Skater of the Year: the annual award is announced by Thrasher Magazine | Photo: Red Bull

Thrasher Magazine's Skater of the Year (SOTY) is one of the most prestigious skateboarding awards.

It's "the one," the first, and the most respected trophy.

SOTY is also a marketing campaign that has helped keep Thrasher Magazine afloat while others struggled or closed their doors.

Every end of the year, the legendary skateboard magazine highlights the performance of the sport's most prolific rider.

Winning the Skater of the Year trophy could be a life-changing moment in a skater's career, resulting in more media coverage, more sponsors, and, ultimately, more income.

The publication, founded by Eric Swenson and Fausto Vitello in January 1981, debuted SOTY in 1990.

The selection process starts with the announcement of the contenders.

After the initial nominations list, all magazine readers and skateboarding fans are invited to cast their votes online.

When the voting process is complete, the editors of Thrasher announce the Skater of the Year recipient.

It's not clear how the fans' votes influence the editorial decision, but they do not play a critical role in the ultimate selection.

Thrasher's first Skater of the Year was the one and only Tony Hawk.

Skater of the Year: Milton Martinez won the trophy in 2019 | Photo: Red Bull

SOTY Criteria

The criteria for picking the finalists involve the riders' participation in video parts, special projects, and death-defying stunts, as well as trick innovations and input from other professional skaters.

The variables are flexible and subjective and include horrendous faceplants, signature movies, magazine covers, event appearances, outstanding contributions to the skate industry, and even gut instinct.

Although there are no written rules or tips for claiming the award, the complete list of Skater of the Year recipients breathes coherence and speaks for itself.

There has always been lobbying from advertisers, brands, skate shops, companies, and even athletes themselves because there's a lot at stake.

But in the end, the SOTY is always someone who stands above his peers - a seasoned veteran, an up-and-coming talent, or a fearless young gun.

The award recognizes the skaters who displayed extraordinary skills, commitment, dedication, spirit, and determination to the sport, whether by achieving competitive success or pushing the boundaries of skateboarding.

Only two riders won SOTY twice - Danny Way (1991 and 2004) and Chris Cole (2005 and 2009).

A female skateboarder has never won the Skater of the Year.

Skater of the Year: the American skateboarder Jamie Foy claimed Thrasher's annual award in 2017 | Photo: Red Bull

Thrasher Magazine's Skater of the Year | Award Winners

1990: Tony Hawk (USA)
1991: Danny Way (USA)
1992: John Cardiel (USA)
1993: Salman Agah (USA)
1994: Mike Carroll (USA)
1995: Chris Senn (USA)
1996: Eric Koston (THA)
1997: Bob Burnquist (BRA)
1998: Andrew Reynolds (USA)
1999: Brian Anderson (USA)
2000: Geoff Rowley (ENG)
2001: Arto Saari (FIN)
2002: Tony Trujillo (USA)
2003: Mark Appleyard (CAN)
2004: Danny Way (USA)
2005: Chris Cole (USA)
2006: Daewon Song (KOR)
2007: Marc Johnson (USA)
2008: Silas Baxter-Neal (USA)
2009: Chris Cole (USA)
2010: Leo Romero (USA)
2011: Grant Taylor (USA)
2012: David Gonzalez (COL)
2013: Ishod Wair (USA)
2014: Wes Kremer (USA)
2015: Anthony Van Engelen (USA)
2016: Kyle Walker (USA)
2017: Jamie Foy (USA)
2018: Tyshawn Jones (USA)
2019: Milton Martinez (ARG)
2020: Mason Silva (USA)
2021: Mark Suciu (USA)
2022: Tyshawn Jones (USA)
2023: Miles Silvas (USA)


Words by Luís MP | Founder of SurferToday.com

Top Stories

Ema Kawakami has become the first skateboarder to land three consecutive 900s.

Why hasn't anyone thought about this yet?

Professional Canadian skateboarder Andy Anderson has emerged as a transformative force in the world of skateboarding, blending innovative tricks, a unique style, and unmatched mental resilience to redefine the sport and its cultural impact.

Check out the official list of 88 street and park skateboarders who qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.