Initially when skateboarding started to catch on, it caught on in areas that were predominantly inhabited by surfers. Many of the early parts of skateboard culture were tied to the surfing culture, and it was not until skateboard branched out to other areas of the world that were not influenced by surfing that it developed its own personality.

The first injection of skateboarding into mainstream culture came through movies and music. Starting in the late 1980's, movies began to appear that portrayed skateboarding culture as a group of reckless punks that were bent on destruction. This image was deepened when heavy metal bands, and punk bands, began to appear in conjunction with skaters on videos and in the ever growing library of movies.

But by the middle of the 1990's, there was a movement among skateboarders that wanted to become civilized business people and successful inspirations to others. While some skateboarding magazines maintained the rebellious image, others countered that with information geared towards the more serious skater who was more interested in improving their technique than in breaking the law. As skateboarding videos started to branch out into hip hop and reggae music, the people influenced by those genres of music started to take an interest in skateboarding. This helped skateboarding to grow even more, and the next level of exposure brought wealth to those that looked as skating as a business instead of a thumb at the nose of society.

As video games and fashion become more popular in the 1990's, skateboarding kept pace by being the foundation for several successful video game titles and offering fashion companies such as Vans Shoes that eventually found their way into mainstream society. Today skateboarding video games are among some of the most successful titles being sold, and there are new skateboard fashions being introduced regularly that make it well into the mainstream of American culture. Skateboarding received a huge boost when the X-Games made it to ESPN in 1997, and reached the television sets of millions of impressionable skating hopefuls. Since 1997, the X-Games have moved to major network television and are now seen by millions of people all over the world each and every year.