It’s a hot summer day and the session is kicking off at the local skatepark. Bowls are carved, teens practice Trè Flips, and gnarly wipeouts abound. Never mind the heat, there are still dozens of skaters wearing short-sleeve T-shirts over long-sleeves. Someone is blasting punk music, and no one dares to say “turn it down.”
Punk and skating have been inseparable since their origins. After all, shredding can be done with a guitar or with a skateboard, and with Southern California serving as a mecca for both punks and skaters, the two grew in popularity side by side. The peak of this period arrived in the mid-’90s to the early 2000s — the heyday of the X-Games and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was in full swing, all while The Offspring, Blink-182, Green Day, and more dominated the mainstream. It was a good time to be a skater, and an even better time to be a fan of pop-punk.
So, drop in with us for a blast from the past and enjoy this list of timeless skatepark bangers. While there will be other eras of skater-friendly music, these are the tracks we associate the most with ollies, kickflips, scuffed knees, Mountain Dew, and rolling through the skatepark.
Note: Scroll to the bottom to see our playlist of the 10 best pop-punk songs you blasted at the skatepark, complete with some honorable mentions that didn’t make the list!
10. Lit — “My Own Worst Enemy”
It’s lit! Well, actually, before “lit” had a slang glow-up, it was the name of a Southern California rock band whose massive hit single “My Own Worst Enemy” spread self-destruction to the masses. The song was a fitting companion to slackers and skaters everywhere, who likely found something relatable in lines like, “It’s no surprise to me I am my own worst enemy/ Because every now and then I kick the living shit out of me.” After all, with skating comes the danger of wiping out — something that many riders wear with masochistic pride.
09. The Offspring — “Bad Habit”
This one is perfect for going fast. The Offspring — another Southern California band — spared no one on the blistering “Bad Habit,” which makes road rage sound like a blast in more ways than one. After a charged, restrained intro, vocalist Dexter Holland sets a furious scene: If you cut him off, tailgate him, or otherwise drive like an idiot, he’ll run you off the road. “Bad Habit” is a jolt of energy that’ll take you straight back to bombing hills at top speed.
08. Less Than Jake — “All My Best Friends Are Metalheads”
One of the highlights from the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 soundtrack comes from the Florida ska-punk outfit Less Than Jake, whose barnstorming track “All My Best Friends Are Metalheads” serves as a beloved union between ska and skating. While darker and more aggressive punk songs are good for getting your adrenaline up, “All My Best Friends Are Metalheads” is decidedly bright and wholly accessible. A little bit of tinny brass and some punchy rhythms are always welcome when the sun is high, the vibes are great, and the skate session has begun.
07. Pennywise — “Fuck Authority”
For those who would prefer to do away with the “pop” in pop-punk, seminal SoCal punk band Pennywise have plenty of raucous anthems to keep your blood pumping. Look no further than their biggest hit “Fuck Authority,” which provides a countercultural manifesto about feeling misunderstood, disenfranchised, and screwed over by the existing system. Not only does “Fuck Authority” speak to the heart of punk music as a whole, it’s a perfect soundtrack to some scrappy skatepark romps. Anyone ever tell you to put down the board or give you the poisonous edict “you can’t skate here”? Blast this song and stick it to ’em.