Jun 23, 2011

Suicide and Skateboarding

This article piqued my interest. I always wonder what goes on inside of someone's head when they decide to take their own life.

Skateboard business icon dies in S.F. suicide
Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer

San Francisco Chronicle June 22, 2011 05:56 PM Copyright San Francisco Chronicle. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
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.2492 ..Courtesy Thrasher Magazine

Eric Swenson, co-founder of the skateboard magazine Thrasher, committed suicide June 20, 2011. Swenson was 64. The photo is undated.
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(06-22) 17:56 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- Eric Swenson, an icon in the skateboarding culture and a co-founder of Thrasher magazine, died Monday in San Francisco. He was 64.

Mr. Swenson shot and killed himself in front of the Mission police station, according to police.

Mr. Swenson helped reinvigorate the skateboarding scene after it languished in the late 1970s. Along with his friend Fausto Vitello, Mr. Swenson opened Independent Trucks manufacturing company in San Francisco in 1978, which makes skateboard equipment, clothes and accessories. Three years later, they and Kevin Thatcher co-founded trendsetting Thrasher magazine.

Independent Trucks made a high-quality truck, the metal connector between the skateboard and its wheels, that enabled boarders to execute the moves necessary for jumps and tricks performed on rails and curbs.

The articles and photos in Thrasher focused on this new generation of skateboarders and pushed the success of Independent Trucks by advertising its products.

"People talk, but seldom act," the magazine said in a message on its website about Mr. Swenson's death. "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."

Michael Brooke, publisher of Concrete Wave, a skateboarding magazine in Toronto, said Wednesday that Mr. Swenson was "one of the critical architects" of the revitalized art of skateboarding.

"Eric Swenson is really one of those guys who drives things forward," Brooke said. "The funny thing about skateboarding is that a lot of times, there are a lot more followers than there are visionaries. Eric, along with Fausto, were visionaries."

Vitello died of a heart attack at the age of 59 in 2006 while bike riding in Woodside.

"Too many people who are involved in this industry seem to be taken from us at far too young an age," Brooke said.

Vitello's widow, Gwynn Vitello, 61, of Hillsborough said Wednesday that Mr. Swenson was a private individual and "one of the most independent persons I've ever known. He was like John Wayne. He kept everything close to the vest. He did things because he believed in them. He was happiest when he was making things and building things and getting jobs for people."

Mr. Swenson leaves behind his wife, Linda McKay, and sisters Rebekah Engle and Sonja Taylor, both of San Francisco. Services are pending.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/06/22/BA3F1K1953.DTL#ixzz1QAYfuQDC


the walking man said...

I suppose everyone who does in fact commit suicide has different reasons for it. Understanding them...that is the hard part.

goatman said...

No children?
I wonder if that figured in.

Lori said...

WM- I understand the feeling of hopelessness. Despair. I just can't get what makes some people follow through.

Goatman- You might be right about that. Children sometimes tie us even when we wish otherwise.

Anonymous said...

I know nothing about this person, but looking deep in my heart, I detect foul play. Those who truly loved him and still care, should check into the circumstances of events around that date...

ie.: The comment by Trasher Magazine -sounds like a ritual killing comment:
"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." (these last words hide the real killer)
If he preferred privacy, why would he make a public spectacle of his own private death??? This does not compute.
Just my sixth sense... I know it will never be confirmed, these things are done with airtight precision...
There are clever remote, mind-control methods in this day and age... ~.~