Thrasher (magazine)

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November 2007 cover with Steve Nesser
EditorMichael Burnett[1]
Former editorsJake Phelps
Staff writersEddie Hobbs
PublisherHigh Speed Productions
First issueJanuary 1981; 43 years ago (1981-01)[1]
CountryUnited States
Based inSan Francisco, California
  • English
  • French (2006–2012)

Thrasher is an American 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 died by 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:

  • "Burnout" (long-running photographic blog operated by senior staff photographer Michael Burnett)
  • "Double Rock"[10]
  • "Firing Line"[11]
  • "Hall of Meat" (Video segments featuring skateboarders injuring themselves during trick attempts)
  • "Skateline" (Hosted by Gary Rogers)[12]
  • "Bru-Ray" (Tour edits by Thrasher Magazine filmer P-Stone)
  • "My War" (In-depth video footage following individual skaters and their struggles in completing an iconic or famous trick)
  • "Manramp" (A 6-episode series featuring Manramp, skateboarding's iconic mascot)

Skater of the Year[edit]

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.

Year Skater of the Year Age Stance Team
1990 United States Tony Hawk 22 Goofy Powell Peralta
1991 United States Danny Way 17 Regular Plan B Skateboards
1992 United States John Cardiel[13] 19 Goofy Black Label Skateboards
1993 United States Salman Agah[14] 21 Regular Real Skateboards
1994 United States Mike Carroll[15] 19 Goofy Girl Skateboards
1995 United States Chris Senn[16] 23 Regular Adrenalin Skateboards
1996 United States Eric Koston[17] 21 Goofy Girl Skateboards
1997 Brazil Bob Burnquist[18] 21 Regular Antihero Skateboards
1998 United States Andrew Reynolds[19] 20 Regular Birdhouse Skateboards
1999 United States Brian Anderson[20] 23 Regular Girl Skateboards
2000 England Geoff Rowley[21] 24 Regular Flip Skateboards
2001 Finland Arto Saari[22] 20 Regular Flip Skateboards
2002 United States Tony Trujillo[23] 20 Regular Antihero Skateboards
2003 Canada Mark Appleyard[24] 21 Goofy Flip Skateboards
2004 United States Danny Way[25] 30 Regular Alien Workshop
2005 United States Chris Cole[26] 23 Regular Zero Skateboards
2006 United States Daewon Song[27] 31 Goofy Almost Skateboards
2007 United States Marc Johnson[28] 30 Regular Chocolate Skateboards
2008 United States Silas Baxter-Neal[29] 24 Goofy Habitat Skateboards
2009 United States Chris Cole 27 Regular Zero Skateboards
2010 United States Leo Romero 24 Regular Toy Machine
2011 United States Grant Taylor 20 Goofy Alien Workshop
2012 Colombia David González 22 Goofy Flip Skateboards
2013 United States Ishod Wair 22 Goofy Real Skateboards
2014 United States Wes Kremer 25 Goofy SK8MAFIA
2015 United States Anthony Van Engelen 37 Regular Fucking Awesome
2016 United States Kyle Walker[30] 22 Goofy Real Skateboards
2017 United States Jamie Foy 21 Regular Deathwish Skateboards
2018 United States Tyshawn Jones[31] 20 Regular Fucking Awesome
2019 Argentina Milton Martinez[31] 28 Goofy Creature Skateboards
2020 United States Mason Silva[31] 24 Regular Real Skateboards
2021 United States Mark Suciu[32] 29 Goofy Habitat Skateboards
2022 United States Tyshawn Jones[33] 24 Regular King Skateboards
2023 United States Miles Silvas[34] 28 Regular Primitive Skateboarding

King of the Road[edit]

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.[35]

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.[36] 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.[37] However, as of April 2023, Vice began releasing alternative cuts of KOTR 2016 and KOTR 2017.

Skate Rock[edit]

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.[38] 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".[38][39]


  1. ^ a b c d Guevara, Milton (January 14, 2021). "'Artists, Weirdos, Hellriders And Homies:' Thrasher Magazine Turns 40". Morning Edition on NPR. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  2. ^ Carlson, Michael (June 30, 2011). "Eric Swenson obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Weber, Bruce (June 23, 2011). "Eric Swenson, Co-Founder of Thrasher Magazine, Dies at 64". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on February 21, 2018. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  4. ^ Thrasher Magazine (August 20, 2012). "Home". Thrasher Magazine. BNQT Media Group. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  5. ^ Staley, Willy (March 24, 2016). "Thrashed". The California Sunday Magazine.
  6. ^ Perry, Doug (December 6, 1999). "Thrasher: Skate and Destroy Review". IGN. Archived from the original on November 6, 2007. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  7. ^ Fox, Margalit (April 27, 2006). "Fausto Vitello, 59, Is Dead; Made Skateboarding Gnarly". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on July 4, 2018. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  8. ^ "Success at High Speed". SF State Magazine. Archived from the original on March 16, 2019. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  9. ^ Staley, Will (March 20, 2019). "Jake Phelps Dies at 56; as Thrasher Editor, a Skateboarding Guru". The New York Times. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  10. ^ ThrasherMagazine (February 3, 2011). "Double Rock: Almost". YouTube. Google, Inc. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
  11. ^ ThrasherMagazine (June 8, 2012). "Firing Line: Lewis Marnell". YouTube. Google, Inc. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
  12. ^ "Skateline". Thrasher Magazine. High Speed Productions, Inc. December 9, 2014. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
  13. ^ "SOTY 1992: John Cardiel". Thrasher. April 1993.
  14. ^ "SOTY 1993: Salman Agah". Thrasher. February 1994.
  15. ^ "SOTY 1994: Mike Carroll". Thrasher. March 1995.
  16. ^ "SOTY 1995: Chris Senn". Thrasher. March 1996.
  17. ^ "SOTY 1996: Eric Koston". Thrasher. March 1997.
  18. ^ "SOTY 1997: Bob Burnquist (Default for Jamie Thomas". Thrasher. April 1998.
  19. ^ "SOTY 1998: Andrew Reynolds". Thrasher. April 1999.
  20. ^ "SOTY 1999: Brian Anderson". Thrasher. April 2000.
  21. ^ "SOTY 2000: Geoff Rowley". Thrasher. April 2001.
  22. ^ "SOTY 2001: Arto Saari". Thrasher. April 2002.
  23. ^ "SOTY 2002: Tony Trujillo". Thrasher. May 2003.
  24. ^ "SOTY 2003: Mark Appleyard". Thrasher. April 2004.
  25. ^ "SOTY 2004: Danny Way". Thrasher. May 2005.
  26. ^ "SOTY 2005: Chris Cole". Thrasher. April 2006.
  27. ^ "SOTY 2006: Daewon Song". Thrasher. April 2007.
  28. ^ "SOTY 2007: Marc Johnson". Thrasher. May 2008.
  29. ^ "SOTY 2008: Silas Baxter-Neal". Thrasher. April 2009.
  30. ^ "SOTY 2016: Kyle Walker". Thrasher Magazine. December 5, 2016. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  31. ^ a b c "SOTY Party 2018 Photos". Thrasher Magazine. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  32. ^ "Skater of the Year 2021: Mark Suciu". Thrasher Magazine. December 10, 2021. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  33. ^ "Skater of the Year 2022: Tyshawn Jones". Thrasher Magazine. December 8, 2022. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  34. ^ "Skater of the Year 2023". Thrasher.
  35. ^ "Thrasher Magazine".
  36. ^ King of the Road (Documentary, Reality-TV, Sport), Vice Media, April 28, 2016, retrieved January 17, 2022
  37. ^ Macdonald, Neil (April 7, 2020). "Michael Burnett Interview".
  38. ^ a b "Skate Rock Mexico: Feature Article". Thrasher Magazine. March 14, 2017. Retrieved December 20, 2020.
  39. ^ "Thrasher Magazine".

External links[edit]