Early Tales of Tracker Trucks and TransWorld SKATEboarding magazine
The Skateboard Industry was coming back after a crash in sales in 1980/81. Young kids were turning from BMX craze and looking at skateboarding as a new challenge and cool factor.
Back in 1982, after their February issue, Action Now magazine ceases publication. Thrasher publishes their infamous “Skate and Destroy” article by CR Stecyk III and an Independent Trucks company ad featuring a naked girl with Indy stickers on her nipples. After Thrasher refuses to run a counterpoint article called “Skate and Create” written by Tracker founder Larry Balma’s sidekick, Tracker Peggy Cozens, they decide to launch their own magazine TransWorld SKATEboarding magazine.
Tracker Trucks was rolling, sales were picking up, but the only problem was that there was only one magazine for skateboarding published in the United States and it didn’t cover all of skateboarding. It was, as most in the industry called, a catalog for Santa Cruz skateboards and the Independent, Truck Company, taking advertising from all the other skateboarding manufacturers but only featuring stories and photos on their own team primarily in NorCal. Thrasher was hard core and included sex, drugs and alcohol parties. This message was not helping parents of our new young customers accept skateboarding as a mainstream activity. Especaially the rural American families. Of course the parents were the ones that bought the boards. We needed to have a magazine that could showcase our sport to skaters and their parents in order to grow. So the other manufacturers encouraged Larry Balma and Peggy Cozens to publish a skateboarding magazine that would cover all types of skateboarding, all manufactures riders, all over the world and show just how rad skateboarding is. Thrasher was printed on newsprint paper in black and white, so TransWorld SKATEboarding was published on glossy paper, in living color.
Larry and Peggy had no experience in magazine publishing so it was a quick education; they pulled together some very talented skateboarders such as Garry “GSD” Davis, Per Holknekt, Bryan Ridgeway, Tony Hawk, Neil Blender, Lance Mountain, Grant Brittain, Tony Hawks dad Frank and John Webster. CR Stecyk III and Stacy Peralta also were part of the early staff. They both were working at the time with Powell Peralta and didn’t want to risk harming relationships with Thrasher Magazine, so they worked under the alias names of “Some Dude” and “Special Persana”.
Many of the guys worked for Tracker Trucks during the day grinding trucks, assembling, and packaging and at night would work on the magazine. With long days and nights many of the crew ended up living at Tracker, sleeping on the floor or if they got lucky slept on Larry’s couch in his office.
GSD always skated late at night. He would come back to Tracker and climb the ladder in the closet and crawl into the space between the roof and the upstairs kitchen ceiling to sleep. One morning early Peggy Cozens was making coffee in the kitchen and Garry turned over and crashed through the drywall. Surprised, scared, and mad Peggy banned GSD from the attic. He moved in with Larry, his daughter Laurie, and Bryan Ridgeway.
That same year Titus Dittman launches Monster skateboarding magazine in Germany. Later his Munster Monster Mastership becomes Europe’s largest skateboard contest.
A tribute to a photographer who passed away, the Rusty Harris Series includes vert contests at Upland, Whittier and Del Mar all in SoCal.
Upcoming talent for 1982 included Lester Kasai, Keith Meek, Chris Miller, Rodney Mullen, Jeff Phillips and Mark “Gator” Rogowski.
We spent many nights at Del Mar Skate Ranch when we weren’t working on a print deadline. This was the raw beginning and we were set to grow.
Larry has gone into his collection and pulled out the first four original issues of TransWorld SKATEboarding magazine, published in 1983, all in excellent condition, no cuts, and all pages are intact. Larry has signed the very first issue and this very unique collection of magazines also includes some of the first TransWorld SKATEboarding stickers. Check out the store for this item as well as many other items from Larry’s personnel stash.