All they really want to do is ride their skateboards on challenging obstacles such as handrails, ledges and stairs.
That's almost always illegal, though, and street skateboarders across the country often get chased away by the police or security guards.
Rob Dyrdek and some of his skateboarding friends wish it could be different. The pro skateboarder and MTV star is trying to show the mainstream what street skateboarders are all about in his movie, "Street Dreams." He's also pushing for legal places to skate through his Safe Spot, Skate Spot program.
Dyrdek, the star of "Rob & Big" and now the "Fantasy Factory," had cringed long enough at Hollywood's portrayal of skateboarders.
"They just make skateboarding out as cheesy as possible," Dyrdek said by telephone from his Fantasy Factory building in Los Angeles. "And then it comes to where the skateboarding industry is so jaded by it, to the point even where the industry itself felt like there was still a man behind the curtain pulling strings on me to make it corny. They're so conditioned to think that it wasn't possible."
Gritty, maybe, but not corny. "Street Dreams," with Paul Rodriguez in the lead role, has been described as the first legitimate skateboarding movie.
"When you make it from a pure sort of skate perspective and add all the nuances, and you know that a skater's guiding it, when skaters see it, they love it," said Dyrdek, who makes his writing, producing, financing and acting debut.
It's a fictional story featuring real skateboarders. Besides Dyrdek and P-Rod, as he's known -- Rodriguez is the son of comedian and actor Paul Rodriguez -- the movie also features Ryan Sheckler and Terry Kennedy.
The 35-year-old Dyrdek feels his movie, which was released in mid-June and has plenty of R-rated humor and language, is as realistic as it gets.
"It's just pure," he said. "It's a fact that innovation drives our sport. If you do a trick that's so hard it's never been done, you get recognized for that. The trick that Paul did in this film still hasn't been done. Only someone like Paul Rodriguez could pull off the acting and the skating that was required for this film."
The 24-year-old Rodriguez is considered one of the world's best street skateboarders. His character, Derrick Cabrera, struggles with a disapproving girlfriend and parents as he attempts to turn pro. The big trick he's working on is a 360 flip crooked grind, in which he does a 360 kickflip -- flipping his board along its axis -- then grinding down a handrail at an angle. Dyrdek's character derisively nicknames it the NAC -- Not A Chance.
Cabrera gets arrested for cutting anti-skating knobs off a handrail in the middle of the night in order to practice his big trick, gets in a fight with his father and runs off with his skateboarding crew to the Tampa Am, a big contest for amateur skateboarders looking to turn pro.
Cabrera fails to land his big trick before his final run ends, but wants to give it another shot and finally succeeds. He finishes fifth and lands a spot on a pro team.
Giving Rodriguez the top role "wasn't very hard because he's better than all of us," Dyrdek said. "It was the intent where he was the golden child, like this kid with all the talent who's being misunderstood, even by his friends."
Dyrdek, originally from Kettering, Ohio, could have made himself the big hero.
"But again, it wouldn't have been real," he said. "I would never have had the ability to do the skating that was required, and Paul's acting pedigree and who he is just was a real fit for it. My intent was to make it as best as I could make it, not be a showcase to show off."
Rodriguez agrees that it's a realistic movie.
"We didn't do anything that couldn't be done in reality," he said. "All those skate tricks were really done by us. And the story of the movie is definitely a story that anybody who's become a pro skateboarder has gone through at least one of these obstacles, whether it be a conflict with their parents, conflict with school or conflict with their girlfriend."
Dyrdek and Rodriguez said they've both have been chased by the police.
"I'm saying I'm running from cops not even a year ago," Dyrdek said, describing how he and a group of 30 other skaters fled from police at a Santa Monica schoolyard. His description, including how he climbed over a fence, sounded similar to the opening scene of his movie.
"It's the reality of what we all do. It's not like there's tons of legal places to ride a skateboard," he said. "There's only one in L.A. Everything we skate to this day still is illegal."
The Rob Dyrdek/DC Shoes Skate Plaza Foundation started the Safe Spot, Skate Spot to support legal and safe skate spots. The first, the 9,000-square foot Los Angeles Lafayette Park, was dedicated in February, when Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Dyrdek rode the world's largest skateboard, measuring 38 feet, 6 inches.
Dyrdek said safe skate spots don't necessarily have to be huge, as long as they replicate real obstacles.
"You don't have to spend $1 million. Spend $150,000 and build ledges and a couple of rails in a corner of an existing park," he said. "I had the mayor of L.A. say that city of Los Angeles will no longer look down on skateboarding, it will embrace skateboarding. That's huge for us."
On the other hand, Rodriguez said part of the fun is skating natural obstacles, even if means doing it quickly before getting kicked out.
"I don't necessarily view myself as rebellious, but I just love to skate and if an obstacle is so good to skate that it's just calling my name, I've got to try," he said.