July 8, 2024/ / ARTICLES/ Comments: 11

Photos: TLB

RAD Magazine, aka Read and Destroy, was a staple of British skate culture from 1987 to 1993, six immensely important years in skateboarding. It was an era of rapid trick progression, a time where names that would go on to run the industry were discovered and new companies like World, Blind and Girl were reinventing street skateboarding.

Unfortunately for the Brits, most of the reinvention was focused around the far, far away lands of California. They were often left in the dark, moving at their own pace and developing style all their own. RAD smartly took advantage of this, and instead of devoting all their time to tracking down cocky American pros, they decided to cater specifically to the British scene.

The magazine quickly became the voice of British skateboarding, giving recognition to the small scenes and skaters that otherwise would never see their photo in print. Read and Destroy, a book by Dan Adams, documents RAD through it’s golden years and highlights the passion of the early UK scene through photos, specifically highlighting the work of the dedicated Tim Leighton-Boyce.

We picked out some photos from the book and had Dan include a blurb about why he chose to include them in print. Scroll through to peep early documentation of London’s Southbank and vert ramps tucked into Lord of the Rings level forest. We hope you enjoy this time capsuled look into the magazine that is widely credited as keeping skateboarding alive in the UK.

Oh yeah, and you can get the book here.

Photo: Wig Worland

Mathew Pritchard, Milton Keynes City Centre double set, 1994

The book provided a great opportunity to go big with photos that had often been reproduced quite small in the original mag. This was from a sequence of a stair set ollie which still stands up today as impressive. I loved this frame and being able to see the background characters and the setting, as much as the rider, give such a sense of time and place to me.

Photo: Paul Sunman

Ed Templeton, USA, 1990

This is another real, time and place image for me. Ed T on New Deal which was the hot new brand in 1990. This cutting edge street guy with the BIG board, just before the tiny wheels took over. The blue skies and sun, the creamy concrete – this was the dreamscape for skate fans in the grey UK.

Photo: Skin Phillips

John Cardiel, Leigh-on-Sea demo, 1992

What’s not to like about this one?! Cardiel throwing epic shapes in the UK. This was from a Consolidated team tour in 1992 which had a big piece in the mag— an important, defining moment for that year. The team had been all-over with photographer Skin Phillips driving the beat-up tour van as well as covering the story. A pretty seminal moment in his own progress to becoming the prolific skate photographer and editor that he later became.

Photo: TLB

Femi Bukanola, Manchester, 1988

This shot is such a powerful expression of the defining mantra of chief photographer and editor Tim Leighton-Boyce. He always believed in empowering the kid on the street to get out there and do stuff – make shit happen. He made huge efforts to travel up and down the country covering local scenes in the ‘Out There’ editorials. This Manchester city local made the cover of the mag and it was this kind of connectivity which helped to give fans of the magazine such strong feelings of association.

Photo: TLB

Lewis Ashenden, Southbank, 1992

Again, another chance to revisit a strong shot that hadn’t been given a great forum in the original mag. And another real time and place image. The Southbank seven stair was really coming into it’s own at the time, street skating really, fully taking over and New Deal was everywhere.

Photo: TLB

Secret ramp, Hertford, 1988

Vert skating and wooden ramps were my thing back in the day, and I’d been responsible to keeping a ramp going in the mid ’80s. I loved it that our tiny skate community had forged some kind of secret society, hidden in plain view from the mainstream.

Photo: TLB

Nick Philip at his desk in the first RAD office, 1987

Nick was the first designer of RAD magazine and the guy that really gave the mag it’s identity going forward. He was a progressive BMX-er with a heavy skate influence.

I love that this glossy newsstand mag that was so influential was produced in this tiny, grubby underresourced office. Nick’s natural creative energy used what little he had to great effect.

Photo: TLB

Keith Laing, Cage skatepark, Brighton, 1978

How stoked is this kid. The shittiest of set-ups—non matching trucks and a totally trashed board—and there’s no holding back. The stoke is real.

Photo: TLB

Wullie McKay, Scotland, 1982

Livingston skatepark in Scotland has rightfully earned its place as a legendary skate spot. Back in 1982 it had just been built and trips there became mandatory, the English guys getting to connect with the ripping Scottish scene. This pic captured those times very succinctly for me, dynamic action heavily influenced by what was going on the US but with the obvious financial and cultural restraints of early 1980s Britain. No matter how trashed those pads got – you had to keep the look going.

Photo: TLB

Tony Hawk and fans, UK, 1990

The Bones Brigade tours were a very big deal to the UK in the 1980s. The demos were always pretty haphazard and loose affairs. How word got around that they were coming to town, I’ll never know. It was amazing to me to see what real ‘stars’ the Powell guys had become and how they dealt with their fans so graciously. Of course nowadays we all know, and Tony freely admits, that once upon a time he was also a dorky grom, looking up to his heroes.

Photo: TLB

Tom Penny, Radlands, 1992

There’s so much movement and shape in this one – and look at the expression on his face. Gotta love that roll on the back foot. Tom Penny about to blow the doors off skateboarding, at the venue, Radlands, that became synonymous with UK skate progression in the mid 1990s. A previously unused image.

photos: Paul Sunman

Mark Gonzales, London, 1987

Mark G, in London at one of my favourite skate spots. A private session, Mark quietly blowing the minds of the few others that just happen to be there in this serendipitous moment. The place you wish you’d been.

Photo: TLB

Milton Keynes, DIY mini ramp, 1988

Secret, scratch built ramps will always be a favourite. This one is a DIY built in a spillway or run-off from a reservoir. The effort, heart and resourcefulness of these kinds of builds, get me every time. A big chunk of what makes skateboaring great for me.

Photo: TLB

Ray Barbee with Steve Saiz in London to promote Powell Peralta’s Ban This. 1989

So you’ve just seen, for the first time, Ban This with Ray’s timeless, beautiful sequence on the big screen. You step out of the movie theatre and there is Ray sessioning the banked wall outside along with the London locals. Mind blown anyone?


  1. Crabby Colin

    July 8, 2024 4:10 pm

    These are all great. What a moment in time. And that Cardiel photo is nuts, he’s goofy so that can’t be a stalefish unless it’s switch, which I highly doubt for ’92.

  2. El Cholito

    July 8, 2024 9:43 pm

    Is that one Gonz photo from 1987 the first switch ollie in a picture? They call it a ollie regular foot because switch wasn’t even a concept yet.

    • BJ

      July 9, 2024 5:01 pm

      Gonz is in the background on the Leigh on Sea Cardiel photo,with the beret on at the side of the container too.

  3. Sheenie

    July 9, 2024 2:32 pm

    I actually found some copies of RAD when I was cleaning out my loft a few weeks back .. great days

    • Danski73

      July 9, 2024 3:38 pm

      Unlike myself, I chucked what must been 100 copies of RAD when quit skating, god only knows what they are worth nowadays

  4. Adam Christian

    July 10, 2024 5:56 am

    I have a bag upstairs with at my Mum’s house. Must have a hundred in. I remember going to the newsagents and being told it isn’t being made anymore. I was the only person I knew who still skated and this sounded my skate death. I went off to the rave scene!

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