Skateboarder Magazine announced Tuesday that it will cease publication later this year after nearly 50 years of operations. The move follows the merger of GrindMedia and TransWorld, which was announced in May.
"Skateboarder Magazine will discontinue regular frequency publishing on print and digital platforms effective Oct. 15, 2013," GrindMedia said in a statement. "This week, Skateboarder will release its third digital edition and companion limited edition print version, which will be its final edition."
In a video announcement, GrindMedia's senior vice president Norb Garrett left room for the possibility of a special commemorative issue and documentary film to mark the 50th anniversary, but said Skateboarder's long run is at its end.
"Today I had to deliver some bad news to our staff at Skateboarder," Garrett said in the video. "Unfortunately, the business overall in the skate industry is super tough right now ... while it's a difficult day and a difficult decision, I want you to know that our focus is on the future and trying to find new ways to bring phenomenal skateboarding to the consumer."
Skateboarder Magazine was first published as The Quarterly Skateboarder by Surfer Publications in the winter of 1964. Dave Hilton of the Hobie Super Surfer Team high-jumped his way to the cover of that first issue, which also featured an editorial titled "Sidewalk Surfing?" as well as trick tips and an essay on "The Well Equipped Skateboarder."
"The cover of Skateboarder was almost more special than Life Magazine," said Patti McGee, who was featured on the cover of the magazine's fourth issue in October 1965, shortly after landing on the cover of Life Magazine and appearing on the Johnny Carson show made her a de facto ambassador for skateboarding. "I mean Life Magazine was huge, but Skateboarder was for my friends and my surf heroes. I say surf heroes because enough time hadn't elapsed to have skateboard heroes yet: we were the pioneers. I thank my lucky stars every day that they picked me, and that they picked a girl, for one of those first covers. It's turned my 15 minutes of fame into 50 years of fame."
McGee and Woody Woodward were each profiled in the issue. Woodward was inducted into the Skateboard Hall of Fame in March; McGee was the first woman inducted into the Hall of Fame, in 2010.
“Skateboarder Magazine was special because it provided a long historical record for skateboarding -- if you don't have a picture of it you can't prove it -- from what we were doing in the 60s to everything wondrous that it has become," McGee said.
Skateboarder has come and gone before, and McGee hopes the magazine she and many other skaters refer to as "the skateboarder's bible" might have yet another resurrection some day in the future. The magazine went dark for a decade after McGee's cover, then resumed publication in 1975 with Gregg Weaver on the cover and a successful run under editor and skateboard photographer Warren Bolster. It took another hiatus in the 1980s before returning in 1999 as "The Original Skateboarder Magazine." But the magazine existed in a crowded marketplace that also included Thrasher Magazine, TransWorld Skateboarding, and dozens of smaller publications.
GrindMedia continues to publish Surfer and Surfing, Snowboarder Magazine and TransWorld Snowboarding, as well as other action sports titles including Powder, Bike, TransWorld Motocross, and TransWorld Ride BMX.