Top 5 Thrasher Covers

by Dan Bunn

In honour of Issue 500 of Thrasher, we thought we'd round up some of our favourite Thrasher covers from over the years.

From Cardiel going through the fire and the flames to BA straight pimpin', check out some of the best Thrasher covers from throughout the Bible's history, as well as some historic NBDs.

John Cardiel - April, 1993

John Cardiel Thrasher Skater Of The Year (SOTY) Cover April 1993 - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store

Cardiel is without a doubt one of the all-time greats, and this is easily one of the best Thrasher covers of all time. I mean it's got Cardiel jumping through a ring of fire, and what could be better than that? This is some serious Evel Knievel shit. People talk a lot about 'style' in skateboarding, but there are few people who embody raw style as well as Cardiel. The shapes on the ollie, the face he's pulling, the fact he looks like he's throwing up gang signs; it really doesn't get better than this. Bonus points for the 'How To Get Laid' article.

Jeremy Wray - November, 1997

Jeremy Wray Thrasher Magazine Cover Water Tower Ollie November 1997 - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store

25 years after this cover was released, Jeremy Wray's water tower ollie is still easily one of the gnarliest things to ever be done on a skateboard. The gap is a flat 16 feet across (almost 5 meters), and to make it worse the run-up was limited to the diameter of the water tower, meaning there's less time to gain speed and, more importantly, basically no way for him to ever be able to stop if he chickened out halfway through. This trick required absolute commitment. It's not a spot you can work yourself up to by having a couple of tries and kicking the board away. It's not something that you can keep trying over and over. It's literally "do or die", or at least "do or get seriously injured". It's no wonder nobody else has ever stepped to it.

Tyshawn Jones - January, 2019

Tyshawn Jones Subway Ollie Thrasher Cover January 2019 - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nah, it's Tyshawn Jones soaring over both a waste-high railing and an entire subway entrance. The photo speaks for itself really. Most of the time people either jump high or they jump long, so before the footage came out it was pretty hard to believe that TJ managed to clear the sizeable railing before the subway entrance as well as sailing straight over the stairway and fence, with the spikes on top adding that little bit of extra gnar. The ollie made its way into Quartersnacks' "A Small History of New York’s Biggest Ollies" article, and even received three entire paragraphs in the New York Times article on Tyshawn. Pretty sure this was the first time someone wore a durag on the cover of Thrasher too which is pretty iconic.  He even followed this up with another cover just three months later, also sporting a durag.

Tyshawn Jones Subway Ollie Gap Gif - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store

Geoff Rowley - April, 2005

Geoff Rowley Thrasher Magazine Cover April 2005 - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store

Of course we've gotta have a UK skater in the mix, and who better than the legend that is Geoff Rowley? This is a truly epic cover. So epic, in fact, that it's pretty hard to wrap your head around what's actually going on. The precipitous face of the sheer concrete wall looks more like a cliff than a bank, and the fact that you can't even see the bottom makes it seem as if it could stretch straight down into the depths of the Earth's core. Absolute nutter.

Brian Anderson - April, 2000

Brian Anderson Thrasher Magazine Skater Of The Year (SOTY) Cover April 2000 - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store

I already mentioned this cover the other day, but it's so nice I'm mentioning it twice. I mean look at it, it doesn't get much baller than this. There's money, gold, champagne, cigarillos, and flames - it's like the last party at Richard Branson's Necker Island mansion, except with less child sexual exploitation. Most importantly, BA isn't even skating, he's just sat chillin', staring deeply into your soul with an expression that says: "yeah, that's fuckin' right". I'd take this over a Nyjah cover any day of the week.

Honourable Mentions

Cara-Beth Burnside - August, 1989

Cara-Beth Burnside Thrasher Magazine Cover August 1989 - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store

It's safe to say that Thrasher's a smelly, testerone-fuelled hellride 99% of the time, but you'll probably be surprised to know that the first woman to land herself the coveted cover spot was Cara-Beth Burnside all the way back in 1989. CB helped pave the way for the female skate scene as it is today, managing to hold her own in the 80's when the skate scene was even more hostile to basically everyone than it is now, never mind towards women. As well as being the first woman to grace the cover of Thrasher, CB was also the first woman to be given a pro skate shoe, and has won medals at basically every skate contest. Serious legend.

Felipe Nunes - November, 2019

Felipe Nunes Thrasher Cover November 2019 - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store

Just like with Cara-Beth, this cover is a definite NBD with Felipe being the first person to land a Thrasher cover without any legs. That's not to say that his physical differences in any way limit his claim to the cover; the man's 5-0ing a 14-stair round rail. What's your excuse?

Jake Johnson - October, 2015

Jake Johnson Besos No Comply Thrasher Cover October 2015 - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store

This one's a personal favourite, and I just can't not include it. No-complies get a lot of shit (arguably for good reason) but JJ laughs in the faces of the haters and demonstrates impeccable form with this hefty straight no-comply over Barcelona's Besos. There's a reason that anyone with a fully-functioning brain considers JJ the absolute GOAT (if you can't include yourself in this list then go watch his Mindfield part and educate yourself) and that's because he can do pretty much whatever he wants on a skateboard and make it look incredible, whether that's a switch flip back tail on a handrail or a humble slappy or no-comply. I could watch Jake Johnson brutally assault a cat, or even do a benihana, and it would still probably be the best thing I'd see all week.

That's enough chit-chat though. Head to the shop to browse the latest skateboard decks, clothing, and shoes and buy now from CSC, or check out more Top 5's on the CSC Blog. As always, please feel free to argue with us in the comments and let us know what your favourite covers are. Safe.

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