George Powell studied engineering at Stanford University and started making homemade skateboards in the late fifties. In 1974, Powell's son came and asked for a skateboard. When Powell pulled an old one out of the garage, his son complained it did not ride smoothly. Powell became interested in skateboarding again, as he realized urethane wheels improved a skateboard's ride. With this prompting, Powell started making his own skateboards and wheels. He bought urethane and baked his own wheels. He also used some new materials like aluminum and fiberglass to fabricate his own composite boards. One of the test riders of one of his flexible slalom boards was Stacy Peralta. When Powell was laid off from his job in the aerospace industry, he moved from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara to start his own skateboard manufacturing business. In 1976, George built the Quiksilver ProSlalom deck which he marketed through Sims. This was followed by the Quicktail.
In 1978, George teamed up with Stacy Peralta forming Powell Peralta. In 1979 they created a skateboarding team called the Bones Brigade (name unrelated to the wheels).
Peralta left the company in 1991 and Powell continued to produce skateboard equipment as Powell, Bones Bearings and RollerBones. The two company founders reunited to produce the company's now classic inventory under the name Powell Classic.