The Best Skateboarding Media For Beginners – Movies, Music, Games and More

The Olympics have finally featured skateboarding, and GOSKATE was all over it. Congratulations to Yuto Horigome from Japan for winning the sport’s first ever gold medal! 

Now more than ever, people want to join the skateboarding community. What better way to welcome them than to show them all the cool stuff we love?

Whether you’re in a skate park doing vert or freestyle, in a skate shop looking for a board, or in your own home reading the latest skateboarding news, the skateboarding community has something for everyone. For example:

  • Thrilling skateboarding movies

  • Action-packed skateboarding videogames (lots of those, inspired by professional skateboarders. Special thanks to Tony Hawk)

  • Skateboarding-themed music

GOSKATE wants to highlight some of our favorite skateboarding media to help newcomers familiarize themselves with skateboarding culture and history.

Movies

Films have been some of the biggest releases in the world ever since they were created. They’ve made existing genres popular or created entirely new ones.

There are a ton of classics out there for anyone to enjoy, and skate fans will be pleased by what’s available. This shouldn’t be surprising, since many talented producers and actors skateboard and allow their love of the sport to influence their work.

I recommend checking out our articles on skateboarders who made it big and celebrities who skateboard. Skateboarding’s influence on the movie industry just might surprise you.

1. Thrashin’ (1986)

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A classic from the 80’s. This movie has it all: skateboard tricks, steamy romance, and heart-pounding action. The Red Hot Chili Peppers even make an appearance to grace the movie’s soundtrack with their brand of rock and roll.

The story follows two rivaling skateboarding gangs that fight each other for the prestige of being number one. It gets more complicated because one of the gang members falls in love with the sister of his rival. Romeo and Juliet vibes, huh?

This movie came out when skateboarding’s popularity was threatened by skatepark closure (check out GOSKATE’s article on the history of skateboarding to learn more about that). 

For its role in keeping skateboarding alive in hard times, and it earns its spot on this list.

2. Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001) & Lords of Dogtown (2005)

dogtown-and-z-Boys

Okay, it might be a cop out to include two movies in this spot. But both are based on the same true story on the life of the famous “Z-Boys” skate team and its members: Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva, Jay Adams, and manager Skip Engblom.

The premise for both starts with horrible droughts in the east coast during the 1970s. People had to empty their swimming pools just to conserve water. 

The future Z-Boys arrive from the Dogtown area of Venice Beach. They take one look at the dried pools and jump on the opportunity to make the area their own. 

For anyone who wants to see all the drama and glory that goes into being part of a famous skateboarding team, these films are for you.

3. North Hollywood (2021)

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North Hollywood is loosely based on the life of producer and skateboarder Ryder McLaughlin. It’s got a story that a lot of young people can relate to, featuring a young man named Michael who dreams of becoming a professional skateboarder.

Parental pressure and the challenges of school and competition test Michael’s resolve, but in the end, he makes the commitment. 

Like Thrashin’, this movie kept skateboarding alive during difficult times — it was produced and released during the COVID-19 pandemic. It premiered in Sofi Stadium in California, drive-in style, for three nights in a row!

This movie shows the heart of all people who love a sport. No matter how hard things got, it found a way.

Music

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There are few things better than listening to a great song while skating down a sidewalk. Music is great and easy to share while taking a rest in a skatepark, too.  

While there are huge playlists online featuring all kinds of songs used for skateboarding (I personally listen to this one a lot), some songs have gained fame in skateboarding culture.

The ones I’ve listed here are just a few that were used for skateboarding videos or videoparts. Longtime skateboarders will probably recognize these instantly and may have done some of their best skateboarding jamming to these hits.

1. Carry the Zero – Built to Spill

This song was produced by indie rock band Built to Spill, who lent their music to countless videoparts throughout the years. 

The song was featured in TransWorld SKATEboarding’s 1999 documentary “The Reason.” The documentary itself is an iconic piece of skateboarding media, highlighting the reasons why pro skateboarders do what they do.

“Carry the Zero” played during skateboarder Cairo Foster’s section of the video. 90’s and early 2000’s kids will easily remember the guitar chords lining up with zoomed-in, slow-mo stunt sequences.

2. The Plan – Built to Spill

Also by Built to Spill, and featured in Transworld SKATEboarding’s video “Modus Operandi”, this song perfectly lines up with narrator Marc Johnson’s commentary about skateboarding.

When we skateboard, we often ask “can we do this?” And Marc tells us that we can. While this song’s electric guitar rips in background, he shows us a whole bunch of tricks and slides to really show his point. 

When skateboarding, “the plan” is to practice and make the impossible possible. I think a good number of people took Marc’s words to heart while listening to this song.

3. The Light at the End of the Tunnel is a Train – Whitey

Something more psychedelic and melancholy, which fits with the videopart this song was featured in. 

Lakai Footware’s 2007 film “Fully Flared” featured Guy Mariano, a skateboarding veteran who returned to the sport after a drug-habit induced break. He was eager to make a comeback, and it in fashion through Fully Flared. 

We’re not sure who exactly chose the song for when Guy was on camera, but given his recent struggles, the slow and trippy tune of the song really highlighted just how therapeutic skateboarding can be.

Other Media

Not everyone can invest in a board or find the time to practice the sport. And most who do won’t turn pro. Luckily, social media, digital platforms, and advancements in tech allow skateboarding to reach people from every walk of life. 

Whether you’re into Instagram influencers, YouTube channels focused on skateboarding videos, or online skate magazines — there’s something for everyone.

Magazines

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Before digital media was huge, magazines were how people got informed about their hobby. There’s nothing quite like getting timely deliveries of reading material for what you’re really into.

The internet has given people more options, and new skate brands have joined the original physical skateboard magazines. 

GOSKATE recommends these great skateboarding magazines for you:

  • Skateboarder Magazine — Skateboarder (originally called “The Quarter Skateboarder”) was established in 1964 and was the United States’ first skateboard magazine. It ceased production in 2013, so while it doesn’t provide recent coverage, it can show you highlights of skateboarding’s renaissance years. Here’s a great online archive to relive the glory days.

  • Thrasher Magazine — This magazine is a great resource for all types of skateboarders. It covers lots of essentials, such as skatepark reviews, skateboarding news, music selections, pro skater interviews, and more. It’s been a staple of skateboarding culture since it was founded in 1981.

Transworld SKATEboarding — Based out of California, this magazine pioneered skateboarding media by also running a website and a video production company. As such, they’ve made many of the iconic videoparts that skateboarders know. Though its print issues were discontinued in 2019, it continues to produce top-tier videos to excite younger generations.

Video Games

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Tony Hawk’s skateboarding games have been a staple of skateboarding culture for decades.

Video games are a big hit because they provide people (especially younger generations) greater accessibility to a sport’s community while letting them enjoy things at their own pace.

There are tons of great skateboarding games. Snowboarding games are popular, too. Many of the best ones were inspired and/or produced in collaboration with the one and only Tony Hawk. You’ll see what I mean.

GOSKATE’s top picks for video games include:

  • Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 — Would you believe a skateboarding video game is ranked one of the best videogames of all time? Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 brought the thrill of the sport to video gamers all over the world like never before. Featuring an amazing physics system and a great cast of professional skateboarders, this was the game to play on the consoles it released on.

  • Tony Hawk’s Underground — Another Tony Hawk game. Focused on providing gamers with wider areas, this game ramped up the tricks that were already present in previous Tony Hawk games. It also elevated the graphics over its predecessors, giving gamers  a true look at what video games could become.

Skateboard Park Tycoon: Back in the USA 2004 — Ever wanted to create your own skate park? Well, this game allows just that. Add on the absolutely bang-on soundtrack featuring famous 90’s songs, and this game become one that kids and adults everywhere couldn’t put down.

A New Generation of Skateboarders

And there you have it, a primer to get you started in enjoying skateboarding in all its forms. 

Don’t be afraid to look around some more and experiment. These are our top picks, but everyone has their own unique style.

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Andre Aquino

Andre Aquino has always been interested in writing. Ever since obtaining his BFA in Creative Writing in 2018, he has passionately sought out new topics to learn about and share with others. He is also passionate about skateboarding in his free time. Follow him on Twitter to check out his most recent work."

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