Despite the news about Transworld cutting their subscription print program and everyone complaining about the lack of magazines these days, I actually think print is having a resurgence.
While there aren’t any “major” monthly print publications in the U.S. besides Thrasher, there are a handful of independent zines and mags coming out on a regular basis across the world. Sure, their numbers aren’t huge, but people are actually reading them, enjoying them, and saving them, the way that printed skate material should be consumed.
Most of us agree that digital is *technically* superior to print for most things (premiering videos, posting up the newest tricks, discussing mindless skate trivia), but skate photos will never look as good on your Instagram feed as they do when they’re printed on a piece of paper, and they’re not half as fun to share or nitpick over with your friends. (At least, until we have 3D VR photos you can walk through or something. Then printed skate photos are truly fucked.)
With that in mind, we rounded up a few of our favorite print magazines from around the world to make sure our readers were aware of their existence and maybe even help bump up their circulation numbers.
Shameless self promotion: Although we spend a lot of time online, we’re also in print (annually). We have two Jenkem books, “Vol. 1” and “Vol. 2”, under our belt and have more trees to slay/overdue UPS bills to pay in the future.
Golden Hour is a young publication from the photographer and CCS head honcho, Matt Price. Rather than stressing to produce new issues on any normal schedule, Price seems to treat each issue as its own special, limited-edition project and only prints new stuff when he’s good and ready. Golden Hour is basically the zine for old heads who wish skate videos still only came out once every four years.
The first issue was printed in 2017 and focused on a lot of skaters Price could shoot with around Portland, where he now lives. Guys like Nick Boserio, Dane Brady, and Emile Laurent, all seen through Price’s super close up perspective and packaged on high quality paper inside a fancy red plastic baggie.
The second issue, which we’re co-producing with Price, is coming out later this year and will focus entirely on the one and only, Fred Gall. It’s a way to celebrate Fred’s life and appreciate how many deadly shenanigans and sketchy situations he’s managed to come through alive.
If you’re in New York on June 7th, come party with us and maybe get your butt cheeks signed by Fred ($5 a pop) or one of the Jenkem staff (free).
Anomaly is a newer quarterly mag by the cinematographer Kevin Horn from Minnesota. It’s a bit more focused on the creative aspects of skate photography and the people in skating who would much rather shoot a photo of an artsy curb or talk about the emotion of a no-comply than care about who’s doing this month’s kinkiest handrail trick.
A lot of the skate photos are designed to look cool to both skate and non-skate audiences, like ones that play with colors on the skater matching up with the colors of the spot they’re skating. They also don’t take things too seriously, so there’s some nice doodling mixed in and fun lifestyle shots.
Linnea Bullion, who’s written for Jenkem before, was featured in Anomaly‘s first issue, so this mag also doesn’t restrict itself to just hardcore Skate Industry™ photogs.
The caucasian switch god, Andrew Allen, and Aussie photographer Andrew Peters started Heaps Chat a few years ago, and they put out semi-regular content both online and in printed zines. “Chat” is used in the Australian sense to mean “shitty” or “bullshit,” so if you’re feeling salty you could say this mag is like a heap of shit, but it’s really not.
The design is really playful and personal, as if two teenagers were pasting together a zine by hand and drawing all around the borders with colorful markers. You also don’t see much skate media being made by pro skaters, so it’s interesting to see how someone who appears in skate mags himself envisions what one can look like.
There are two printed issues out so far, but their website has all their interviews and beautifully shot photo features. If you’re in the mood for a light, fun mag, this chat is the chat.
Skate Jawn is ten times what you would expect from a magazine started in Philly and now run out of a cramped Brooklyn apartment. It’s a textbook of East Coast crust and rugged spots, and although it’s featured guys like Ishod Wair and Antonio Durao on its timeless black and white covers, it stays true to covering the best local skaters and sketchy backyard setups in the North East.
Although Skate Jawn has grown since 2010, to having 50 issues, a full-length video, and a shoe with DC, it never lost the flavor that’s obvious in its very first cover photo of a guy nosepicking off the top of a refrigerator.
I’ve heard that Marcus Waldron, the guy behind the mag, stays smoking weed. If that’s true, he’s one of the most productive stoners and sewer cap designers out there today.
Love Skate Mag
Coming out of Montreal, Canada, Love looks like it wants to kickstart some different energy into the older Canadian skate media offerings, which are mostly led by SBC.
I haven’t seen this in person yet, but based on the two print issues archived online, it has a more classic DIY feel that isn’t worried about spellchecking every single word because, well, it’s skateboarding, so shut up. They’re also open to experimenting with formats and making funny spoof ads, so this one feels fresh even if it’s not always perfectly polished.
Issue two has a brief interview with the photographer Ryan Gee, Static tales from Josh Stewart, and a practical guide on “How to be an Asshole at the DIY Spot.” Plus they promise to post “dumb stuff” every day on Instagram and add “spooky content online.”
Grey Skateboard Magazine
You probably already know of Grey, which was started in 2010 by London-based publisher Henry Kingsford. The people over there have been busting their asses to release an issue every three months for almost a decade, which feels more intimidating than becoming a level five vegan, or even remembering to pay my cell phone bill on time.
Kingsford’s idea behind the photo-heavy mag is that skate photos are supposed to be seen in print because some essence is lost when you’re squinting at pixels on a screen. The mostly black and white photos kind of force you to slow down and appreciate all the details when you’re flipping through an issue, and they’re also an obvious fit for the name Grey.
This one is perfect for showing off your sophisticated side or at least convincing your significant other that skate media isn’t all “radical bros” and drunken fart jokes.
Based out of Spain, BE Skateboarding releases two issues each year and is available for free at skate shops across Europe (as well as for ~$5 online).
They’ve printed four issues so far and offer digital previews in case you want to get a little taste before committing to the whole thing. There’s a real focus on visually pleasing, minimalist layouts that highlight not only the tricks but the spots and photographers’ viewpoints too. Think highbrow, classic Spain more so than party hardy Barcy.
Always a delight to see European skate publications taking full advantage of their beautiful spots (and in the process kind of shitting on crusty American spots).
Medium is a collaboration between two guys (Will Jivcoff and Joel Watamaniuk of Love) who used to and still do run other skate mags in Canada. It’s based out of Toronto but covers scenes and stories from all over the world, from niche Borough Hall skate jams, to North Korean expeditions, to skateboarding’s probably most under the radar high end fashion designer.
This mag strikes a mix between eye-popping layouts and casual but refined scribbles, which together pretty much captures the feeling of riding a skateboard. Obviously any magazine that has Tom Penny smoking an enormous joint on the cover is a win for us, plus they feature photos from Jenkem friend and Vol. 2 contributor, Mac Shafer.
Every day, Canadians seem to be getting a little bit closer to dominating skateboarding, and Medium definitely contributes to that.
When Andrew Peters isn’t working on Heaps Chat in California, he’s in Australia cranking out the more punk-feeling FUKNOATH.
FUKNOATH claims to be Australian skateboarding’s “ugly little brother,” and that just about sums it up. They freely poke fun at the skate industry and skateboarding in general, including putting a boogie boarder on the cover and running ads like “The Drinking Goon”. They also slightly change their cover font on every issue, which keeps up the handmade, adolescent themes and feels a bit like a throwback to the days when major skate mags would mess around with their covers more.
I can’t guess what “fuknoath” means, but I can only guess that if Andrew ever launches another zine, its name will be an Australian slang so absurd only kangaroos can pronounce it.
FREE SKATE MAG
Free is a London-based magazine started by Will Harmon, Arthur Derrien, and Sam Ashley when they were working for Kingpin Magazine and the publication’s owner, Factory Media, decided to pull the plug on print operations. Now, two years and 18 issues later, Free has become the biggest voice in European skate media and is making sure that European skating, even in all the little countries we forget about, has solid coverage.
It comes in your standard 8.5″ x 11″ size (or 22cm x 30cm for the Euro heads) and is properly bound with a cover that is almost always less about the skater and their trick than the surrounding nature, architecture, or landscape. Free consistently produces some of the most exciting covers, so they either have a really good eye or they got a hook up for some unreleased versions of Photoshop.
If you like to consume your skate media while sipping tea from those cups with tiny handles, you probably already read Free.
King Skateboard Mag
Formerly known as Kingshit, this is one of Canada’s biggest printed skate mags and they just celebrated their 10th anniversary. In their early days, they had contributors like Chris Nieratko and Dave Carnie, who brought a certain Big Brother mentality to their articles and interviews.
Today, King continues to push the narrow field of written skateboard content and gives a lot of shine to locals and lesser known figures who keep skateboarding weird and interesting.
They release three print issues a year but add stuff to their site all the time. They’ve also diversified over the years to sprout similarly branded snowboarding and skiing mags. So if you reached the end of this list and don’t want to read another word about skateboarding ever again, I guess you could get into freestyle skiing?
Other print mags to check out:
Vague Skate Mag
The Skateboarder’s Journal
North Skate Mag
A Brief Glance
Sound off below to let us know which mags we’re missing out on and we’ll add’em if they don’t totally suck.
July 16, 2020 3:39 am
I put out Secret Curb Club zine, issue 3 is in the works. @secretcurbclub
September 15, 2020 6:59 am
Smelly Curb Zine done by Donny Humes, the godfather of Midwest skateboarding
January 13, 2021 1:42 pm