First cover shot

What was your first ever cover and how did it come about?

The first cover I shot was with Tony Alva and the magazine was “The Wild World of Skateboarding” (see opposite).

It was the September 1978 issue and they were covering the 2nd Hester Pro series in Fremont California. I wasn’t officially working for Skateboarder Magazine yet, and I was approached by Wild World of Skateboarding Magazine people for a possible cover so I jumped on it.

After that issue came out I received a call from Jim Cassimus (the photo editor of Skateboarder Magazine) and he wasn’t too happy that I gave the other guys my pictures. I mentioned that I wasn’t working for Skateboarder and he informed me from now on that I had to send him all my work because they said that they decided that I was going to be working for Skateboarder Magazine from now on. I was extremely happy to start out as a contributing photographer for Skateboarder Magazine. I was on course for my dream to become a staffer.

You must have been stoked?!

Yes, I have to say there is something special about getting a front cover. It wasn’t on the magazine I loved, but it was a cover shot.

Talking about cover shots, in 2007 Juice Magazine published your pic of Christian Hosoi’s layback smith at the Bible Bowl, front and centre – such a badass shot (Hosoi’s face making it!). I understand that you hadn’t shot CH for some years until that photo.

I only really had a session with Christian when he was 10 years old at Marina Del Ray Skatepark, which produced Christians first published photo in the June 1980 issue of Skateboarder Magazine.

By the end of 1980 Skateboarder Mag changed their name to ‘Action Now’ and started carrying other sports. I only shot skateboarding, so I could not afford to support myself on the smaller cheques I started receiving from the mag because I was paid by the photos published, not a salary. So that forced me to move back home to Northern California and go back to work as a printing press operator to earn a living and missed a lot of Christians photo opportunities as he grew up.

So getting back to the question, the Bible Bowl cover of Juice Magazine with Christian was the first time we worked together since the 1980 Marina days. I was thrilled to be able to work with Christian again and I think we only worked a total of 3 hours that day and we got the shot.


Tony Alva | Ride-On Skatepark Newark California | Wild World of Skateboarding September 1978.

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