20 Years and Grinding
Even skaters need a Bible. For most board junkies throughout the U.S., Thrasher magazine has been shuffling exclusive graphics, content and all things skate since it first debuted in 1981. Production also recently beefed up its offerings in honor of the magazine's 20th anniversary. Publisher Ed Riggins says that quality concerns have been top priority since the magazine's inception. "All feedback thus far," admits Riggins, "has been overwhelmingly positive."
Published by San Francisco-based High Speed Productions, Thrasher cavorts with notable sidekicks including Juxtapoz, Slap and Schwing, all pure-adrenaline print publications catering to extreme urban sports and pop culture enthusiasts. What sets Thrasher apart is not only its veteran status, but also its adaptability. In an age when skateboarding has gone from being an underground punk hobby to an alternative athletic, Thrasher's production aesthetics reflect the chameleon nature of its high-energy readership.
First things first, Riggins says binding was under scrutiny. "We had been thinking about perfect binding for quite a while," he explains. "Magazines appear more orderly on the newsstand when perfect bound; there may be some perceived added value for the reader and the advertisers." Riggins also says that changing from saddle stitching bolstered the magazine's staying power. To handle a publication with a well-defined spine, explains Riggins, is the professionalism Thrasher has earned during its shelf life as geek misanthrope.
To properly usher in the magazine's new look, the most recent anniversary edition showed off Thrasher's perfect binding. Lindsey Byrnes, marketing director for High Speed Productions, confesses that the anniversary issue sold out fast. Not only is it a collector's item based on the high-octane content, but the issue was also among the first that was perfect bound in the publication's print history. Byrnes adds that the presentation really enhanced its collector status. "It's a keeper," she suggests.