Founded in 1981 by entrepreneurs Eric Swenson and Fausto Vitello, Thrasher began as a venture to promote the duo’s skateboarding hardware company, Independent Trucks. Thrasher has since made its mark on the community as the ultimate resource for news, reviews and interviews, produced and written almost exclusively by skateboarders, for skateboarders. Earning the nickname “The Bible” among skaters, its success makes it the longest running and most popular magazine in the community. The mid 2000s saw merchandise become a hit amongst off-duty models and celebs alike – much to the chagrin of the magazine itself – yet the publication continues to stay true to its roots with a focus on high-quality skateboarding content over celeb-endorsed collaborations, boasting a brash and fiery attitude encapsulated in its motto “skate and destroy.”
Richard Novak, Jay Shiurman, Eric Swenson and Fausto Vitello co-found the Independent Truck Company with the aim of introducing a high-quality skateboard truck to the community.
Thrasher magazine is founded by Eric Swenson and Fausto Vitello
Thrasher releases its first music compilation titled ‘Skate Rock.’ Released on cassette it features a horde of Californian punk bands, many fronted by skateboarders. The series continues for a further six volumes – all available for purchase directly from the magazine.
Thrasher’s first Skateboarder of the Year is named as Tony Hawk.
Thrasher’s inaugural King of the Road skateboarding competition is held. Over a two-week period, a group of pre-invited teams of professional skaters are invited to partake in a series of challenges with points awarded at the completion of each as they travel across the United States. The competition has been held every year since with two exceptions in 2008 and 2009. On top of a trophy and cash prize, the winning team earns the coveted Thrasher cover.
Thrasher’s first collaboration with Supreme lands.
Thrasher’s now iconic logo tee makes its mark as a staple amongst fashion gurus, spotted on the likes of Justin Bieber and Rihanna. The popularity of the flame logo sparks a war of knock-offs and bootleg variations with Thrasher publicly calling out brands like H&M and Forever 21.
Thrasher collaborates with Vans to produce the Red Hot collection making use of the now-iconic flame logo. Thrasher drops collaborations with the likes of BEAMS, Beauty and Youth and a pop art inspired collection with Supreme. Amid an array of knock-offs Thrasher team up with Dutch artist Parra with a riff on their own rip off design ‘Tharsher’.
Supreme’s Tyshawn Jones wins Skater of the Year.
Rumors of a further Supreme collaboration spread as the brand celebrates its 25th anniversary.
Long-running Editor in Chief Jake Phelps passes away.
San Francisco, California, USA
Eric Swenson and Fausto Vitello
Thrasher is a seminal skateboarding publication. Since its beginnings in 1981 it has been a bastion of skateboarding. Abrasive in its style but never lacking in knowledge it continues to encourage an unfaltering sense of community amongst skateboarders, standing welcome with open arms, but only if you don’t mall grab. The current circulation is approximately 250,000 and Thrasher is published by High Speed Productions.
The Thrasher font (known as Banco) was designed by Roger Excoffon, a designer who specialized in typeface. The font and flame logo have been the source of problems for Thrasher as they battle bootleg merchandise – including lodging trademark infringement complaints against retailer H&M. The flame logo, wheels and skull logo and typeface have all been utilized and explored throughout the publication’s collaborations with skateboarding and streetwear giants, regularly teaming up with the likes of HUF and Supreme.