|Courtesy of Independent trucks. The Independendent Truck Company, a respected high-quality standard in skateboarding, was co-founded by the late Eric Swenson.|
Swenson, integral to the skateboard industry since the 1970s, worked alongside Thrasher co-founders Fausto Vitello and Kevin Thatcher to build the longest continually-running skateboard magazine, which is currently celebrating 30 years of publication. Swenson also co-founded Independent trucks in 1978, which reportedly gained a 50 percent market share within their first year of manufacturing. The product’s turning radius and geometry helped usher in a new era of skating’s trick-based progression.
Police say Swenson fatally shot himself Monday morning in front of the Mission Police Station. High Speed Productions’ (Thrasher, Juxtapoz and Slap) president Gwynn Vitello speculated to the San Francisco Examiner that Swenson, who had been enduring pain from debilitating injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident in his 20s, might have ended his life in front of the police station to spare his friends and family the trauma of finding him. Swenson was the long-time business partner of Vitello’s late husband.
In the wake of Swenson’s death, condolences, memories and messages have poured out of the skateboard community through websites and social networking. Thrasher’s 1993 Skater of the Year, Salman Agah, tweeted, “Eric Swenson signed as a co-signer on my first car loan. A true hero of mine! Your mark will live on for generations!”
Thrasher acknowledged Swenson’s passing on its website Tuesday, stating, “Ideas come a dime a dozen. People talk, but seldom act. Eric Swenson got things done. Never one to clamor for the spotlight, he preferred the hard work, orchestrating the show from behind the scenes … His mark on skateboarding is extraordinary. Without him there would be no Thrasher Magazine, Independent trucks, or Spitfire wheels, to name a few. He leaves behind his wife Linda and sister Rebekah, along with a tremendous number of admirers.”
Swenson is survived by wife Linda McKay and sisters Rebekah Engle and Sonja Taylor, both of San Francisco.
ESPN Action Sports