Doomed to live forever in the shadows of the greatness that is Dogtown and Z-Boys, and to always come up just a bit short in comparison, the documentary Stoked is nevertheless a well-turned-out piece of work and an excellent snapshot of the passion and mania of skateboarding in the 1980s.

While Dogtown was a historical document concerned with chronicling the circumstances and socio-economic conditions that created its particular subculture of rough-and-tumble skaters in the 1970s, Stoked takes place in the 1980s, well after the sport was established, though still on the fringe on mainstream culture. Its hero, if you can call him that, is Mark "Gator" Rogowski, one of the hottest vertical skaters in the late 1980s. A charming, brash, death-defying antihero, he not only outperformed many of the other skaters on the pro circuit at the time, but also turned his popularity into a managed media circus. Captured on video and film, and featured all over the ads that filled out the pages of skate magazines like Thrasher, Gator made himself into a poster boy for a sport that had more to do with freedom and attitude than regimented athleticism. He even scored a small part in the 1989 Christian Slater skater classic, Gleaming the Cube. Before the age of 20, Gator was making over $15,000 a month.

Continue reading: Stoked: The Rise And Fall Of Gator Review