The third edition of our exploration of the history of skateboarding focuses on the 1980s and a new magazine that started its publishing solely for the street scene of skateboarding. It inspired a dawn of a new era for skateboarding as it was now rapidly becoming the coolest thing on the planet.
In 1981 a bomb was set off under skateboarding, a bomb that would take it to a whole new level. Thrasher Magazine started publication and established the street skateboarding scene as a new cult fad. Its slogan was Skate and Destroy, and it took influences from the punk scene as well as hip hop and other cool institutions. Two years later Transworld Skateboarding Magazine hit the streets and a plethora of street stores opened across America, mostly selling the hip and trendy new fashions that were erupting all over the street skateboarding scene.
All this activity meant one thing, and that was the popularity of skateboarding was continuing to grow both in America and across the globe. The first dedicated videos to street skating were released, showing unseen maneuvers and how to perform tricks; kids could now learn their favorite pastime at home.
Germany continued to hold the torch for skateboarding in Europe, and at the forefront was Titus Dittmann. He developed skateboarding by importing everything to do with it, from the boards, equipment to related clothing – all from the U.S. He also organized competitions and various skateboarding events, such as the Munster Monster Mastership which established itself as the biggest European event of its kind.
In the mid-80s it was now possible to make a living out of skateboarding and turn professional, as the industry was booming and major manufacturers of skateboarding related products were happy to sponsor the best skaters of the time. Skateboarding was turning into a sort of street scene F1. As the decade closed, firms such as Santa Cruz, Powell Peralta and Vision dominated the skateboarding market both in America and internationally. Skateboarding fashion was led by footwear, and the shoes of Converse, Vans and Vision were the flagship fashion leaders of the skateboarding hip scene.
The 1990s saw another momentous leap in skateboarding history as it continued to be linked to associated trend sports. It retained its status as a cool industry and something that was amazing to do. The rebel-scene marketing took it straight to the kids on the street and the continual linking of fashion and hip music made the industry as popular as ever.
By the time the mid-90s came around, the next phase of the skateboarding development took place: it embraced social media and digitalization and started to host mega events, such as the X-Games, that were televised and beamed into everybody’s homes.
And with the continued power of the world wide web, skateboarding was now common all over the globe, as well as being world famous. Massive brands, such as Flip Skateboards, Girl Skateboards and Chocolate, maintained their marketing hype and also developed the hardware, this enabled skateboarders to buy their boards and clothes in nearly every major city in the world: from large shopping malls to small independent street stores.
We conclude our history of skateboarding in part four of this blog.