professional rider support, and commitment to inclusivity. The brand’s influence extends far beyond the skatepark, impacting popular culture and fashion.

In understanding what NHS stands for in skateboarding, you unveil a story of passion and resilience. It’s a tale of three friends who turned surplus materials into a global phenomenon. 

It’s a journey through decades of skateboarding history, marked by groundbreaking designs and an unwavering dedication to the sport’s spirit.

NHS Inc. – The Skateboarding Legacy

In the early 1970s, the sunny shores of Santa Cruz, California, were not just a paradise for surfers but also the cradle of a skateboarding revolution. 

The story of NHS Inc., a pioneering company in the skateboarding industry, is one that began with a passion for riding the waves but would ultimately change the way skateboard wheels rolled.

The Surfing Buddies

It started with three close friends and avid surfers: Richard Novak, Doug Haut, and Jay Shuirman. These buddies were drawn together by their shared love for the ocean and their dreams of crafting the perfect surfboard. 

They set up shop in the back of the Santa Cruz Surf Shop, determined to create the ultimate wave-riding experience.

The Birth of NHS

Working tirelessly to hone their surfboard-making skills, the trio decided to take their collaboration to the next level. In 1973, they decided to formalize their partnership and chose the name NHS, cleverly derived from their initials. 

Little did they know that this decision would not only mark the birth of their company but also lay the foundation for an iconic skateboarding legacy.

The Unexpected Turn

NHS Inc. was cruising along as a surfboard company, but fate had other plans in store. In a twist of destiny, the company found itself with an unexpected surplus of fiberglass and a dwindling number of surfboard customers. 

Faced with this challenge, Richard, Doug, and Jay turned their entrepreneurial minds towards innovation.

The Skateboarding Epiphany

In their quest to find a new use for their surplus materials, the trio had a groundbreaking idea – making skateboards. With this revelation, Santa Cruz Skateboards was born, setting the stage for a revolution in the world of skateboarding.

The Spilled Bearings

The Spilled Bearings

Innovation often emerges from accidents, and the skateboarding world was no exception. One day, while Richard and Jay were assembling loose ball-bearing wheels onto skateboard trucks, a pivotal moment occurred. 

In a twist of fate, Jay accidentally spilled a wooden cask containing nearly 100,000 individual loose ball bearings.

A Chance Encounter

Coincidentally, around the same time as the ball-bearing mishap, a man named Tony Roderick made his way into the Santa Cruz Skateboards shop. Tony hailed from Quality Products, a company in Rhode Island with expertise in precision bearings. 

Holding a sealed precision bearing in his hand, Tony couldn’t help but wonder if there was a potential application for skateboard wheels.

Precision Bearings: Changing the Skateboarding Game

The accidental spill of loose ball bearings and Tony Roderick’s fortuitous visit marked a turning point for both NHS Inc. and the entire skateboarding industry. 

Tony’s precision bearings offered a level of performance and durability that surpassed the loose ball bearings of the past. This innovation transformed the way skateboard wheels rolled, providing riders with smoother, faster, and more reliable rides.

A Legacy Carved in Wheels

From those humble beginnings in the Santa Cruz Surf Shop, NHS Inc. and Santa Cruz Skateboards went on to shape the skateboarding world.

Their commitment to quality, innovation, and pushing the boundaries of what was possible propelled them to become an integral part of skateboarding history. 

Today, the legacy of NHS Inc. lives on, reminding us that even accidents and chance encounters can lead to groundbreaking innovations in unexpected places.

History of NHS Business

In the world of skateboarding, few names carry as much weight and history as NHS Inc., the parent company of Santa Cruz Skateboards. 

Founded by three visionary surfers, Richard Novak, Doug Haut, and Jay Shuirman, NHS has etched its name in the annals of skateboarding lore, boasting the remarkable distinction of being the oldest continuous skateboard company in the world. 

The journey of NHS is a story of resilience, innovation, and the transformative power of seizing opportunities.

Surfboard Beginnings

NHS’s roots trace back to Santa Cruz, California, during the early 1970s. Novak, Haut, and Shuirman, bound by their shared passion for surfing, embarked on a quest to craft the perfect surfboard. 

Setting up shop in the back of the Santa Cruz Surf Shop, they initially ventured into the world of surfboard manufacturing. However, the surfboard business presented its own set of challenges, primarily low-profit margins that threatened to capsize their dreams.

A Challenge from the Pacific

Fate intervened in NHS’s journey when a friend from a Hawaiian company threw down a challenge. The challenge was to produce 500 skateboards, an opportunity that would change the course of NHS’s history forever. 

With a surplus of fiberglass materials languishing in their workshop, the trio decided to seize this opportunity to pivot their business and make skateboards.

The Birth of Santa Cruz Skateboards

In 1973, NHS unveiled its first-ever Santa Cruz skateboard. This bold foray into the skateboarding world marked a significant turning point in the company’s trajectory. 

The initial batch of 500 skateboards was met with a fervor that exceeded all expectations. These skateboards sold out rapidly, igniting a demand that would lead to the creation and sale of countless more boards.

The Rise to Iconic Status

Santa Cruz Skateboards quickly established itself as a dominant force in the skateboarding industry. Known for their innovative designs and unwavering commitment to quality, NHS Inc. built a brand that resonated with skateboarders around the globe. 

The iconic screaming hand logo became a symbol of the sport, and Santa Cruz skateboards became a staple for riders of all levels.

Today, the legacy of NHS Inc. endures as a testament to the power of adaptation and the pursuit of one’s passion. What began as a surfboard business struggling to stay afloat evolved into a global skateboard brand that continues to influence and shape the culture of skateboarding. 

The story of NHS Inc. serves as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs and a testament to the enduring spirit of the skateboard community.

What Makes NHS Skateboards Different?

NHS Skateboards, under the Santa Cruz Skateboards brand, has carved out a distinctive identity in the world of skateboarding, setting itself apart through a combination of factors that make it unique and enduring:

Historical Legacy

NHS Skateboards is the oldest continuous skateboard company in the world, founded in 1973. This rich history not only adds authenticity to the brand but also signifies its deep roots in skateboarding culture.


From its inception, NHS has been at the forefront of skateboard innovation. The company played a pivotal role in popularizing the use of precision bearings, which revolutionized the skateboarding experience by offering smoother and faster rides.

Iconic Graphics

Santa Cruz Skateboards is renowned for its distinctive and eye-catching skateboard graphics. The iconic screaming hand logo, created by legendary artist Jim Phillips, has become synonymous with the brand and is instantly recognizable to skateboarders worldwide.

Quality and Durability

NHS prioritizes the quality and durability of its products. Santa Cruz skateboards are known for their resilience, making them suitable for both beginners and professional riders. This commitment to quality has garnered the trust of skateboarders for decades.

Diverse Product Lineup

NHS offers a wide range of skateboard products, catering to various styles and preferences. Whether it’s decks, wheels, trucks, or apparel, Santa Cruz Skateboards has something for every skateboarder.

Team and Rider Support

NHS has consistently supported a roster of talented skateboarders and has played a significant role in the careers of many professional riders. This support strengthens the brand’s connection with the skateboarding community.

Community Engagement

NHS actively engages with the skateboarding community through events, sponsorships, and collaborations. This involvement reinforces its commitment to the culture and the people who drive it.


Santa Cruz Skateboards has embraced inclusivity and diversity within the skateboarding community. They have made efforts to support and promote skateboarding among people of all backgrounds and genders.

Environmental Responsibility

As environmental concerns have grown, NHS has taken steps to minimize its environmental footprint. This includes exploring sustainable materials and production processes.

Cultural Impact

NHS Skateboards has had a significant impact on the broader skateboarding culture, not just as a brand but as a symbol of the sport’s history and progression.

What makes NHS Skateboards different is its unwavering commitment to skateboarding culture, its history of innovation and quality, its iconic graphics, and its dedication to the skateboard community. 

These factors combine to create a brand that continues to be relevant and influential in the ever-evolving world of skateboarding.

Significance of NHS Skateboards

NHS Skateboards, specifically under the Santa Cruz Skateboards brand, holds significant cultural and historical importance within the world of skateboarding and beyond. Here are several key aspects of its significance:

Pioneer of Skateboarding Culture

NHS Skateboards played a pivotal role in shaping the culture and identity of skateboarding. Through its innovative products, iconic graphics, and involvement in the community, it contributed to defining what skateboarding meant to generations of riders.

Historical Legacy

As the oldest continuous skateboard company globally, NHS embodies the history of skateboarding. Its journey from a surfboard business to a skateboarding powerhouse reflects the evolution of the sport itself, making it a living part of skateboarding history.

Innovation and Influence

NHS’s introduction of precision bearings transformed the skateboarding experience, influencing the industry’s standards and pushing the boundaries of what was possible on a skateboard. Its innovative spirit has had a lasting impact on skateboard design and technology.

Iconic Graphics

The striking and memorable graphics created by artists like Jim Phillips have not only adorned skateboard decks but have become art pieces in their own right. The Santa Cruz screaming hand logo, in particular, is instantly recognizable and has left an indelible mark on popular culture.

Professional Skateboarder Support

NHS has consistently supported and sponsored professional skateboarders, nurturing and promoting the careers of some of the sport’s most iconic figures. This support has contributed to the growth of skateboarding as a profession.

Global Influence

Santa Cruz Skateboards’ reach extends far beyond its California roots. It has a global following and has introduced skateboarding to countless individuals worldwide, contributing to the sport’s international appeal.

Community Engagement

NHS actively engages with the skateboarding community through events, competitions, and grassroots initiatives. This involvement fosters a sense of belonging and unity among skateboarders and helps keep the sport vibrant and inclusive.

Cultural Impact

Beyond skateboarding, Santa Cruz Skateboards has made an impact on broader pop culture. Its graphics have been featured in music videos, movies, and fashion, making it a recognizable symbol beyond the skateboarding community.

Diversity and Inclusivity

NHS has championed diversity and inclusivity within skateboarding, breaking down barriers and promoting the sport among people of all backgrounds, genders, and ages.

Environmental Responsibility

As environmental awareness has grown, NHS has taken steps toward sustainability, reflecting a broader trend in the industry. This commitment sets an example for responsible business practices within skateboarding.

NHS Skateboards, through its rich history, innovation, cultural influence, and community engagement, hold a unique and enduring significance in the world of skateboarding. 

It not only represents the evolution of the sport but also serves as a symbol of creativity, passion, and unity within the global skateboarding community.

NHS Fun Factors

“NHS Fun Factors” refers to the elements that make skateboarding under the NHS Inc. umbrella, particularly Santa Cruz Skateboards, enjoyable and exciting:

  • Iconic Graphics: Eye-catching and imaginative skateboard graphics that add a unique and artistic dimension to the riding experience.
  • Innovative Products: Cutting-edge skateboard technology and designs that enhance performance and creativity.
  • Community Engagement: A commitment to fostering a vibrant skateboarding community through events, sponsorships, and outreach.
  • Heritage and Legacy: A rich history as the oldest continuous skateboard company, contributing to the heritage and evolution of skateboarding.
  • Professional Rider Support: Sponsoring and supporting top skateboarders, showcasing their skills, and contributing to the sport’s progression.
  • Inclusivity: An inclusive approach that welcomes skateboarders of all backgrounds, genders, and skill levels into the skateboarding family.
  • Cultural Impact: A brand that transcends skateboarding, influencing pop culture and fashion.
  • Quality and Durability: Skateboards and accessories are known for their quality and durability, ensuring a reliable and fun riding experience.

These factors collectively contribute to the fun and enduring appeal of NHS Inc. and Santa Cruz Skateboards within the skateboarding world.


What Does NHS Stand For in Skateboarding?

Many wonder about the meaning behind “NHS” in skateboarding. NHS stands for “Nob Hill Skateboards,” reflecting its origin in the Nob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco.

How Did NHS Begin Its Skateboarding Journey?

NHS Inc. initially started as a surfboard business but ventured into skateboarding due to a surplus of materials. Discover the fascinating story of its transformation into a skateboarding powerhouse.

What Is the Historical Legacy of NHS in Skateboarding?

NHS Inc. holds the distinction of being the oldest continuous skateboard company globally. Explore the brand’s historical significance and its role in shaping skateboarding culture.

Why Are Santa Cruz Skateboards So Iconic?

Santa Cruz Skateboards, under NHS Inc., is celebrated for its iconic graphics. Learn about the artists behind the legendary designs and their lasting impact on skateboarding aesthetics.

How Has NHS Contributed to the Skateboarding Community?

NHS has been more than just a brand; it’s been a pillar of the skateboarding community. Discover how NHS has supported professional skateboarders, promoted inclusivity, and engaged with skateboarders worldwide.

Wrapping Up

In the realm of skateboarding, NHS isn’t just an acronym; it’s a symbol of unparalleled heritage and influence. Our exploration of the FAQs surrounding NHS in skateboarding has uncovered the profound significance of this name. 

From its origins as “Nob Hill Skateboards” to its status as the oldest continuous skateboard company globally, NHS embodies the spirit of the sport.

Santa Cruz Skateboards, under the NHS Inc. umbrella, has left an indelible mark with its iconic graphics and unwavering support for the skateboarding community. It’s not merely a brand; it’s a cultural cornerstone. 

Understanding what NHS stands for in skateboarding is akin to deciphering the DNA of a culture built on innovation, inclusivity, and a deep love for the ride.

So whether you’re a die-hard skateboarder or someone looking to grasp the essence of this unique world, delving into the story of NHS reveals a narrative that encapsulates the very soul of skateboarding.

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Davis Torgerson

I am a professional skateboarder who has been involved in the skateboarding industry for over 10 years. I have had the opportunity to travel across the world and compete in various competitions. I live in New York City and work as a professional skateboarder. I also work as an assistant editor at a company called Skateboard Mag, where I contribute to articles about street skating, traveling, and other related topics. I have always been passionate about skateboarding and writing. I am currently working on my first book which will be published soon! LinkedIn

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