Skateboarding is more than just a sport – it’s a culture, a lifestyle, and an art. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a curious beginner, immersing yourself in skateboarding literature can provide inspiration, education, and entertainment. From autobiographies to technique guides, culture studies to fiction, here are the top skateboarding books you should add to your reading list.
The History of Skateboarding Books
Skateboarding has a rich and diverse history, and there have been many books written about the evolution of the sport. The earliest skateboarding books focused on the technical aspects of the activity, such as how to perform tricks and build ramps. However, as skateboarding became more mainstream, books began to explore the cultural and social significance of the sport, as well as its artistic expression. These books have helped to shape and define skateboarding culture as we know it today.
The Evolution of Skateboarding Literature
The first skateboarding books were published in the 1970s, during the rise of the sport’s popularity. They were mostly instructional manuals, designed to help novices learn the basics of riding and trick execution. As the sport grew in popularity, so did the demand for more advanced literature. Soon, books were being published that explored the history of skateboarding, the cultural impact it had on society, and the experiences of its most prominent athletes. These books helped to elevate skateboarding from a simple pastime to a cultural phenomenon.
One of the most notable books from this era is “The Skateboard Book” by Ben Marcus. This book, published in 1977, was one of the first to explore the cultural significance of skateboarding. It featured interviews with prominent skateboarders, as well as photographs and illustrations that captured the essence of the sport. Another influential book from this era is “Skateboarding: The Ultimate Guide” by Evan Goodfellow. This book, published in 1981, provided a comprehensive overview of the sport, including its history, technical aspects, and cultural impact. It is still considered a classic in the world of skateboarding literature.
Iconic Skateboarding Books from the Past
One of the most iconic skateboarding books is “The Skateboarder’s Bible” by Steve Rocco and James Cassimus. Originally published in 1976, this book contains detailed instructions for building your own skateboard and learning basic tricks. It was one of the first instructional manuals for skateboarding and helped to popularize the sport. Another classic skateboarding book is “Freestyle Skateboarding” by Bob Umble, which focuses on the art of freestyle skateboarding and was published in 1981. This book features photographs and step-by-step instructions for performing a variety of tricks, as well as interviews with some of the most influential freestyle skateboarders of the time.
Skateboarding literature continues to evolve and expand, with new books being published every year. From memoirs by professional skateboarders to coffee table books filled with stunning photography, there is something for every fan of the sport. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, there is always more to learn about the history, culture, and art of skateboarding.
The Best Skateboarding Autobiographies
Skateboarding is not just a sport, it’s a way of life. The thrill of riding a skateboard is like no other, and the culture surrounding it is unique and vibrant. Many of the most famous skateboarders in the world have written autobiographies, offering readers a glimpse into their lives and minds. These books are not just about skateboarding, but about the struggles, triumphs, and perspectives on life that come with it.
Tony Hawk: Professional Skateboarder
Tony Hawk is a household name, even for those who have never set foot on a skateboard. His autobiography, “Professional Skateboarder,” is a fascinating read that takes readers on a journey through his life and career. From his humble beginnings as a young skater in California to his global celebrity status in the 1990s and beyond, Hawk’s story is one of perseverance, passion, and dedication.
But “Professional Skateboarder” is not just a story about Tony Hawk. It’s also a story about the evolution of skateboarding as a sport and culture. Hawk’s influence on the sport is undeniable, and his book offers a unique perspective on the changes and challenges that skateboarding has faced over the years.
The Mutt: How to Skateboard and Not Kill Yourself by Rodney Mullen
Rodney Mullen is a legend in the skateboarding world. He is known for his innovative and groundbreaking style of street skating and freestyle, and his autobiography, “The Mutt: How to Skateboard and Not Kill Yourself,” is a must-read for any fan of the sport.
The book is not just a memoir of Mullen’s life, but a guide to skateboarding and life in general. Mullen shares his insights and philosophies on everything from creativity and innovation to overcoming obstacles and dealing with failure. His approach to skateboarding is not just about tricks and stunts, but about pushing the boundaries of what is possible and finding joy in the process.
“The Mutt” is also a story about the power of perseverance. Mullen faced many challenges and setbacks throughout his career, but he never gave up. His story is a testament to the idea that with hard work, dedication, and a willingness to take risks, anything is possible.
Skateboarding Technique and Trick Guides
If you’re looking to improve your skateboarding skills, there are many books available that offer detailed instructions and tips on trick execution and technique. These books often include step-by-step illustrations or photographs, as well as insider knowledge from some of the sport’s top athletes and coaches.
Skateboarding is a thrilling sport that requires a combination of balance, coordination, and courage. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced skater, there’s always room for improvement. With the help of these books, you can learn new tricks and perfect your technique, taking your skateboarding to the next level.
Mastering Skateboarding by Per Welinder
“Mastering Skateboarding” is a comprehensive guide to skateboarding technique and trick execution, written by Per Welinder, a former professional skateboarder and X-Games gold medalist. The book covers everything from basic riding and turning to complex aerial maneuvers and ramp skating.
Welinder’s book is a must-read for anyone looking to improve their skateboarding skills. With detailed instructions and clear illustrations, he breaks down each trick into its component parts, making it easy to understand and master. The book also includes tips on how to stay safe while skateboarding, as well as advice on how to choose the right equipment for your needs.
Skateboarding: Legendary Tricks by Steve Badillo
Another essential book for trick and technique enthusiasts is “Skateboarding: Legendary Tricks” by Steve Badillo. The book features detailed instructions for over 100 classic skateboard tricks, as well as tips and advice from top pros like Tony Hawk and Bam Margera.
Badillo’s book is a treasure trove of information for skaters of all levels. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned pro, you’ll find plenty of new tricks and techniques to try. The book also includes sections on skateboarding history and culture, giving readers a deeper understanding of the sport and its roots.
Overall, these two books are essential reading for anyone looking to improve their skateboarding skills. With their detailed instructions, expert advice, and insider knowledge, they’re sure to help you take your skateboarding to the next level.
Skateboarding Culture and Lifestyle
Skateboarding is not just a sport, but a way of life that has evolved into a cultural phenomenon. It has become a popular form of self-expression, creativity, and rebellion that has captured the hearts of millions of people worldwide. The skateboarding culture is a unique blend of art, fashion, music, and lifestyle that has influenced generations.
Skateboarding is not just about performing tricks on a board, but it’s also about the community that surrounds it. Skate parks and local skate shops have become gathering places for skateboarders to connect and share their passion for the sport. Skateboarding has also inspired a wide range of fashion trends, from the baggy pants and oversized t-shirts of the 90s to the skinny jeans and snapback hats of today.
Books that explore the social, artistic, and cultural aspects of skateboarding can offer unique insights into the world of skateboarding and the people who inhabit it. These books showcase the creativity and diversity of the sport and offer a glimpse into the lives of skateboarders around the world.
Disposable: A History of Skateboard Art by Sean Cliver
“Disposable: A History of Skateboard Art” is a gorgeous coffee table book that explores the artistic side of skateboarding. Author Sean Cliver has collected hundreds of skateboard graphics from the past few decades, showcasing the creativity and diversity of the art form. The book not only provides a comprehensive history of skateboard art but also highlights the cultural significance of the art form. Skateboard graphics have become a form of self-expression for skateboarders, and this book celebrates that.
The book features the works of some of the most influential skateboard artists, including Jim Phillips, Vernon Courtlandt Johnson, and Mark Gonzales. It also includes interviews with skateboarders and artists who have contributed to the art form. “Disposable” is not just a book about skateboard art, but a celebration of the culture that surrounds it.
Skate the World: Photographing One World of Skateboarding by Jonathan Mehring
This beautiful book by photographer Jonathan Mehring captures the beauty and excitement of skateboarding around the world. From the streets of New York City to the beaches of Bali, Mehring’s stunning images showcase the universal appeal of skateboarding as a global phenomenon. The book features photographs of skateboarders from all walks of life, highlighting the diversity of the sport.
Mehring’s photographs not only capture the action and energy of skateboarding but also the culture and lifestyle that surrounds it. The book features images of skateboarders in their natural environments, from skate parks to city streets. The photographs are accompanied by personal stories and interviews with skateboarders from around the world, providing a unique insight into the lives of skateboarders.
“Skate the World” is not just a book about skateboarding, but a celebration of the global community that has formed around the sport. It showcases the passion, creativity, and diversity of skateboarders worldwide and highlights the positive impact that skateboarding can have on people’s lives.
Skateboarding Fiction and Graphic Novels
Skateboarding has also inspired a number of works of fiction and graphic novels. These books offer unique perspectives on the sport and its subcultures, as well as providing entertaining reading for fans of all ages.
Slam by Nick Hornby
“Slam” is a coming-of-age novel by acclaimed author Nick Hornby, which tells the story of a teenage skateboarder named Sam who becomes a single father. The book captures the angst and energy of youth culture, as well as the joys and challenges of parenthood.
The Skateboard: The Good, the Rad, and the Gnarly by Ben Marcus
This graphic novel by Ben Marcus tells the story of a group of skateboarders in San Francisco, exploring the themes of friendship, love, and self-expression. The book’s colorful and dynamic illustrations capture the excitement and creativity of skateboarding culture.
You can find this book here.
In conclusion, these skateboarding books offer a diverse range of perspectives on the sport, from technical instruction to cultural analysis and personal memoir. Whether you’re a die-hard skater or simply interested in learning more about this fascinating subculture, these books are sure to inform, inspire, and entertain. Add them to your reading list today and experience the richness and diversity of skateboarding literature for yourself.