The 15 Best Skateboarding Documentaries (Ranked 2024)

I scoured the Web for the best skateboarding docs.

My list is up to 15 so far.

A couple of surprises: There isn’t a good skateboarding doc from either 2023 or 2024 that I’ve found yet (the latest is 2022)

And, amazingly, Netflix only has one skateboarding documentary right now (though they do have “Skater Girl” (a drama)).


1) Bones Brigade: An Autobiography

Release date: November 2, 2012

I give “Bones Brigade” the nod for best skateboarding doc. It covers multiple skaters and recaps the historic time they skated together.

Stacy Peralta directs this 111-minute doc on the famous Powell-Peralta skateboarding team.

I’m talking Hawk, Mountain, Mullen, Caballero, Guerrero, and McGill.

These guys were the Michael Jordans of skateboarding in the 1980s.

Peralta formed the team in 1978.

He previously directed Dogtown and Z-Boys. Brigade features awesome archive footage from the era. There are interviews with all six team members.

You get a real sense of their personalities. Hawk is driven, Mullen is an introvert savant.

They discuss the pressure of fame and expectations. Skating evolved so quickly in the ’80s.

I love how Brigade honors the decade’s skate culture. The fashion, the music, the VHS videotapes. It captures why these guys were worshipped by skaters worldwide.

You gotta respect the immense skill and innovation.

It’s a timeless portrait of six living legends. But it’s not just a skate doc. It’s about passion, youth, and embracing counterculture. Poignant and thrilling, Brigade will make you want to dig out your old deck.

Watch it on Peacok (with subscription) or for free (with ads) on these: Tubi, Crackle, PlutoTV, Frevee and Prime Video.

You can also rent it on Amazon, Apple TVB, YouTube et al (YouTube has the best price last I checked ($.99).

Check here for all the latest streaming options:

2) Minding the Gap

Release date: August 17, 2018

Bing Liu’s Minding the Gap is essential viewing. This 93-minute doc delves deep into skateboarder culture.

Liu started filming skate videos of himself and two friends in Rockford, Illinois.

Over 12 years, it morphs into a searing look at domestic violence. Liu and his friends Zack and Keire had rough childhoods.

They use skating as an escape and a bond. You watch them grow up on screen.

Zack becomes a father but struggles with alcohol.

Keire grapples with racial identity and his dad’s death. Liu bravely confronts his mom about his stepfather’s abuse. The film gets so raw and real.

Minding the Gap shows the cycle of violence through generations. How hurt people often hurt others. But it also shows the power of friendship and resilience. You can’t help but root for these guys.

Liu’s storytelling and cinematography are incredible, especially for a debut film. It deservedly got an Oscar nom for Best Documentary.

Minding the Gap is ultimately about that rocky transition to adulthood. It’s unflinching yet deeply compassionate. You’ll want to hug your friends after watching.

Watch it on Hulu at

3) Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off

Release date: April 8, 2022

Until the Wheels Fall Off is a must-watch doc. Director Sam Jones crafts an intimate portrait of Tony Hawk. At 85 minutes, it’s a brisk yet fascinating watch. You get an all-access pass into Hawk’s life.

The archival footage is a skateboarding gold mine. There’s Hawk as a lanky 14-year-old prodigy in the 1980s. Inventing tricks, winning contests, turning pro at 16. The doc shows his drive and work ethic.

But it also reveals his struggles and demons. Hawk candidly discusses two failed marriages and financial hardships. He was “Tony Hawk broke” in the 1990s. You see a man obsessed with skating above all else.

Now in his 50s, Hawk keeps pushing himself. He’s still doing 720s and McTwists. Chasing that elusive 900 on camera. Jones shows Hawk’s vulnerability and dedication. The physical and mental toll of being the G.O.A.T.

Until the Wheels Fall Off is a fitting title. Because Hawk will never stop. For him, skating is life. It’s poignant to see an aging icon stare down mortality. This doc cements the legend of Tony Hawk. Wheels on or off, his impact is undeniable.

Watch it on HBO Max at

4) Dogtown and Z-Boys

Release date: April 26, 2001

Dogtown and Z-Boys is the OG skateboarding documentary. Directed by skate legend Stacy Peralta, it’s a time capsule.

The 91-minute doc takes you back to 1970s Venice, California. A gritty coastal slum known as “Dogtown.”

That’s where the Zephyr Skateboard Team was born. Peralta was one of the Z-Boys, along with Jay Adams and Tony Alva.

These teenage surfers brought their surf style to the streets. They were the first to skate empty pools. Pioneers of vertical skating.

The Z-Boys had a raw, aggressive style. They didn’t just ride, they attacked.

Dogtown captures their rebellious spirit. It’s all sun-bleached hair, ripped Vans, and shirtless sessions. You can feel the counterculture energy.

But beyond the nostalgia, Dogtown has substance.

Peralta blends archive footage with honest interviews. The Z-Boys reflect on their youth, fame, and struggles. It’s not all rosy memories. You see the rivalries and burnout.

Dogtown and Z-Boys won Sundance’s Audience Award in 2001.

It kickstarted a skate doc renaissance. Without this film, there might be no Bones Brigade or Lords of Dogtown.

Watch Dogtown and Z-Boys by renting it on Amazon, Apple TV, YouTube et al. Check here for the latest streaming options:

5) All this Mayhem

Release date: June 17, 2014

Buckle up for All This Mayhem, a 104-minute rollercoaster doc. Director Eddie Martin pulls no punches telling the story of Aussie skate prodigies Tas and Ben Pappas. These brothers were inseparable as they rose to fame in the 1990s.

Tas saved up cash to move to the U.S. and take on Tony Hawk. But he started dropping acid “all the time” and railing coke. Still, Tas and Ben began dethroning Hawk with their brash, CKY-fueled style. It sparked a heated rivalry.

The doc suggests Hawk, who comes off as a bit of a dick, had his photographer buddy film Tas trying to nail the elusive 900. Tas got close but held off for X Games V in ’99. Shockingly, he was shut out of the Tricks event.

Hawk then landed the 900 after 10 failed attempts and time running out. It became his career-defining moment. Tas claims Hawk’s ESPN connections (and dating an exec) played a role. Shady stuff.

Things spiraled for the brothers. Ben got busted smuggling 109g of coke from LAX to Melbourne. He turned to Xanax and heroin. Tas faced charges for drugs and domestic abuse.

Tragedy struck when Ben’s girlfriend was found dead in a river, weights tied to her. Ben was the prime suspect. Days later, he drowned. Tas got deported to Oz and relapsed.

In a final act, Tas flew to Argentina, copped a kilo of coke, and tried to smuggle it in three skateboards. He got pinched in Sydney. But Tas cleaned up, met his wife, and staged a comeback. He landed a groundbreaking Kick Flip Varial Indy 540, dubbed “The Mayhem.”

All This Mayhem is one heavy ride, man. It shreds light on skating’s dark side and the cost of living fast. Hawk and ESPN have some explaining to do. But above all, it’s a brutal reminder that even the most gifted can fall.

I watched All this Mayhem on Netflix circa 2023 but it’s gone now. Check here to see if it’s on any new streaming channels:

6) Dumb: The Story of Big Brother Magazine

Release date: June 3, 2017

Big Brother Magazine was “‘Jackass’ before Jackass”.

Get ready to laugh your ass off with Dumb: The Story of Big Brother Magazine.

This doc was so funny that it’s #9 on my list of the 29 funniest documentaries (ranked).

his 79-minute doc by Patrick O’Dell is a trip down memory lane. If you grew up in the ’90s skate scene, get nostalgic.

Big Brother was the wild, raunchy skate mag that pushed every boundary. Founded by Steve Rocco in 1992, it was the antithesis of clean-cut Thrasher.

Big Brother was all about boobs, poop jokes, and crazy stunts.

The doc features interviews with the mag’s key players. Chris Pontius, Dave Carnie, Jeff Tremaine, Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze, and more.

These guys were the original Jackass crew before MTV came calling.

O’Dell digs into the mag’s most infamous moments. The Poop Interview, the Mayhem Issue, Shit River, you name it.

You’ll cry laughing at the sheer absurdity and brilliance of it all.

But Dumb isn’t just a highlight reel. It explores how Big Brother shaped skate culture and media in the ’90s.

It was a giant middle finger to authority and political correctness. A cathartic release for angsty teens.

The doc also gets into the mag’s demise in the early 2000s. Lawsuits, creative differences, and the Jackass exodus all played a role.

It’s a bittersweet end to a truly one-of-a-kind publication.

If you’re easily offended, steer clear of Dumb. But if you appreciate subversive, lowbrow humor, strap in.

It’s a love letter to a time when skating was dangerous and nothing was off-limits.

Watch Dumb: The Story of Big Brother Magazine at Hulu at If it leaves Hulu, check here:

7) Rising Son: The Legend of Skateboarder Christian Hosoi

Release date: January 21, 2006

This 83-minute doc chronicles the high-flying career and brutal fall of a skate icon. Director Cesario Montaño leaves no stone unturned.

In the 1980s, Christian Hosoi was on top of the world. With his trademark ponytail and aerial prowess, he was the rock star of vert skating. Hosoi’s rivalries with Tony Hawk and Steve Caballero were the stuff of legend.

But behind the scenes, Hosoi was battling demons. Rising Son delves into his struggles with drug addiction and the law. In 1995, Hosoi was arrested for trying to smuggle nearly 1.5 pounds of meth from LA to Honolulu. He faced up to 10 years in prison.

The doc features candid interviews with Hosoi, his family, and his peers. You see the human side of a guy who seemed invincible on a skateboard. Hosoi’s journey from teen phenom to convicted felon is both cautionary and inspiring.

Rising Son also explores Hosoi’s redemption and rebirth. While incarcerated, he found Christianity and turned his life around. After his release in 2004, Hosoi became a youth pastor and motivational speaker.

Montaño’s film is a must-watch for any skate fan. It’s a reminder that even the brightest stars can burn out. But it’s never too late for a second act. Hosoi’s story is one of talent, excess, and ultimately, hope.

Christian Hosoi may have fallen, but he rose again.

Watch Rising Son: The Legend of Skateboarder Christian Hosoi for free on YouTube at

8) This Ain’t California

Release date: August 21, 2012

I had to turn on my sub-titles for this one!

This Ain’t California is a one-of-a-kind skateboarding documentary. Director Marten Persiel takes us behind the Iron Curtain to 1980s East Germany. Who knew the GDR had a thriving skate scene?

The 90-minute film centers around three friends: Nico, Dirk, and Dennis. Through a mix of archival footage and animations, we see their journey as teenage rebels in a repressive state. Skating was their escape, their form of protest.

Persiel paints a vivid picture of the era. The drab concrete of East Berlin contrasts with the colorful punk aesthetic of the skaters. They listened to banned Western music, made their own boards, and evaded Stasi spies.

But This Ain’t California is more than just a history lesson. It’s a celebration of the power of friendship and the resilience of youth culture. These guys built a community against all odds, united by their love of skating.

The film takes a poignant turn when we learn of Denis “Panik” Paraceck’s death in 2011. It was his passing that brought Nico and Dirk back together to reflect on their shared past. The old footage of Denis shredding is both exhilarating and heartbreaking.

This Ain’t California is a testament to the universal language of skateboarding. It shows how a board can be a symbol of freedom, no matter where you live. The film’s tagline says it all: “It’s not a trick, it’s a revolution.”

If you want to see a different side of skate culture, give This Ain’t California a watch. It’s a poignant reminder that the best skate crews are the ones that stick together, through good times and bad. Ride on, comrades.

Watch This Ain’t California for rental ($3.99 last I checked) on Apple TV or Amazon. Check here for the latest streaming options:

9) Pretending I’m a Superman: The Tony Hawk Video Game Story

Release date: August 18, 2020

Pretending I’m a Superman: The Tony Hawk Video Game Story. This 72-minute doc is a nostalgia bomb for anyone who grew up playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. Director Ludvig Gür takes you behind the pixels.

The film chronicles the unlikely partnership between Hawk and game developer Neversoft. In 1999, they created a skateboarding game that changed the industry forever. THPS sold millions of copies and spawned a beloved franchise.

Gür interviews key players like Hawk, Rodney Mullen, Chad Muska, and Steve Caballero. They share stories of motion capture sessions and seeing their digital avatars for the first time. It’s a trip down memory lane.

But Pretending I’m a Superman isn’t just about the games. It’s about how they impacted skateboarding as a whole. THPS introduced millions of kids to skate culture. It featured punk and hip-hop soundtracks that defined a generation.

The doc also explores the legacy of the series. How it revolutionized sports games with its addictive gameplay and cheat codes. How it inspired skaters to try new tricks and seek out real-life spots.

Of course, the film touches on the franchise’s decline in the late 2000s.

But it ends on a high note with the release of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 in 2020. A remastered collection that brought fans back to the glory days.

If you ever spent hours trying to land a 900 or collecting S-K-A-T-E, this doc is for you.

Watch Pretending I’m a Superman: The Tony Hawk Video Game Story for free on Kanopy at; or on Amazon Prime Video at

It’s also on Peacock (with subscription) and for free (with ads) on Tubi. Check here for the latest options:

10) Stay on Board: The Leo Baker Story

Release date: August 11, 2022

Stay on Board: The Leo Baker Story is a groundbreaking documentary.

This 72-minute doc chronicles the journey of pro skater Leo Baker. Directors Nicola Marsh and Giovanni Reda handle Leo’s story with care and respect.

Leo Baker is a trailblazer in the world of skateboarding. He came out as a trans man in 2019, during the height of his career. Stay on Board follows Leo as he navigates the challenges of transitioning while competing at the highest level.

The Netflix Original features intimate interviews with Leo, his family, and his friends in the skate community. Leo candidly discusses his struggles with gender dysphoria and the decision to transition.

It’s a raw and honest portrayal of the trans experience.

But Stay on Board is more than just a coming out story. It’s a celebration of Leo’s incredible talent on a skateboard. The footage of Leo shredding parks and streets is jaw-dropping. He has a style all his own.

The doc also delves into the history of gender in skateboarding. For decades, it’s been a male-dominated sport with a macho culture. Leo’s presence challenges those norms and pushes for greater inclusivity.

One of the most powerful moments comes when Leo decides to compete as his true self. Despite the risk of losing sponsors and facing discrimination, Leo chooses to live authentically. It’s a brave and inspiring act.

Stay on Board is essential viewing for anyone who cares about equality in sports. It’s a testament to the power of being yourself, no matter what obstacles stand in your way. Leo Baker is a hero on and off the board.

Leo Baker is leading the charge for a more inclusive future, one kickflip at a time.

Watch it on Netflix at It’s a Netflix Original so it should say there.

11) Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator

Release date: June 26, 2003

Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator is a cautionary tale of fame, ego, and darkness. Helen Stickler’s 82-minute documentary chronicles the turbulent life of 80s skateboarding icon Mark “Gator” Rogowski. And man, it’s a wild ride.

In his prime, Gator was on top of the world. He was a vertical skating pioneer with a flamboyant style. He had lucrative sponsorships, his own video game, and even a cameo in Police Academy 4. Gator was the poster boy of the skate boom.

But behind the scenes, Gator was a deeply troubled soul. Stickler’s film delves into his abusive upbringing and his struggles with alcohol and depression. Interviews with Gator’s family, friends, and fellow skaters paint a complex portrait.

The turning point comes when Gator’s girlfriend, Brandi McClain, breaks up with him. In a fit of rage and jealousy, Gator brutally murders Brandi’s friend, 21-year-old Jessica Bergsten. It’s a shocking and disturbing turn of events.

The film doesn’t shy away from the grisly details of the crime. But it also tries to understand what drove Gator to such a dark place. Was it the pressures of fame? The demons of his past? Or something even more sinister?

Stoked is a harrowing watch at times. But it’s also a fascinating look at the dark side of the skateboarding industry. How it can chew up and spit out young talent. How the culture of partying and excess can mask deeper issues.

In the end, Gator was sentenced to 31 years to life in prison. He remains behind bars to this day, a shadow of his former self. Stoked serves as a reminder that even the brightest stars can fall from grace.

Stoked is a true crime story wrapped in a skate doc. It’s not an easy watch, but it’s an important one.

Because sometimes, the highest highs can lead to the lowest lows. And that’s the tragic tale of Gator.

Watch “Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator” for free on YouTube at

12) The Motivation

Release date: May 14, 2013

The Motivation is a raw and riveting look at the world of professional skateboarding. This 88-minute documentary by director Adam Bhala Lough takes you behind the scenes of Street League, the most prestigious contest in the sport.

The film follows eight top skaters as they compete for the coveted title and $200,000 prize. You’ve got legends like Paul Rodriguez and Sean Malto rubbing shoulders with up-and-comers like Nyjah Huston and Chris Cole. The talent on display is mind-blowing.

But The Motivation isn’t just about the competition. It’s about the drive and dedication it takes to be the best. Lough’s camera captures the blood, sweat, and tears that go into every trick. The hours of practice, the failed attempts, the mental battles.

You get an intimate look at each skater’s background and personality. Paul Rodriguez opens up about his father’s legacy and his own struggles with anxiety. Nyjah Huston reflects on his unconventional upbringing and the sacrifices he’s made for skating.

The doc also explores the business side of the sport. How Street League has brought skateboarding to mainstream audiences and attracted big-name sponsors. But it also raises questions about the commodification of a counterculture.

The climax of the doc is the Street League championship in Newark, New Jersey. The tension is palpable as the skaters battle it out in front of a roaring crowd.

There are jaw-dropping moments of triumph and heartbreaking crashes.

In the end, The Motivation is a celebration of the artistry and athleticism of skateboarding. It’s a reminder of the passion and perseverance that drives these athletes to push themselves to the limit.

So if you want to see what it takes to be the best in the game, give The Motivation a watch.

Watch “The Motivation” for free (with ads) on Tubi and PlutoTV (owned by Paramount). It’s also available for rent ($3.99 last I checked) on Amazon and YouTube. Check here for the latest:

13) Dragonslayer

Release date: November 4, 2011

Dragonslayer is a raw and unflinching look at the life of a skate punk.

This 74-minute doc by director Tristan Patterson follows Josh “Skreech” Sandoval, a talented but troubled skater from Fullerton, California.

It’s a portrait of youth on the fringes.

Skreech is the kind of guy who lives for skating and partying. He’s got a reckless charm and a devil-may-care attitude. The doc captures him bombing hills, crashing pools, and shredding any spot he can find. His skating is both beautiful and chaotic.

But Dragonslayer is more than just a skate video. It’s a slice of life doc that delves into Skreech’s personal struggles. He’s a new father trying to balance his responsibilities with his wild lifestyle. He’s constantly broke and bouncing between crashed pads.

Patterson’s camera is unflinching in its portrayal of Skreech’s world. There are scenes of drug use, violence, and general debauchery.

But there are also moments of tenderness, like when Skreech cradles his baby boy. It’s a complex and nuanced character study.

The doc has a gritty, lo-fi aesthetic that matches its subject matter. Patterson shot the whole thing himself on a handheld camera.

The result is an intimate and immersive experience. You feel like you’re right there with Skreech, for better or worse.

Dragonslayer won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at SXSW in 2011.

It’s easy to see why.

The doc is a powerful and poetic portrayal of a subculture. It’s a reminder that skating is more than just a hobby for some.

Watch “Dragonslayer” on Fandor (subscription required) or rent it on Apple TV, Amazon, YouTube et al. Check here for the latest streaming options:

14) Opinion: To Each His Own

This 43-minute documentary from 2001, directed by Matt Hill, covers the unique perspectives of Globe’s riders.

Skaters profiled include Ben Pappas, Chad Fernandez, Chet Thomas, Danny Gonzalez, Gershon Mosley, Jayme Fortune, Matt Mumford, Mike Peterson, Renton Millar, Rodney Mullen, and Ryan Kenreich.

It’s also got one of the best soundtracks of any skateboarding documentary:

  • Intro: Dubtribe Sound Systems – Memory Part 1
  • Chad Fernandez: White Zombie – Thunder Kiss ’65
  • Jayme Fortune: Steve Wynn – Smash Myself to Bits
  • Gershon Mosley: Acey Alone & Elusive – I Think I Know Too Much
  • Ryan Kenreich: Cut Chemist vs Shortcut – Live at the Future Primitive Sound Session Vol1
  • Danny Gonzalez: Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – Bhindi Bhagee
  • Mike Peterson: Engine Down – Retread
  • Ben Pappas & Renton Millar: Dropkick Murphys – Amazing Grace
  • Chet Thomas #1: DJ Krush – Escapee feat ASA
  • Chet Thomas #2: Saru – Bamboo Shadow
  • Matt Mumford: Iggy Pop & The Stooges – Gimme Danger
  • Rodney Mullen: Zoeangel – Sweet Home Alabama
  • Credits: The Album Leaf – In Between Lines

Watch “Opinion: To Each His Own” for free on YouTube by clicking the video embed above or going here:

15) Skateistan: Four Wheels and a Board in Kabul

Release date: May 13, 2011

Skateistan: Four Wheels and a Board in Kabul (aka “Skateistan: To Live and Skate Kabul”) is a heartwarming and inspiring doc.

This 60-minute film by director Orlando von Einsiedel takes us to the streets of Afghanistan. It’s a story of hope and empowerment through skateboarding.

The doc centers around Skateistan, a non-profit organization that teaches skateboarding to kids in Kabul. In a city torn by war and poverty, Skateistan provides a safe haven for youth to play and learn. The school welcomes boys and girls from all backgrounds.

We meet a group of young Afghans who have found joy and purpose through skating. There’s Murza, a 17-year-old boy who dreams of becoming a professional skater. There’s Fareesa, a 12-year-old girl who defies gender norms by shredding with the boys.

The doc follows their daily lives and the challenges they face. Many of the kids work on the streets to support their families. Some have lost relatives to violence. But at Skateistan, they can forget their troubles and just be kids.

Von Einsiedel’s camera captures the energy and enthusiasm of the young skaters. Their smiles and laughter are infectious. The footage of them carving through the streets of Kabul is both exhilarating and poignant.

Skateistan is more than just a skate school. It’s a community center that provides education and job training. The org also works to break down social barriers and promote gender equality. In a country where women’s rights are limited, seeing girls on skateboards is a powerful statement.

The doc also highlights the dedication of the Skateistan staff. Most are volunteers who believe in the transformative power of skateboarding. They serve as mentors and role models for the kids, teaching them life skills on and off the board.

In the end, Skateistan: Four Wheels and a Board in Kabul is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. It’s a reminder that even in the darkest of circumstances, there is always room for joy and hope.

Watch “Skateistan” on GuideDoc at

Thanks for reading!

Rob Kelly

Chief Maniac, Daily Doc