Fausto Vitello – 2014

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on August 7, 1946, Fausto Vitello’s influence on skateboarding could be deemed critical if only for his entrepreneurial role in co-founding Thrasher, Independent, and Deluxe Distribution. Having fled Argentina and the oppression of the Revolución Libertadora political regime with his family at age nine, Vitello was raised on Frederick Street in the Haight-Ashbury area of San Francisco, California and allegedly learned English from listening to San Francisco Giants baseball broadcasts on the radio. After developing an interest in skateboarding hardware during the late 1970s, and following their first tests with the Stroker truck, Eric Swenson and Vitello (who founded the company Ermico Enterprises) ultimately joined forces with Jay Shuirman and Richard Novak at NHS to test and manufacture the Independent Stage 1 truck in ’78.

Hugely successful and redefining the scope of truck performance, the Independent team of Ermico and NHS then went on to found Thrasher in 1981 after Skateboarder magazine switched to the multi-sport Action Now. Far from finished, Fausto continued to expand his business empire by eventually building High Speed Productions to house Thrasher, then later Slap and Juxtapoz magazines; Deluxe Distribution, which manufactured brands including Thunder, Spitfire, Real, Antihero and Krooked; and also Street Corner Distribution, which was home to Think, Hubba, Venture, and Lucky Bearings. Vitello died of cardiac arrest on April 22, 2012, and is survived by his wife, Gwynn; his son, Tony; and his daughter, Sally.