AS A GUY WHO’S SEEN IT ALL, Tony Hawk — the most widely known skateboarder of all time — weighs in on the state of skating from the ’80s to current day, and the role TransWorld SKATEboarding’s played to shape its course.
I N T E R V I E W: S K I N P H I L L I P S
What influences you now in skateboarding?
I take influences now from everywhere. What’s happening now is awesome to see. The stuff that Bob [Burnquist] is doing and the creativity in the street, they’re mixing old with new, doing wallplants, shove-its, and then hitting the wall and doing hippie jumps. I love all that stuff . It’s molding all these styles together.
What influence do you think you had on skateboarding?
My influence largely was bringing it to a more public general eye through video games and media coverage. People who didn’t know anything about skating saw me in a commercial or game, and suddenly that was their link and they were in. I’d rather be known for my skating and being innovative as a skater, but as far as endorsements and commercialization, I was the first one to dare go there. I didn’t care about the backlash of it. I’ve always thought there should be a bigger audience for it to appreciate it. I never knew why they didn’t, so when I had the opportunity to get bigger endorsements, so to speak, my only concern was to get the final approval and control over how they present skateboarding. No one else had that opportunity or desire because most of the guys who were in the position to do this had just started to become more successful. I’d already had a wave of success in the ’80s, and I’d seen it come and go and seen people do it with a passion and not get compensated for it. I was happy to use McDonald’s marketing dollars to bring more people into skating.
What influence do you think TWS has had on skateboarding?
Especially in the early days it was the link to what was happening in the skate world to people who weren’t living in California or in the industry or at any of the events. There wasn’t YouTube back then. Competition wasn’t covered by any other media. It was TransWorld’s link. Whenever anybody (continue on page 2)
BEHIND THE COVER: No skater encapsulated the spirit of ’80s skateboarding like Christian Hosoi. Not afraid to go where any other skater would go, he set new ground in skateboarding, fashion, and attitude. All backed up by a belief that anything was possible, Christian worked hard and played harder. This cover, taken at Vancouver Expo 86, tells the story of the ’80s. Skateboarding was hitting new heights and in the middle of its second rebirth. The louder the better.
TRANSWORLD SKATEBOARDING WAS BORN out of a necessity at a time in the early ’80s when skateboarding only existed in tiny pockets throughout the Western world and within the passion of pioneers who refused to quit. One such place was Del Mar Skate Ranch, a hub of Southern California talent, where the magazine’s staff would soon emerge under founders Larry Balma and Peggy Cozens. Those early innocent issues soon developed into a signature style that defi ned the magazine’s decades to come: clean design, unprecedented photography, unbiased editorial, and most important, always the right skateboarders. Within a couple of years the magazine had jumped leaps and bounds. The edit staff consisted of not only iconic skaters, but also artists and commentators who are still, to this day, considered the greatest minds in skateboarding, ever. Legends like Neil Blender and Lance Mountain used it as a platform for their photos and art — and ultimately their voice — and under the watchful eye of Grant Brittain, the talented photographers were nurtured and the magazine quickly grew into the number-one skateboarding magazine in the world that it is today.
During the mid-’80s skateboarding was about to go into its first rebirth. As a result of the increasing death of the concrete skatepark in the late ’70s due to insurance reasons, a new DIY movement began. Skateboarders took matters into their own hands and started building wooden ramps all across the world. This backyard approach kept skateboarding alive, and within a five-year period, skateboarding began to grow once again. California was still the Mecca, but local scenes surfaced and matured all over the world. As ramps got better, so did the skating. Those at the forefront of the vert scene — like Tony Hawk, Christian Hosoi, Neil Blender, Lance Mountain, and Steve Caballero — pushed not only themselves into new realms, but skateboarding itself as well. And as the tricks evolved at an alarming rate, TransWorld was there documenting everything.
By the late ’80s, skateboarding was entering the peak of a second cycle. The Bones Brigade had become household names and the future was looking bright. But then, just like it did in the early ’80s, skateboarding once again fell on its arse. Participation tapered off , leading companies continuously folded, outside sponsorship was nonexistent, vert skateboarding fell into a rut, and skateboarders once again went underground.
While the history of skateboarding up to this point can best be described as a continuous series of ebbs and fl ows — with the popularity and acceptance rising and falling — the skaters themselves were dedicated to push their pastime into new heights. In other words, even though skateboarding as a whole was down, it was far from out. While ramps, just like the concrete skateparks before them, were being torn down at an alarming rate, the streets gave birth to a new era (continue on page 3)
Digital formats of media are continuing to gain momentum, pushing us all into a new digital age. But just as quickly as these new formats have changed and emerged, TransWorld SKATEboarding has adapted and continued to stay on top. Now available on iPad, readers can view TransWorld SKATEboarding wherever they want, and through whatever format they prefer.
Pick up a copy of our July issue to get a complete look at our 2012 Swimwear Showroom, and gain insight on next season's top trends. Read up on why more brands are moving production back to the United States, and take a look at how action sports leading brands stack up when it comes to social media.