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The Top 5 Philadelphia Skate Videos – Philly’s Unique Contributions

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Explore the Top 5 Skate Videos capturing the essence of Philadelphia’s skate scene, chronicling its highs and lows—from the days when skateboarding was deemed illegal, leading to skaters facing arrest, to the present era, and the ever-evolving skate spots. This list is more than a history lesson; it’s a must-know for every skateboarder in the Philadelphia region.

Did you know that Philly was once known as the mecca of street skateboarding, and Love Park was world-renowned? Philadelphia was the top sought-after city for skating, attracting people from all over the globe—from professional skaters on tours to hosting the X-Games. We even had one of the most popular indoor skateparks just outside of Lansdale, PA called Cheap Skates. That’s right, the history goes deep and still lives on! We’ve created a video list showcasing some of the most influential and best skateboarding videos of all time that take place in Philadelphia. Check it out!

These videos highlight the diverse skate spots and unique street skating culture that Philadelphia has contributed to the skateboarding world. Each video offers a different perspective on the city’s iconic locations and the skaters who have left their mark on them.

Eastern Exposure 3: Underachievers (1996)

Directed by Josh Stewart is a skateboarding video that highlights East Coast skaters, including a segment showcasing Philadelphia’s iconic Love Park and City Hall. As a bonus, viewers get a glimpse of a young Bam Margera before his rise to MTV stardom. Explore the video to witness not only the legendary street spots but also clips featuring one of the most iconic indoor skateparks, Cheap Skates, located just outside Lansdale, PA. It’s a nostalgic journey through both historic street skating locations and a renowned local skatepark. If you have the time, be sure to check out all three Eastern Exposure videos!

Photosynthesis (2000)

Directed by Bill Strobeck, stands as an iconic Alien Workshop production, showcasing the team’s creativity, progression and style. Widely regarded as one of the best skateboard videos of all time, it captures the essence of the Philadelphia skate scene at its peak. The video features skateboarding legends such as Josh Kalis, Anthony Van Engelen, and Jason Dill (currently the owner of FA/Hockey), alongside Rob Dyrdek (now known as MTV’s host of Ridiculousness). Stevie Williams, a West Philly native and owner of DGK, makes guest appearances, as does Kevin Taylor, a skateboarding legend with three decades of professional experience who still resides in Philly. Photosynthesis is a masterpiece that not only documents the skill and style of renowned skateboarders but also captures the vibrant energy of the Philadelphia skateboarding community during its golden era. This is a must watch video!

The DC Video (2003)

Directed by Greg Hunt, marks a pivotal moment during the golden era of Philadelphia skateboarding. Released in the aftermath of “Photosynthesis,” this period saw an explosive surge in skateboarding interest, partially fueled by the hosting of the ESPN X-Games in Philadelphia in 2001 and 2002. The video reflects this progression not only in terms of production quality but also in the evolution of skateboarding tricks. A significant highlight is the introduction of the Mega Ramp, invented by Danny Way, which made historic waves in the skateboarding world. Beyond showcasing Philadelphia’s vibrant skateboarding scene, the video breaks new ground by unveiling an entirely new category within the sport. Stevie Williams, at the pinnacle of his skating career while residing in Philadelphia, delivers a full video part, adding an extra layer of significance to this influential skateboarding masterpiece. Additionally, it features Rob Dyerdk’s last full part as a professional skateboarder before transitioning into a TV star. He uses a section of his video part as the pilot for his MTV reality TV show, “Rob & Big,” which was a huge success and eventually led to “Rob’s Fantasy Factory” and then “Ridiculousness.”

The LOVE Park Story, as presented in the ON Video Winter 2004 issue

Offers a unique journey through the evolution of skateboarding at Love Park. Seamlessly blending a decade’s worth of incredible footage, this documentary provides insights from legends such as Bam Margera, Kerry Getz, Kevin Taylor, and Stevie Williams. It unravels the rich history of Love Park and its rise to global skateboarding fame. The film also goes into the complex relationship between skateboarders and City Hall in Philadelphia, shedding light on the ongoing efforts to reclaim Love Park for skateboarding. Significant events, including the October 5 Free Love Park Rally, are highlighted. Throughout this video, the active role of Skate Philly (formerly known as Franklin’s Paine Skatepark Fund), a Philadelphia non-profit, comes to the forefront.

The Sabotage series (2010–present)

Directed by Brian Panebianco, stands out for its raw and gritty portrayal of the vibrant Philadelphia skate scene, often centered around the iconic Love Park. This series marks a distinct transition from the preceding era, signaling the end of one chapter and the dawn of a new era in Philadelphia skateboarding. This video captures the emergence of renowned professional skaters like Ishod Wair, Mark Suciu,Joey O’Brien, Joey Marrone as well as highlights Josh Kalis, Walker Ryan, and many others. Notably, these videos show how skaters repurpose the Love Park modifications intended to deter skateboarding, turning them into new and innovative obstacles.

It’s worth noting a recurring figure in these video descriptions—Josh Kalis. An influential force in the Philadelphia skateboarding community, Kalis utilizes his professional skate status to showcase the city and perpetuate its skateboarding legacy. For an immersive experience, we highly recommend exploring the entire Sabotage series, with the highlighted video below ranking among our top favorites, featuring an impressive lineup of professional skaters.

In conclusion, the Top 5 Philadelphia Skate Videos offer a captivating journey through the rich history of the city’s skateboarding culture. From the days of legal challenges and arrests to the present era of ever-evolving skate spots, these videos serve as a testament to the resilience and creativity of Philadelphia’s skate scene. Each video is more than a historical account; it’s a vibrant portrayal of iconic locations and the skaters who have shaped them.

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