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 no play a critical role in the ultimate selection.
Thrasher's first Skater of the Year was the one and only Tony Hawk.
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 face-plants, 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 stood above his peers - a seasoned veteran, an up-and-coming talent, or a fearless young gun.
The award recognizes the skater 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).
Never has a female skateboarder won the Skater of the Year.
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)