Thrasher (magazine)

Last updated

Thrasher (magazine) November 2007 cover art.jpg
November 2007 cover with Steve Nesser
EditorMichael Burnett [1]
Former editors Jake Phelps
Staff writersEddie Hobbs
Categories Skateboarding
Circulation 250,000 [2]
PublisherHigh Speed Productions
First issueJanuary 1981;43 years ago (1981-01) [1]
CountryUnited States
Based inSan Francisco, California
  • English
  • French (2006–2012)
ISSN 0889-0692
OCLC 13789617

Thrasher is an American skateboarding media brand founded in January 1981 by Eric Swenson and Fausto Vitello, initially launched as a skateboarding magazine. [3] Since the 1990s, Thrasher has expanded its presence in television, video production, online blogging and merchandising.



Thrasher was founded in 1981 by Fausto Vitello and Eric Swenson, primarily as a way to promote Independent Truck Company, their skateboard truck company. [1] [3] The magazine's first editor was Kevin Thatcher. Photographer Richard Knoll, aka Mofo, became the second staff member, joining Thatcher in mid-1981. [4]

In 1989, Cara-Beth Burnside became the first woman to appear on the cover of Thrasher. [5]

In 1993, Jake Phelps was named editor of the magazine, [6] bringing the punk-skater ethic to the world through his photojournalism, which changed the essence of Thrasher and in turn changed the sub-culture of skateboarding. In 1999, the magazine sponsored a PlayStation game called Thrasher Presents Skate and Destroy . [7] Vitello's son, Tony, took over as owner of the magazine after his father died of a heart attack in 2006, and Swenson died by suicide in 2011. [8] [3] On March 14, 2019, long-time editor Jake Phelps died. [9] [10]

In 2017, Thrasher was inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame. [11]

The company also owns and operates the Double Rock indoor skateboarding facility, and the San Francisco skateshop, 66 6th.

Photographer Michael Burnett is the magazine's current editor-in-chief. [1]


The magazine's website features regularly updated episodes of segments and hosts a forum in which registered users can engage in online discussion.

Segments Include:

Skater of the Year

The title of "Skater of the Year" is awarded annually by Thrasher. The tradition was started in 1990, and the accolade remains one of the most respected awards in global skateboarding culture. The title is bestowed to one skater annually and announced by Thrasher's editor. Chris Cole, Danny Way and Tyshawn Jones are the only double recipients.

YearSkater of the YearAgeStanceTeam
1990 Flag of the United States.svg Tony Hawk 22Goofy Powell Peralta
1991 Flag of the United States.svg Danny Way 17Regular Plan B Skateboards
1992 Flag of the United States.svg John Cardiel [15] 19GoofyBlack Label Skateboards
1993 Flag of the United States.svg Salman Agah [16] 21Regular Real Skateboards
1994 Flag of the United States.svg Mike Carroll [17] 19Goofy Girl Skateboards
1995 Flag of the United States.svg Chris Senn [18] 23RegularAdrenalin Skateboards
1996 Flag of the United States.svg Eric Koston [19] 21Goofy Girl Skateboards
1997 Flag of Brazil.svg Bob Burnquist [20] 21Regular Antihero Skateboards
1998 Flag of the United States.svg Andrew Reynolds [21] 20Regular Birdhouse Skateboards
1999 Flag of the United States.svg Brian Anderson [22] 23Regular Toy Machine
2000 Flag of England.svg Geoff Rowley [23] 24Regular Flip Skateboards
2001 Flag of Finland.svg Arto Saari [24] 20Regular Flip Skateboards
2002 Flag of the United States.svg Tony Trujillo [25] 20Regular Antihero Skateboards
2003 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Mark Appleyard [26] 21Goofy Flip Skateboards
2004 Flag of the United States.svg Danny Way [27] 30Regular Alien Workshop
2005 Flag of the United States.svg Chris Cole [28] 23Regular Zero Skateboards
2006 Flag of the United States.svg Daewon Song [29] 31Goofy Almost Skateboards
2007 Flag of the United States.svg Marc Johnson [30] 30Regular Chocolate Skateboards
2008 Flag of the United States.svg Silas Baxter-Neal [31] 24GoofyHabitat Skateboards
2009 Flag of the United States.svg Chris Cole 27Regular Zero Skateboards
2010 Flag of the United States.svg Leo Romero 24Regular Toy Machine
2011 Flag of the United States.svg Grant Taylor 20Goofy Alien Workshop
2012 Flag of Colombia.svg David González 22Goofy Flip Skateboards
2013 Flag of the United States.svg Ishod Wair 22Goofy Real Skateboards
2014 Flag of the United States.svg Wes Kremer 25GoofySK8MAFIA
2015 Flag of the United States.svg Anthony Van Engelen 37Regular Fucking Awesome
2016 Flag of the United States.svg Kyle Walker [32] 22Goofy Real Skateboards
2017 Flag of the United States.svg Jamie Foy 21Regular Deathwish Skateboards
2018 Flag of the United States.svg Tyshawn Jones [33] 20Regular Fucking Awesome
2019 Flag of Argentina.svg Milton Martinez [33] 28Goofy Creature Skateboards
2020 Flag of the United States.svg Mason Silva [33] 24Regular Real Skateboards
2021 Flag of the United States.svg Mark Suciu [34] 29GoofyHabitat Skateboards
2022 Flag of the United States.svg Tyshawn Jones [35] 24RegularKing Skateboards
2023 Flag of the United States.svg Miles Silvas [36] 28Regular Primitive Skateboarding

King of the Road

From 2003 to 2007, Thrasher held the King of the Road skateboarding competition annually. In the contest, teams of professional skaters are each given "The Book", which contains a series of challenges. [37] Points are awarded at the completion of each challenge. The teams compete at the same time over a two-week period, in which they travel across various American cities to complete as many challenges as possible. Each of these events was released on DVD. [38]

In 2010, Thrasher returned the annual competition, however releasing the episodes via the Thrasher website going forward, instead of on DVD. In 2011, Thrasher and Converse hosted a one-off King of the Road competition in China, with the participation of the four biggest Chinese skateboard deck companies. [39] In 2016, Viceland would acquire the rights to release King of the Road 2015 on its network, and all subsequent King of the Road events going forward. [40] The most recent King of the Road tournament was held in 2017.

In April 2020, Thrasher editor-in-chief Michael Burnett said that Vice's decision to not renew King of the Road for a fourth season, along with the recent passing of previous editor-in-chief Jake Phelps, caused King of the Road to be put on hold, with the intention of it being brought back, possibly in a different format, at a future date. [41]

Skate Rock

Thrasher released a music compilation series titled "Skate Rock" under the High Speed Productions label. Skate Rock was conceptualized by Mofo. The first release was in 1983, with Volume One, and continued until Volume Eight in 1990.

The series focused primarily on punk rock and thrash bands, and most of the bands were made up of skateboarders, including well known professionals and community stars such as Steve Caballero, Tony Alva, Bob Denike, Brian Brannon, Mofo, Pushead, Chuck Treece, and Claus Grabke. [42] Of the seven volumes of Skate Rock, all volumes were produced as a cassette available through the magazine. Some volumes were also available as vinyl records.

Thrasher has organized multiple tours throughout the United States and worldwide under the name "Skate Rock". [42] [43]

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