Typical manner of shooting a skate video

A skate video is a movie of or about skateboarding typically showing new tricks and a series of skateboarders in a montage set to music.[1]


Released in 1965, the short film Skaterdater is credited as the first film to depict skateboarding and therefore the first skate video. In 2015, The Berrics campaigned for the film's acceptance into the National Film Registry.[2] However, the Powell Peralta company is often credited as creating the first skate videos proper that were not a part of a fictional film or a documentary. Their first video, The Bones Brigade Video Show (1984), was expected to sell just 300 copies on VHS, but it sold 30,000.[3]

From the invention of the skate video genre in the 1980s till the early 2000s, skate videos were distributed via VHS tapes sold primarily at skate shops.[3] In the early 2000s skate videos transferred to DVDs along with the rest of the home video market. The advent of social media and new digital filmmaking tools such as Instagram and YouTube challenged skate video traditions, putting less emphasis on full videos and more emphasis on shorter clips.[4] The conventions and styles of skate videos continue to evolve and redefine themselves alongside the sport of skateboarding.[4][5]


There is a variety of skate videos that are produced, from independent individual filmmakers to those commissioned by skateboard companies who use the video to promote the brand.[6] Additionally, small skate shops, magazines, websites, collectives, and independent skaters make skate videos for the love of skateboarding; as well as, promotional material.[5][7]

411 Video Magazine was a popular bi-monthly video log published from the 1990s to the 2000s.

Film director Spike Jonze has shot several skate videos, including Blind's Video Days (1991) and Girl and Chocolate's Yeah Right! (2003).[8]

Throughout the late 2010s and into the 2020s, filmmaker William Strobeck has developed a style of producing skate videos which goes against traditional skate video conventions such as the use of fisheye lenses and sequential sectioned parts in favour of a more experimental approach.[9][10][11]

Many amateur skateboarders hold professional skate videos in high regard, and as authentic representations of skateboarding, and attempt to create their own videos.[6] Amateur and professional skateboarding videos are often shared via social media.[6]

Content and style

In most skate videos, skaters show their skills in sections called video parts, but other formats and techniques, such as montages, are used, and new tricks are often demonstrated.[12] It is common to have the best highlight trick as the final trick in video parts, this is referred to as the ender.

Most videos feature "slam sections" of tricks that end up in failure and spectacular falls where the skateboarder is hurt.[13][6] They are macabre yet popular because they serve as a reminder that skateboarding is a dangerous sport.[13] Another common feature is sections covering skateboarders off the board, covering their personalities.[6]

Although skate videos vary in aesthetic style and content, there are several common denominators. They are usually anything from half an hour to an hour long, feature skateboarders performing tricks in urban environments, and are edited to include song-length segments. Ultimately, producers try to promote their idea of skate style, achieved by montage and editing.[6]

One of the most common camera used to shoot skate videos in the late 90s and early 2000s was the Sony DCR-VX1000 which is still used today by some filmmakers.[14][15] Often the videos are shot using a fisheye lens.[16] Skate videos are also notable for featuring music soundtracks of punk rock, alternative rock, or hip-hop music.[17]

Notable skate videos






  1. ^ "Go Skateboarding Day: 8 Things Every Skate Video Needs". The Shutterstock Blog. 21 June 2016.
  3. ^ a b Borden, Iain (2019). Skateboarding and the City: A Complete History. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 84. ISBN 978-1-4725-8348-2.
  4. ^ a b Kang, Interview by Jay Caspian (9 January 2019). "Bing Liu Sees Skateboarding as a Tool for Life". The New York Times.
  5. ^ a b Ducker, Eric (2018-08-16). "From Thrashin' to Kids and Beyond: A History of Skateboarding Movies". The Ringer. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Yochim, Emil Chivers (2010). Skate Life: Re-Imagining White Masculinity. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-472-05080-2.
  7. ^ "skatevideosite.com skate video archive". skatevideosite.com. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  8. ^ Hill, Logan (2013-11-01). "A Prankster and His Films Mature". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  9. ^ see "William Strobeck", Wikipedia, 2022-06-02, retrieved 2022-10-17
  10. ^ "The Rules of Skateboarding #22: Bill Strobeck". VILLAGE PSYCHIC. Retrieved 2022-10-17.
  11. ^ "Bill Strobeck Interview | Quartersnacks". 2014-02-28. Retrieved 2022-10-17.
  12. ^ "How To: Filming and Editing a Skate Video". Motion Boardshop. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  13. ^ a b Novak, Brandon; Fritz, Joe (2017). Dreamseller: An Addiction Memoir (Updated ed.). New York: Citadel Press. p. 197. ISBN 978-0-8065-3220-2.
  14. ^ "VX1000: The Story of Skateboarding's Most Iconic Camera". YouTube. Red Bull Skateboarding. June 15, 2023. Retrieved July 23, 2023.
  15. ^ "How Sony unintentionally defined the skate video". engadget.com. Engadget. 30 September 2022. Retrieved 23 July 2023.
  16. ^ "TRACING THE HISTORY OF SKATEBOARDING'S MOST FAMOUS CAMERA". Jenkem Magazine. 2018-07-13. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  17. ^ "The 10 Best Soundtracks from Skateboarding Videos". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  18. ^ Benni (26 June 2015). "10 skateboarding video classics". skatedeluxe Blog. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  19. ^ "Sick Boys profile - Skate Video Site". www.skatevideosite.com. Retrieved 2023-01-30.

Further reading