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Thrasher Skateboard Magazine Takes Another Hit

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Damn when I first heard someone say "an editor at Thrasher shot himself in front of the police station" I thought it was a different one. But it turns out to be Eric Swenson which is still a hit to Thrasher. I remember when working there he was the silent owner who would show up sporadically and mostly sit in Ed or Fausto's offices just watching. The influence he had on skateboarding as a whole and beyond Thrasher was/is enormous!

Here's an article:

Thrasher magazine co-founder ID’d as suicide in front of Mission Police Station

TAGS: Eric Swenson High Speed Productions Mission Police Station san francisco SFPD Suicide Thrasher Magazine

By: Mike Aldax | Examiner Staff Writer | 06/22/11 10:02 AM

Eric Swenson, Craig Stecyk and Fausto Vitello, at the Independent foundry in San Francisco in 1983. (Photo by MoFo/www.thrashermagazine.com)

The man who ended his life in front of the Mission Police Station on Monday was a skateboarding icon and co-founder of San Francisco-based Thrasher magazine.

Skaters worldwide are mourning the loss of Eric Swenson, 64, of Potrero Hill, whose local manufacturing and publishing ventures helped launch a massive and lasting subculture.

Swenson shot himself around 8:30 a.m. without going inside the police station or talking to any officers. Loved ones believe the longtime San Franciscan's struggle with a debilitating motorcycle injury led to the suicide.

A "very private person," Swenson may have chosen the police station in order to spare his loved ones from finding him, said Gwynn Vitello, Thrasher's publisher and wife of Swenson's business partner, the late Fausto Vitello.

A person put a gun to his head and ended his life in front of Mission Police Station as passersby watched in horror Monday morning, police said. The victim, identified only as a white male, committed suicide around 8:30 a.m. at the station at 17th and Valencia streets. He used a high-caliber handgun and shot himself right in front of the station’s front doors. Read More

Swenson leaves behind his wife Linda and sister Rebekah, "along with a tremendous number of admirers," Thrasher magazine said in a statement.

"Eric was not a person who wanted to burden anybody," Vitello said. "In my mind this was the most unselfish way he could do what he had to do."

When he was about 20, Swenson severely injured his leg in a motorycle accident that kept him at Laguna Honda Hospital for more than a half year, Vitello said. Years of pain stemming from that injury might have become too overwhelming for Swenson, she said.

"Towards the end, walking was kind of a struggle for him," Vitello said, who added that friends and loved ones can only speculate as to why he took his own life.

Swenson co-founded High Speed Productions Inc., which includes magazines Thrasher, Juxtapoz and Slap. He also co-founded Independent Trucks in 1978, the manufacturer of skateboard trucks and other parts that helped launch the sport.

Eben Sterling, advertising director for Thrasher and Slap, said Wednesday Independent Trucks marked a “sort of a BC/AD kind of event in skateboarding.”

The skateboard trucks allowed people to skate vertically, which “moved skateboarding from the sidewalk to what it is today,” Sterling said. Skateboarders wouldn't have been able to scale pool surfaces without the high-performance technology, he added.

Sterling, who has known Swenson for 18 years, said Thrasher magazine, started in 1981, helped establish skateboarding as a subculture.

“Before Thrasher skateboarding was just another trend like yo-yos, rollerblades and Hula Hoops. But now it had its own music, dialect and it’s own fashion style,” Sterling said.

Swenson’s partner in the skateboarding ventures was the more outgoing Fausto Vitello, the face of the company who passed away of a heart attack five years ago. Swenson was known as a behind the scenes workhorse.

“He wasn’t into the glory or being in the spotlight,” Sterling said. "He was extremely successful, but was a humble guy that didn’t flaunt his wealth. He basically got up in the morning and went to work, and that was his passion."

The skateboarding world took to social networking sights to pay tribute to Swenson.

“R.I.P. Mr. Swenson, You and Fausto did so much for skateboarding! Love ya,” Steve Caballero declared on Facebook.

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: Thrasher magazine co-founder ID

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damn, it all feels so apocalyptic. i hear shit everyday that makes me shiver.

well i don't rteally like this, but i do relate. yesterday it was this and a story on the trend of microwaving babies to kill them...

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