When Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, the skateboard video game, was released two decades ago, it opened up skateboarding culture to an entirely new audience. Kids all over the world who had never picked up a skateboard in real life, were spending hours attempting tricks like the McTwist, Madonna, Impossible, and the Stalefish, and they were doing it at some of skateboarding’s most iconic locations.
The developers of the game series recreated historical spots in skateboarding like Wallows, a drainage ditch in Hawaii, that were frequented by skaters in the 1970s and 1980s, and the Carlsbad Gap, a spot at a high school in Southern California that became famous in the 1990s. In every game level, an ode to skateboarding’s rich history was hidden in plain sight.
In the video above, Tony Hawk and Iain Borden, the author of Skateboarding and the City, tell the story of skateboarding history through its most beloved spots.