27 Best Skateboard Documentaries of All Time


Best skateboard documentaries

In case you aren’t able to go out and skate, I thought it might be a good idea to look up some of the best skateboard documentaries of all time. I’m sure I missed a few but there re some really great documentaries out there that will give you a lot of insights into the history and drive of everyone involved in the skateboarding industry. 

Some of these are free to watch and others are not but with some searching skills you should be able to find them (Bing actually works better).  Here are 1796 minutes of the best skateboard documentaries I was able to find in chronological order, I’m sure there are many more.

1. The Devil’s Toy

  • Year: 1966
  • Director: Claude Jutra
  • Duration: 15 minutes

Let’s start with something that could belong in a museum and it’s weird af. The Devil’s Toy is a great video that will only take about 15 minutes of your life and takes us back to simpler times. It feels ancient and is perhaps one of the earliest videos of skateboarding which can be considered a documentary. Clay and steel wheels and not a lot of gnarly stuff, but really worth a watch for the sake of history.

The first-ever Canadian documentary about skateboarding which can also be considered an art film. It’s beautifully done and sometimes a bit weird. The video style, great soundscapes, and jab at the ’60s hate for skateboarding really make this film a unique work of art. 

2. Skateboard Kings

  • Year: 1978
  • Director: ?
  • Duration: 59 minutes

The TV show The World About Us profiles a bunch of skaters from Southern California. You get an inside look at the late ’70s skateboard scene with legends such as Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva, Ray Flores, Shogo Kubo, Billy Yeron, and many more. Interviews with parents, people from the industry, and kids along with footage from Skatopia skate park.

3. Blind Video Days

  • Year: 1991
  • Director: Spike Jonze
  • Duration: 24 minutes

I don’t know if I should call this one a documentary but Blind Video Days is one of the most influential skate films of all time. Directed by Spike Jonze (later became a Hollywood producer) who really captured the essence of the 90s and skateboarding culture. 

Video Days shows short clips of several skateboarders in a low-rider Cadillac mixed with gnarly skateboarding footage. Watch the Gonz do some wacky stuff and check out Jason Lee who later became a famous actor (My name is Earl).

Not to mention Guy Mariano, Rudy Johnson, and Jordan Richter. It’s still referred to as the Citizen Kane of skateboarding videos and had a huge impact on future skate videos. I wondered why this video is so iconic and Redittor the5uperu5er nailed it.

Video Days is a document about an industry and sport in a state of transformation from ‘corporate’ ownership and vertical contests to skater owned street level accessibility.

I think it’s loved for being specific to that time and place. It features the movers, shakers, and ground breakers that ushered in the modern street era.

That makes a lot of sense and explains why there are even a couple of documentaries about this ‘documentary’ available on Youtube.  

4. Dogtown and Z Boys

  • Year: 2001
  • Director: Stacy Peralta
  • Duration: 91 minutes

If you haven’t already, this is one skateboarding documentary you shouldn’t skip. Dogtown and Z-boys is all about the history of skateboarding in the area of Venice and Santa Monica (Dogtown)  and the legends from the Zephyr Skate Team (Z-boys).

Skateboarding was different back then with no urethane wheels or concave and strongly influenced by the surfer community. During the great Californian drought in the ’70s surfers started skating pools and began to receive media attention. 

These are the people that paved the way for skateboarding, even to this day you see their influence and some still work (and are leaders) in the industry. 

5. Tic Tac 2 Heelflip

  • Year: 2001
  • Director: Mike Hill
  • Duration: 52 minutes

Skateboard historians will love this one, at least if you’re interested in Australian skateboarding from the early ’60s throughout the ’90s.  It covers some gnarly stuff from the 2000 X-Games and a couple of interviews with Matt Mumford,  Tas and Ben Pappas, Dustin Dollin, and Tony Hawk. 

6. Rodney Mullen: From the Ground Up

  • Year: 2002
  • Director: ?
  • Duration: 30 minutes

The rise of Rodney Mullen, the death of freestyle and his joint venture with Steve Rocco starting World Industries. Rodney talks about becoming a team manager, his dad giving him a hard time (understatement), and Mike Ternasky that could finally convince Rodney to start street skateboarding and the legendary Rodney vs Daewon Song videos. 

7. Video Vortex: The LOVE Park Story

  • Year: 2003
  • Director: ?
  • Duration: 33

The LOVE Park Story is about the evolution of skateboarding at the famous Love Park skate spot. It’s a compilation of the best skateboarding footage of a decade (1993-2003) with interviews with locals, activists, and legends. The conflict between city hall and the local skateboarders and activists trying to bring back skateboarding to the park.

8. Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator

  • Year: 2004
  • Director: Helen Stickler
  • Duration: 82 minutes

His business card said “Skateboarder Extraordinaire” and Gator was obsessed with becoming a celebrity, well he became famous alright or rather infamous. To this day Gator is the most hated skateboarder of all time and we should just forget about him and the negative publicity he gave skateboarding, but here I am writing about the guy.

Even though some say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, he sure contributed to the death of skateboarding. Most of us know why I just don’t want to go into it too much. As someone commented on Youtube, “Skateboarding is not a crime, murder is though”.

9. The History of Street Skating

  • Year: 2004
  • Director: Helen Stickler
  • Duration: 32 minutes

Natas = Satan, you heard it here first, wait no. I don’t think the title needs any explanation but this one is worth watching, for the sake of history. Natas Kaupas and the Gonz did the first recorded board slides and breaking the handrail barrier would change skateboarding forever.

This documentary is all about Natas and how he helped progress street skateboarding, gnarly stuff mixed with short interviews with skaters like Mike Vallely, Kris Markovich, Skip Engblom, and more.

Get ready for some old school street skateboarding, gnarly street tricks, Natas’ fire hydrant trick nobody could replicate, and some great insights about how street skateboarding came to be. Mad respect.

10. Hot Chocolate

  • Year: 2004
  • Directors: Ty Evans and Spike Jonze 
  • Duration: 53 minutes

Hot Chocolate is a documentary about the Chocolate Skateboard team tour back in 2003. Skaters such as Chris Roberts (you know that guy from the Nine Club), Marc Johnson, Justin Eldridge, and others. This doc is a mix of interviews and voice-overs that shed some insights about the life and personalities of the Chocolate team members.

11. WHO CARES – The Duane Peters Story

  • Year: 2005
  • Director: John Lucero
  • Duration: 70 minutes

Documentary about Duane Peters and his addictions, his skateboarding and singing career. Life is rough, and Duane sure had to deal with a lot of demons. Who Cares covers the life of another legend and Duane partied as hard as he skated. He bounces back and is still shredding to this day.

12. Lords of Dogtown

  • Year: 2005
  • Director: Catherine Hardwicke
  • Duration: 107 minutes

Lords of Dogtown is about the legendary Zephyr team (Z-Boys) in the ’70s. During the drought, surfers like Tony Alva, Stacy Peralta, and Jay Adams started to skate dried up pools to practice their moves when waves were lacking. Once urethane wheels were introduced, things took off for skateboarding. It was all about fun until business and money got involved.

These guys are founders of skateboarding which became an art, a sport, culture, and everything in between.  

13. Rising Son: The Legend Of Skateboarder Christian Hosoi

  • Year: 2006
  • Director: Cesario Block Montano
  • Duration: 98 minutes

Who doesn’t like Christian Hosoi? Well, probably a few but his style and class was amazing and quite intimidating for the Bones boys. This documentary is about the highs, lows, lower lows and highs of Christian Hosoi. Hosoi did some time for trafficking substances and is now trying to be a good father and positive influencer of the skateboarding industry.

Long story short, iconic skateboarder takes everything for granted, ends up in jail and finds redemption in religion. Rather cliche but Hosoi had unmatched style and flow and never seemed to get tired during his session. Sometimes fame gets the better of people and destroys careers.

14. Freedom of Space

  • Year: 2006
  • Director: Steve Olpin and Tim Irvin
  • Duration: 61 minutes

I recently walked through my old home town and could see all the damage we did to the marble and curbs we did as kids. Freedom of space is a documentary about exactly this, the skateboard culture in public space, the social conflicts we all experienced and the political conflicts because of the urban environment.

15. The Man Who Souled the World

  • Year: 2007
  • Director: Mike Hill
  • Duration:  87 minutes

This documentary is about Steve Rocco, the rise and fall of World Industries, and the transition of skateboarding from vert to street. 

Rocco read the Art of War and used it to break all the rules in the skateboarding industry and he made a lot of enemies. According to Rodney Mullen, he wasn’t immoral but harsh and did it with a smile. Once Rocco got the boot from Vision, it was time to break the rules.

The former care salesman set his mind to rule the industry and show everyone he can that caused a lot of hate which is still talked about to this day. Quite a compelling look into an era with amazing footage of legends like Guy Mariano, Danny Way, and Jason Lee.

16. Pray For Me The Jason Jessee Film

  • Year: 2007
  • Director: Steve Nemsick, David Rogerson
  • Duration:  82 minutes

Pray For Me is about former Santa Cruz star Jason Jesse. A mix of old footage, interviews with family, friends, and legends from a long ‘forgotten’ era.

Link to full doc because I won’t allow me to embed: https://vimeo.com/202063634

17. Lakai – The Final Flare!

  • Year: 2008
  • Director: Spike Jonze
  • Duration: 63 minutes

Another must-watch video directed by no other than Spike Jonze (that Hollywood director who also did Video Days). The Final Flare was awarded the ‘best skate video of the year’ by Transworld Skateboarding and legend Guy Mariano won the “best street” and the “Best Video Part” that year (no surprise here).

The Final Flare was shot in HD which wasn’t common back in 2008 (time flies). If you haven’t seen it, make sure to watch this iconic skate docu or just watch it again because, why not.

18. Skatopia: 88 Acres of Anarchy 

  • Year: 2010
  • Director: Laurie House, Colin Powers
  • Duration: 99 minutes

Skatopia is about a punk-rock, hillbilly Mad Max style culture and hardcore skating. The owner (Brewce Martin) wanted a place where he could forget the outside and just skate which resulted in an anarchistic community. The doc covers the freedom this brings but also the dark side of the cult and its leader Brew. 

19. Waiting for Lightning

  • Year: 2012
  • Director: Jacob Rosenberg
  • Duration: 96 minutes

There are only 3 people with their name in gold on the great wall of china, and Danny is one of them. I can’t believe this happened so long ago and the X games wouldn’t be what it is today without Danny being the ultimate gnarly dude. Mad respect and truly inspiring documentary.

The doc goes a bit into how Danny was brought up his parents following the hippy trail. His brother Damon being born and 4 years later Danny (1974). The tragic death of his dad and the surf stepdad taking over the father figure and his mom eventually soothing herself in drugs and alcohol spiraling into a world of abuse and traumatizing events.

Danny and his brother always needed to prove themselves, having to make up for what was missing in the family resulted in a strong competitive spirit.

Anyway, it was about jumping the great wall of China right? Well you gotta make it a bit longer I guess and some background info doesn’t hurt. The whole jumping the Wall was quite a project and probably not even legal in many countries. They pulled it off and still to this day I am impressed with the massive gnarly jump ramp they build, nothing is too gnarly for Danny. 

20. Bones Brigade: An Autobiography

  • Year: 2012
  • Director: Stacy Peralta
  • Duration: 120 minutes

Another must-watch. The “Bones Brigade: An Autobiography” documentary goes into the history of the famous Bones Brigade and their struggles. Stacy (former Z-boy and world champion Stacy Peralta formed the best skateboard team from amateur kids from broken homes.

You’ll see the rise of skateboarding and death in the early ’80s, how it impacted everyone and eventually rising to become stars. Skateparks being demolished and ramps built in backyards which eventually grew a larger and larger crowd until skateboarding came back. 

Mullen destroying the freestyle competition, the pressure on Tony Hawk to keep winning, Steve Cabbellero looking up to the older guys and Mcgill inventing the 540 and that made Lance Mountain cry in his bed. Great watch for older skaters from the eighties, huge boards and old legends in their prime. We owe these guys a lot and they made skateboarding what it is today. 

21. Rodney Mullen’s TED Talk

  • Year: 2012
  • Director: none
  • Duration: 18 minutes

Rodney Mullen is considered the godfather of skateboarding and invented so many tricks it’s hard to keep count. Mullen talks about his life as a skateboarder, the ups and many downs and what skateboarding means to him to this day. Interesting talk, perhaps not a documentary but I didn’t want to leave it out.

22. We Are Skateboarders

  • Year: 2012
  • Director: Ben Duffy
  • Duration: 77 minutes

We are skateboarders is about the change of skateboarding over the years which you often see this debated on forums. Skateboarding is becoming too commercial, the Olympics are bad, and anyone skating for Nike is a sellout.

Mainstream is a part of skateboarding and has been for quite some time now. Is skateboarding losing its soul and purity? In this documentary Lance Mountain, Greg Lutzka, Rob Dyrdek, Peter Smolik, and Christian Hosoi engage in this discussion about the soul of skateboarding and its controversy. 

23. Freeling

  • Year: 2012
  • Director: Andrew Lovgren
  • Duration: 26 minutes

Freeling is a project from Andrew Logan telling the story of a few skateboarders and how skateboarding shaped their lives. It was awarded for the ‘Best Documentary and Best Cinematography‘ at the Student Television Network Nationals and ‘Best Documentary‘ at both the Emagine Film Festival and Focus Film Festival.

24. The Motivation

  • Year: 2013
  • Director: Adam Bhala Lough
  • Duration: 90 minutes

The documentary follows 8 of the world’s top skaters preparing for the Street League championship. SL is the first pro-series introduced by one of the most controversial skateboarding personalities Rob Dyrdek.

Some call him a sellout others call him a businessman but I personally like to stay out of this one. This documentary features Nyjah Huston, Ryan Sheckler, Chris Cole, Bastien Salabanzi, Sean Malto, Paul Rodriquez, Luan Oliveira, and Chaz Ortiz.

25. We Are Blood

  • Year: 2015
  • Director: Ty Evans
  • Duration: 91 minutes

Road trip style documentary about a couple of great skateboarders traveling the world looking for gnarly spots. Great footage from the US and Barcelona but the storytelling is a bit lacking. Despite some flaws, the editting is done really well and the footage is epic, worth a watch for the camera work alone.

26. All This Mayhem

  • Year: 2014
  • Director: Eddie Martin
  • Duration: 104 minutes

Get ready for the most intense documentaries ever made about skateboarding. Great storytelling about the brothers Tas and Ben Pappas who come from Melbourne, Australia to defeat ‘The Hawk’. It spirals down further and further with substance abuse and a path of self-destruction ending in a tragedy you will find hard to believe and somehow it is all Tony Hawk’s fault.

The story is told from Tas Pappas perspective combined with old footage from the ’90s and sheds a completely different light on the ’90s skateboard scene.

According to Tas, Tony Hawk and everyone around him conspired to keep Tas from doing the first 900. Soon after everything goes downhill and the story keeps getting darker leading to tragedy no one saw coming.

27. “Nothing Meaner” The Story of Dean Lane Skatepark

  • Year: 2019
  • Director: ?
  • Duration: 46 minutes

Documentary about one of the oldest skate parks in the UK with locals telling their story. It’s a passion project from a few locals who recovered over four decades of skate footage. Some of it was sitting in attics for decades and was probably lost without the project.

Each decade sheds insight into the culture at the time and was picked up by Vans who hosted the premiere and Clockwise Film started a fundraiser to improve and restore Dean Lane park.

Other Stuff to Watch

That’s it (for now) but I might be adding more if I can find a few more gems. Posts like these are exhausting but at least it should keep you entertained if you have to stay inside. I started writing this post long before the world went full retard and I only finished it many moons into the lockdown. I also just realized this is my 100th blog post!

When you’re finished binging all of these documentaries make sure to check out my selection of the 40 best skate videos of all time or continue with this shortlist below (lots of great content!). Anyway, here are a couple of more videos to watch that don’t quite fall into the documentary category but are worth a watch. Stay safe and #staythefuckhome.

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Ruben Vee

I 'm an aged skateboarder, but I still shred responsibly. I started skateboarding 25 years ago and I'm out there whenever I can.

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