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;42 years ago (1981-01) [1]
CountryUnited States
Based inSan Francisco, California
  • English
  • French (2006–2012)
ISSN 0889-0692
OCLC 13789617

Thrasher is a skateboarding magazine founded in January 1981 by Eric Swenson and Fausto Vitello. [3] The publication consists primarily of skateboard- and music-related articles, photography, interviews and skatepark reviews.


The magazine also maintains a website and YouTube page, which includes segments with names such as "Firing Line" and "Hall of Meat", an online store, a video collection, a radio show, and a forum for registered users. [4] The company also owns and operates the Double Rock indoor skateboarding facility, and the San Francisco skateshop, 66 6th.


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. Mofo became the second staff member, joining Thatcher in mid-1981.

In 1993, Jake Phelps was named editor of the magazine. [5] With him, he brought the punk-skater ethic to the world through his photojournalism, changing the essence of Thrasher, and in turn changing the sub-culture of skateboarding forever. In 1999, the magazine sponsored a PlayStation game called Thrasher Presents Skate and Destroy . [6] Vitello's son, Tony, took over as owner of the magazine after his father died of a heart attack in 2006, and Swenson committed suicide in 2011. [7] [3] On March 14, 2019, long-time editor Jake Phelps died. [8] [9]

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 Year
1990 Tony Hawk
1991 Danny Way
1992 John Cardiel [13]
1993 Salman Agah [14]
1994 Mike Carroll [15]
1995 Chris Senn [16]
1996 Eric Koston [17]
1997 Bob Burnquist [18]
1998 Andrew Reynolds [19]
1999 Brian Anderson [20]
2000 Geoff Rowley [21]
2001 Arto Saari [22]
2002 Tony Trujillo [23]
2003Mark Appleyard [24]
2004Danny Way [25]
2005 Chris Cole [26]
2006 Daewon Song [27]
2007 Marc Johnson [28]
2008Silas Baxter-Neal [29]
2009Chris Cole
2010 Leo Romero
2011 Grant Taylor
2012 David González
2013 Ishod Wair
2014 Wes Kremer
2015 Anthony Van Engelen
2016Kyle Walker [30]
2017 Jamie Foy
2018 Tyshawn Jones [31]
2019 Milton Martinez [31]
2020Mason Silva [31]
2021 Mark Suciu [32]
2022 Tyshawn Jones [33]

King of the Road

In 2003, Thrasher started the King of the Road (KOTR) skateboarding competition. In the contest, a group of pre-invited teams of professional skaters are each given a booklet containing a series of challenges. 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 the United States to complete as many challenges as possible. In 2011, Thrasher and Converse hosted the competition in China, with the participation of the four biggest Chinese skateboard deck companies. [34]

KOTR was held annually since its inception, with the exceptions of 2008 and 2009, until 2018.

From 2016-2018, King of the Road aired on Viceland. [35] In an April 2020 interview, 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 in 2019 with the intention of it being brought back, possibly in a different format, later in 2020. [36] However, as of May 2022, no plans have been announced for a new King of the Road.

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. [37] 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". [37] [38]

Related Research Articles

Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine is a magazine created in 1994 by a group of artists and art collectors including Robert Williams, Fausto Vitello, C.R. Stecyk III, Greg Escalante, and Eric Swenson to both help define and celebrate urban alternative and underground contemporary art. Juxtapoz is published by High Speed Productions, the same company that publishes Thrasher skateboard magazine in San Francisco, California.

Arto Saari is a Finnish professional skateboarder and photographer.

Deluxe Distribution is an Ermico Enterprises, Inc-owned subsidiary founded in 1986 with limited partner Brian Ware in San Francisco. Deluxe was formed to distribute the Beware Record label, and other small record labels popular with skateboarders, along with Thunder Trucks and Supercush Bushings. Deluxe distributes six skateboard brands and owns DLXSF, a retail outlet.

Transworld Skateboarding (TWS) was an international magazine on skateboarding that was based in Carlsbad, California, United States. The publication also ran an accompanying website and video production company. In February 2019, the publishers of Transworld magazine, The Enthusiast Network, were purchased by American Media, Inc. In March 2019, the print edition of Transworld magazine was discontinued.

The title of King of the Road is given out once a year by Thrasher magazine. The tradition was started in 2003 by Thrasher editor Michael Burnett.

Fausto Vitello was an Argentine-American businessman, magazine publisher, and skateboarder. Vitello was the creator of Thrasher magazine and co-creator of Independent trucks.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tony Trujillo</span>

Tony Trujillo is an American professional skateboarder and musician. Trujillo was awarded the "Skater of the Year" award by Thrasher magazine in 2002.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eric Koston</span> American professional skateboarder

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John Joseph Cardiel is a former professional skateboarder and snowboarder who has been a core member of the AntiHero Skateboards company since it was founded in 1995.

Eric Leon Swenson was an American skateboard designer and magazine publisher.

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David González is a Colombian professional skateboarder. In December 2012, he was named Thrasher magazine's "Skater of the Year".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tyshawn Jones</span> American skateboarder

Tyshawn Jones is a regular-footed American skateboarder, winner of the 2018 and 2022 Thrasher Skater of the Year award.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jake Phelps</span> American skateboarder and magazine editor (1962–2019)

James Kendall "Jake" Phelps was an American skateboarder and magazine editor. Phelps led the magazine Thrasher as editor-in-chief for 27 years.

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A skate magazine, or skateboard magazine, is a magazine dedicated to skateboarding.

Phil Shao was a goofy-footed professional skateboarder and journalist from Redwood City, California. Before his death, Shao was to be the next editor-in-chief of Thrasher magazine.

Mark Whiteley is an American skateboarder, photographer, writer, and former editor-in-chief of Slap Magazine.

Milton Martinez is a goofy-footed Argentine professional skateboarder. In 2019, Martinez was named Thrasher's Skater of the Year.


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  27. "SOTY 2006: Daewon Song". Thrasher. April 2007.
  28. "SOTY 2007: Marc Johnson". Thrasher. May 2008.
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