SUNDAY BIZ: 30 Years Of TransWorld SKATEboarding

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.

“Whenever anybody wanted to do something new, they wanted to do it in TransWorld.” — Tony Hawk

 

(continued from page 1) wanted to do something new, they wanted to do it in TransWorld. For me, it was a forum to show the new stuff I was doing and voice my opinion, talking about what was happening. Throughout the years it's been a staple of what the new big thing is and in a way that was more presentable to the general audience. It wasn't so industry and underground that you didn't understand it.

Not many people know that your dad, Frank Hawk, shot the very first cover. How did that come about?

Yeah, my dad shot the first cover of TransWorld. My
dad liked to shoot. Not that he wanted to be a photographer; he was just shooting at the Palmdale contest. Larry Balma, who started the magazine, also owned Tracker. I was sponsored by Tracker and my dad said, "Hey, I have great photos from that Palmdale event." Larry went through the photos, and lo and behold, that became the cover.

Did you think action sports or skating would be as big as it is now?

No, I never thought it would. Not any of them: BMX, motocross…They were all just so niche and considered novelties and made fun of. I would get beat up when I'd show up anywhere with my skateboard.

Why do you think it's accepted and more comfortable
now?

It's a change of perception. Parents used to think of skating as rebellious. Nobody ever gave us our fair shake or understood the physicality, the passion, the attitude, and artistic elements of it. It was thought that these guys are destroying public property — they're bad news. Once we had a forum, they saw that it's amazing and athletic, and these guys are much more approachable than basketball players and baseball players. It was kids who were raised on MTV. They want action right away. You step on a skateboard and it's on. You're not waiting for someone to throw a pitch.

Images like this crossbone of Tony Hawk at the legendary Del Mar Skate Ranch are found only on the pages of TransWorld SKATEboarding and serve as photographic milestones of his journey to becoming one of the most prolific skateboarders of all time. PHOTO: BRITTAIN

THE TRANSWORLD SKATE AWARDS: Moving into its 14th year, the annual TransWorld SKATEboarding Awards is the biggest and best awards show in the industry. Reaching capacity within minutes year after year (even while continually moving to larger venues to accommodate the growing crowds), the TransWorld SKATEboarding Awards is the only awards ceremony set out to recognize and reward those who are actively pushing the sport of skateboarding to new levels in each and every discipline of skateboarding.

Skateboarding is only as good as how it's perceived in motion, and TransWorld videographers are the best in the business at capturing these moments. Here, Grant Taylor blasts a massive frontside ollie over TransWorld alum videographer Jason Hernandez. PHOTO: TRINH

(continued from page 1) of skateboarding – an era that included everyone.
The seeds had been planted long ago, they just needed to be cultivated. In the earlier '80s, Mark Gonzales and Natas Kaupas had been putting everything down in the streets for years; the ground work had been set, all that was left to do was build. This time it wasn't with hammer and nails, it was with camcorders and every bit of natural terrain that could be found. Matt Hensley and company opened up the doors after the release of the H-Street videos. They showed all you needed was a sidewalk or a curb, and suddenly the whole skateboarding world was playing on an even field.

From '90 to '94, skateboarding saw a revolution in tricks: Rodney Mullen's signature freestyle tricks were taking center stage, and for the first time, all of skateboarding's influences were going into the melting pot that was street skating. Things would never be the same.

And while the new era of video changed skateboarding forever, another notable trend was also shaping up around this time: skater-owned companies. In the early '90s, shoe companies, clothing companies, and hardgoods companies were growing at an alarming rate. Even today, most skateboard – related companies have professional skateboarders involved at the top. Undoubtedly, this type of hands-on and skater – owned approach helped the businesses thrive and prosper, as companies could keep up with, as well as influence, what was going on around them.

Skateboarding, with its newfound voice, flourished during the '90s, and we saw its third boom soon after '95. This third charge was led by a new breed of street skater doing bigger and better tricks — tricks that would have seemed virtually impossible to their forefathers. While those of us lucky enough to have documented that period didn't know it at the time, that period set all the foundations for what we have today. In fact, today's skateboarding has come full circle again. You can see the influence of everyone who has gone before, and for the first time there is an acceptance of everything.

But what does all this history have to do with anything? Well, the only place a true and documented history of skateboarding exists is in the pages of TransWorld SKATEboarding. At a time when there were no video cameras or social networking, no Tony Hawk video games or X Games, the only place you could ge a reliable unbiased opinion and in – depth journalistic account of what was going on was in the pages of the magazine The Pro Spotlight interviews have launched countless careers and continue (Continued on page 6)

ASK ANY SKATER, we all have one. Many would say Modus Operandi, but for most it's probably Sight Unseen. If you've been around long enough, it might even be Cinematographer, or for those who know the meaning behind the phrase, "Tom Penny chain to bank," you could still be claiming
Uno.

For more than 20 years, there have been more ams, pros, fi lmmakers, and legends in their own right attached to TransWorld videos than any other skate-video legacy alive. Not to toot our own horns or anything—it would be stupid to say
that TWS is more than just a piece of the pie in the progression of skateboarding and its videos that have paved the way—but year after year, whether they've featured Heath, Muska, Cardiel, Carroll, MJ, Leo, Malto, or Trapasso, or have been
created by Ty Evans, Greg Hunt, Jason Hernandez, and of course Jon Holland and Chris Ray, just to name a few, TWS videos have always been a place where the best skateboarders join forces with the best video makers for one memorable project.
Our 23rd, and most recent video, Not Another TransWorld Video, raised that same bar for us once again.

While the art of making full-length skate videos is perhaps getting lost in a clouded sea of YouTubes, web clips, downloads, and messageboard links, the TransWorld video legacy will continue on, no matter what path the media machine eventually decides to take us down. And with independent videos getting scarcer by the day, skateboarding needs these videos more than ever. Here's to the next 23.

In 2010, the Lakai team literally set Skate & Create ablaze and earned top honors with Vincent Alvarez gracing the cover with this fi reball of a backside ollie. PHOTO: O'MEALLY

Skate & Create | "We should do a contest!"

THAT STATEMENT HAD BEEN HEARD AROUND OUR OFFICES FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER, and while in the past we'd dabbled in the odd, predictable competition here and there, we'd never really gone into it 100 percent — not until Skate & Create. A former marketing director called a meeting of all the skate editors, and within an hour we'd hashed out all the basics for a contest based on the original moniker of this magazine: Skate & Create.

The biggest problem with the average contest is that it doesn't take into account the needs of the photographer; conditions on a street course where you're battling it out with a billion other photographers and videographers are not optimum if you're trying to create images worthy for reproduction in a magazine. One by one we dissected the many other things we didn't like about contests and

replaced those things with what we felt would be in the best interests of the skateboarders and the eventual outcome — an entire issue dedicated to what can really happen when you give skateboarders the reins and set them free.

Our basic idea broke down like this: We'd rent a warehouse for four months, and in that space we'd design and build a series of obstacles that could be moved and modified exactly to the skaters' needs. They could do whatever they wanted to the obstacles and had a budget of 10 grand per team to use on prop — filming budgets were unlimited. We'd handpick five-man teams from four of the leading shoe companies, and that way we could get a good cross section of skaters. Each team would spend a nine-day period in the warehouse (they could go home and sleep, although few did), and the entire

process would be photographed by a TransWorld senior photographer, along with the filming crew of the company's choice. The winner would be determined through the judging of the individual photos and the five-minute video (all of which never before seen to the judges), and the winner would then grace the cover.

And as we move on to our 30th anniversary as a magazine, we're constantly evolving the way we go about everything. Skate & Create's no different. This year we're bringing Skate & Create on the open road — and not just shoe companies either, this time around we've got the board companies involved. Not only is it going to serve as an imaginative mobile liberation of previously unskateable street spots around the country, but it will be, for the first time ever, a complete representation of what we stand for: Skate & Create in the streets.

— S k I n P H I L L I P S

From the legends of skateboarding past to future upstarts like Elijah Berle — shown here frontside 50-50ing a huge kink rail in San Francisco — if it's relevant in skateboarding, TransWorld SKATEboarding will be there. PHOTO: CHAMI

“As the world of skateboarding and media change, TransWorld SkATeboarding will be there throughout each transition.”

(continued from page 3) to stand as milestones in the lives of professional skaters — the ultimate achievement. For amateur skaters, perhaps the biggest push in their careers is getting featured in TWS' annual videos. After the release of 2011's Not Another TransWorld Video, for example, all three ams featured turned pro immediately after the video. No other media outlet in skateboarding can say the same.

Throughout the years, TransWorld covered each and every transitional phase and era the sport of skateboarding has encountered: pools, freestyle, vert, and streetstyle, as well as an inside look at the culture and lifestyle attached, and the skaters who have made a legitimate and lasting impression on the sport. And today we're in another one of those transitional phases — not just in the way media is digested, but also in skateboarding as a whole. Huge companies are investing more money into skateboarding than ever before, with a variety of big-money contests gaining the attention of skaters the world over. For the first time in recent years, skateboarding is being seen as a legitimate activity with mainstream appeal and commercial interest. Which means, just like throughout its history, under the eye and guidance of Editor In Chief Skin Phillips — one of the most iconic and respected photographers in the game, and reoccurring judge for the X Games and other contests — TransWorld SKATEboarding will be there documenting it all go down.

And as it's well known, 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. For instance, skateboarding.com is now considered the number-one skateboarding-related website in the world. From the streets, to the contests and our own private skatepark — a much sought-after destination for pro skaters all over the world — if it's happening in skateboarding, it's front and center on skateboarding.com. Also, now available on iPad and iPhone with extended content, our audience can read TransWorld SKATEboarding wherever they want, and through whatever format they prefer. All the videos on skateboarding.com are mobile-ready, so from the mag to the site, phone to the coffeetable, TWS' content's viewable anywhere.

As the world of skateboarding and media change — as they have in the past, and as they'll continue to do so in the future — TransWorld SKATEboarding will be there throughout each transition. No matter the period, TransWorld SKATEboarding's been there, and as we move further into the future of media, we'll continue to document all things skateboarding in the most authentic and candid approach possible.