80’s Zine Archives: San Jose’s Skate Ripper #1

San Jose Skate Ripper #1

San Jose’s Skate Ripper (Also called San Jose Skate Ripper) #1 comes to us from the collection of, (drumroll please…) John Drummond. There’s no physical date on it but there are some clues. Bob Denike is listed as 20 years old in his interview, and there’s a CASL contest at Del Mar where Lester, Gator (Mark Rogowski) and Tony Hawk are in the 3A division. Hawk wins it. It’s got to be be pretty damned early. Also, there’s an order form for Back issues of Thrasher magazine that doesn’t list any years, just months, so that would put it at late 1981 or early ’82. Another clue, already in publication are the zines known as Skate Fate, Skate Punk and Skate Scene (San Jose), not to be confused with Skatin’ Scene AKA Rad rat from Hazelton Iowa of all places. SJSR was put out by Craig S. Ramsay. SJSR was copied on legal size paper even though the content seems like it would have fit entirely on letter sized sheets. Consequently, there are quite large borders on the sides of the pages. The text was all typewritten an shrunk to a small size. I had to leave these scans at a larger size to make them legible.

San Jose Skate Ripper was approached like a real magazine. There’s a sense of humor for sure, but you can tell they were serious. The writing is good, but the Skate Phsyics feature on “paring your skateboard” is kind of funny. It’s almost two pages of serious advice on how to make your skateboard lighter to attain a performance edge. Some of the key tactics include grinding down baseplates and mounting hardware, removing all stickers, economically applying griptape and cutting holes in your board. It’s like a weird cross of modern street-tech weight obsession with a Barney-ish geek factor. The only thing missing is the Rockin Ron’s endorsement, but SJSR would have to travel through time to do that. Also, you gotta love it when a zine feature interviews with one of the people putting out the zine. I suppose that was unavoidable in such a small scene. After all, even Steve Caballero published an interview of himself in Skate Punk #2. San Jose Skate Ripper is from an interesting point in skateboarding history. The 70’s were dead, but the famous 80’s riders were not yet dominating. Kind of a purgatory.

Editor: Craig S Ramsay

Staff and Contributors: Ross McGowan, Bob Denike, Craig S. Ramsay, Rita H. Ramsay, Dan Denike. John Insco, Garry S. Davis, Richard E. Garcia

People: Bob Denike, Wolfman Dan Petersen, Mike Martinez, Jim Martino, Byron Miller, Hickey, Hutson, Tim Tranbarger, Tony Hawk, Tom Nicodemo, Owen Nieder, Steve Caballero, Billy Ruff, Mark Rogoowski, Lester Kasai, Robert Schiafli , Mike Chantry, Corey O’Brien, Rick Blackhart, Randy Katen, Tom Sims

Features: Bob Denike interview, Evolution of the Summit Ramp, Skate Physics: Paring your skate, Socal road trip CASL contest, Gig reviews at Bruce Hall – Ribsy, Whipping Boys, Dead kennedys, Los Avidados. Cancelled gigs – Adolescents adn Reign of Terror R.O.T. Bad Brains with T.S.O.L. San Francisco gig for the Blasters at the Old Waldorf (described as new form of old hillbilly music)

Spots: Summit Ramp, Los Altos pool, Winchester, Skate City, Capitola, Laguna Seca, Star Pool, Del Mar Skate Ranch, Stevie’s ramp, Dog bone pool

Honorable Mentions: Bob Denike bragging about his ability to get out of paying for stuff, a beef with Jim Martino for hogging free gear from Winchester, the first fish helmet in downhill racing, “Bob, you used to be into punk, now you’re into rockabilly.” Bob replies “Yeah, I’ll admit it.” Corey O’Brien quote: “I’m no poser. I wear this stuff to school.” Article on “paring yor skate” cutting things and drilling holes to save weight. GSD comic.

Check out: San Jose Skate Ripper #1

UPDATE: Comments have moved to the gallery.


  1. thanks for the scans !!

  2. PRBL on May 8, 2008 - Reply

    Skate Scene was Gavin and Corey O’Brien’s zine

  3. Craig Ramsay on June 17, 2008 - Reply

    Thanks for the coverage. The mag was published by me in fall of 81. Wish we had internet then…it took me an entire month to type, layout, print and publish what kids can do in a weekend now.

    I was 21 then — it was a great time as the San Jose skate scene came out of the skateparks and took to the streets. Craig S. Ramsay

  4. Craig.. Great to hear from you. Shed some light on Skate Ripper. How many issues did you make, how big was the circulation, how, how, how?

    ZIne production used to be a huge hassle. It still is, but in differnt waysa I guess. The standards are higher.

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