Skateboarding Books Every Skater Should Own

Locals Only Skateboarding book

If you’re anything like me, skateboarding isn’t just a sport; it’s a way of life. It’s about the thrill of landing a new trick, the camaraderie of skating with friends, and the culture that surrounds this incredible activity. Over the years, I’ve dived deep into the world of skateboarding and along the way, I’ve discovered some truly amazing books that encapsulate the spirit, history, and art of skateboarding. These books are not just about skate tricks or techniques; they capture the essence of skate culture, its evolution, and the influential figures who have shaped it.

Whether you’re looking to get inspired by the stories of legendary skaters, appreciate the stunning photography that documents skateboarding’s most iconic moments, or delve into the artistic side of deck designs and graphics, there’s something in these books for everyone. Today, I want to share with you my top picks for skateboarding books that every skater should own. These books have found a permanent place on my shelf and in my heart, and I believe they will do the same for you. Trust me, you’ll want to add these to your collection!

’93 Till Skateboarding Book

93 Till Skateboarding Book

Let’s kick things off with the ’93 Till: A Photographic Journey Through Skateboarding in the 1990s’. This gem takes you on a visual journey through the 1990s, a pivotal decade for skateboarding. The stunning photography and personal stories from influential skaters of that era make it a must-read. This book isn’t just about the tricks and the competitions; it’s about the culture, the style, and the raw, unfiltered passion that defined skateboarding in the ’90s. The decade saw skateboarding evolve from a subculture to a mainstream phenomenon, and ’93 Till captures that transformation beautifully. If you want to understand the roots of modern skateboarding culture and see how it grew into what it is today, this book is your ticket. It’s a visual and emotional trip down memory lane that every skater should experience.

It’s Not About Pretty

It's Not About Pretty

Next up is ‘It’s Not About Pretty’. This book is groundbreaking and long overdue, shining a much-needed light on the world of female skateboarders. Written and photographed by Cindy Whitehead, it features powerful images and compelling stories of women who have made significant contributions to skateboarding. Each page captures the raw emotion, fierce determination, and boundless creativity of these skaters, challenging the stereotypes that have long existed in our sport.

‘It’s Not About Pretty’ celebrates the strength and resilience of female skaters who have broken barriers and paved the way for future generations. This book is an essential read for anyone who wants to promote diversity and inclusivity in skateboarding. It’s a testament to the fact that skateboarding is for everyone, regardless of gender. The inspiring stories and stunning visuals in this book will leave you motivated and proud of the incredible women who continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible on a skateboard.

Jim Phillips Skateboard Art

Jim Phillips Skateboard Art

If you’re into skate art, you can’t miss ‘Jim Phillips Skateboard Art’. Jim Phillips is a legend in the skateboarding world, renowned for his iconic skateboard graphics. This book is a comprehensive collection of his work, from the infamous Screaming Hand to countless deck designs that have become cultural icons in their own right.

‘Jim Phillips Skateboard Art’ is a visual feast, showcasing the bold, vibrant, and often surreal art that has adorned skateboards for decades. It’s more than just a collection of images; it’s a testament to how art and skateboarding intersect, influencing not only the aesthetics of our sport but also its culture. Phillips’ artwork captures the rebellious spirit and creative energy that define skateboarding, making this book a must-have for any skater or art enthusiast. Whether you’re a longtime fan of his work or new to the world of skate art, this book offers an inspiring glimpse into the creative mind of one of skateboarding’s most influential artists.

Locals Only Skateboarding Book

Local Only Skateboard Book

Now, let’s talk about ‘Locals Only: California Skateboarding 1975-1978’. This book is a true gem for anyone passionate about skateboarding history. The story begins in 1975 when a young photographer named Hugh Holland stumbled upon skateboarders riding the drainage ditches of Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles. Captivated by their effortless grace and athletic prowess, he decided to document this burgeoning culture.

For the next three years, Hugh immersed himself in the skateboarding scene, capturing incredible shots of skaters in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Venice Beach, and even as far away as San Francisco and Baja California, Mexico. The mid-70s drought in Southern California meant empty swimming pools were everywhere, and these pools became the perfect playgrounds for skaters to push the boundaries of what was possible on a board.

‘Locals Only’ beautifully showcases the raw energy and rebellious spirit of these young skaters. It’s packed with stunning photos of legendary figures from the Dogtown and Z-Boys era, with their iconic bleached blonde hair, tanned bodies, tube socks, and Vans. These images are set against the sun-drenched backdrop of Southern California, bringing to life a time when skateboarding was just beginning to carve out its place in the world.

This book is more than just a collection of photos; it’s a deep dive into a pivotal moment in skateboarding history. It’s a must-have for anyone looking to understand the roots of skate culture and see the world through the eyes of a photographer who was there to capture it all. If you’re a fan of skateboarding’s golden era, ‘Locals Only’ is a book you absolutely need on your shelf.

Skate the World

Skate the World

For those who love to travel and skate, ‘Skate the World’ by Jonathan Mehring is an absolute must-have. This inspiring travelogue documents skateboarding across the globe, offering a breathtaking visual journey through stunning photography and compelling stories. Mehring’s work highlights how skateboarding transcends borders and unites people from diverse cultures, proving that skateboarding is a universal language.

From the bustling streets of New York to the vibrant alleys of Bangkok, ‘Skate the World’ captures the essence of global skate culture and the connections it fosters worldwide. The book showcases skaters in a variety of unique and iconic locations, demonstrating how the spirit of skateboarding brings people together, regardless of their background or location. Each page is a testament to the power of skateboarding to inspire and connect, making ‘Skate the World’ an essential read for anyone passionate about travel, culture, and skateboarding.

The Disposable Skateboard Bible

The Disposable Skateboard Bible

Next on my list is ‘The Disposable Skateboard Bible’ by Sean Cliver. This book is the definitive guide to skateboard design and history, a true treasure trove for anyone passionate about skateboarding. It takes you through the evolution of skateboard graphics, tracing the journey from the 1960s to today. What makes this book stand out is its comprehensive approach, featuring interviews with iconic skaters, designers, and artists who have shaped the culture. With over 1,000 images of rare and iconic boards, ‘The Disposable Skateboard Bible’ is a visual feast that showcases the bold, creative, and sometimes controversial designs that have defined each era of skateboarding.

Whether you’re a seasoned collector or just fascinated by the art of skateboarding, this book has something for everyone. Cliver’s storytelling and attention to detail bring each board’s history to life, making it not just a guide but a journey through time. From the early days of the wood boards to the latest innovations in deck design, ‘The Disposable Skateboard Bible’ covers it all. It’s a must-have addition to your collection, offering insights into the evolution of skate culture and the art behind the boards we love. If you’re looking to deepen your understanding of skateboarding’s visual heritage, this book is an essential read.

The Mutt – Rodney Mullen

The Mutt - Rodney Mullen

Rodney Mullen fans, this one’s for you. ‘The Mutt: How to Skateboard and Not Kill Yourself’ is an autobiography by the godfather of street skating himself. Mullen’s journey from a shy kid in Florida to a skateboarding legend is nothing short of inspiring. This book delves deep into his life, filled with personal anecdotes that reveal the man behind the tricks. You’ll get an insider’s look at his innovative mind, learning how he developed some of the most iconic tricks in skateboarding history, like the kickflip and the 360 flip.

But ‘The Mutt’ is more than just a recounting of tricks and competitions; it’s a reflection on the skateboarding industry and culture from someone who has seen it evolve from the ground up. Mullen’s insights into the highs and lows of his career, his battles with injuries, and his relentless pursuit of perfection make for a compelling read. His story is a testament to passion, perseverance, and the power of creativity. Whether you’re a skater looking to push your own limits or a fan eager to learn more about one of skateboarding’s most influential figures, this book is a must-read. It’s an intimate glimpse into the life of a true pioneer, offering lessons that go beyond skateboarding and resonate with anyone striving to master their craft.

Vans Off the Wall Book

Vans Off the Wall Book

Last but not least, we have ‘Vans: Off the Wall’. This book chronicles the history of one of the most iconic brands in skateboarding. It explores Vans’ roots, its impact on skate culture, and its evolution over the decades. From its humble beginnings in Anaheim, California, to becoming a global symbol of skateboarding and streetwear, Vans has always been at the forefront of skate culture.

‘Vans: Off the Wall’ features interviews with key figures who have been part of the Vans family, sharing their personal stories and experiences with the brand. The book is filled with archival photos that capture the essence of Vans’ journey and its deep connection with skaters around the world. You’ll see how Vans shoes became the footwear of choice for skaters, thanks to their durability and distinctive style.

This book is more than just a brand history; it’s a celebration of the enduring legacy and influence Vans has had on skateboarding. It showcases the brand’s role in supporting skate communities, sponsoring events, and fostering a culture of creativity and individuality. For anyone who loves skateboarding, fashion, or just a good story of entrepreneurial spirit, ‘Vans: Off the Wall’ is a must-read. It’s a fitting tribute to a brand that has become synonymous with the skateboarding lifestyle.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, folks! These are the skateboarding books that have found a permanent place on my bookshelf. Each one offers a wealth of knowledge, history, and inspiration that every skater should experience. Whether you’re looking to deepen your understanding of skate culture, appreciate stunning visuals, or enjoy compelling stories, these books are essential additions to your collection. Happy reading, and keep shredding!

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