Legendary skateboarding magazine Thrasher was founded in 1981 by Eric Swenson, Fausto Vitello and Kevin Thatcher, and is credited with re-energizing the sport and then propelling it to international popularity. Swenson and Vitello began the magazine primarily to promote their business, Independent Trucks, but it soon took on a life of its own, with an anti-establishment tagline ‘Skate and Destroy’.
Vitello died in 2006 and Swenson committed suicide in 2011, but Vitello’s widow Gwynn remains president of Thrasher’s publisher, the San Francisco-based High Speed Productions, which also publishes Slap and art magazine Juxtapoz. With a current circulation of around 250,000, regular features in Thrasher include interviews, ramp plans and skatepark reviews, while over on the website, a highlight is ‘Burnout’, the blog of staff photographer Michael Burnett.
Thrasher is well-known for awarding the prestigious, reader-voted Skater of the Year title – since Tony Hawk walked away with the first award in 1990, it has been won by skating legends including Eric Koston, Andrew Reynolds and Daewon Song. The only skaters to have won the prize more than once are Danny Way (1991 and 2004) and Chris Cole (2005 and 2009).
Since the very early days, Thrasher has released some great videos, including a series of films with footage from its own King of the Road competition, in which four teams of pro skaters must complete a series of challenges in locations across the US. 2013’s King of the Road champion was Birdhouse Skateboards, which pipped Real, Enjoi and Chocolate to the title.