Iconic Skate Zine Set to Debut 11th Issue in Long Beach

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Larry Ransom (left) and Eric Shugats (right) in 1988. Photo courtesy of Betty Ransom.

In the 1980s, Lockport, NY native Larry Ransom was obsessed with two things: skateboarding and skate culture.

Consuming Thrasher like it was candy and Vision videos like they were soda, Ransom lived in a time when daily content was a non-existent concept and Skate or Die! was on everyone’s NES. Culture fiends of any kind had to patiently wait for the next issue of their favorite magazine to come out or for the VHS they’d been waiting for to hit the shelves (and even then it was sometimes unavailable if the tape wasn’t for sale and the video store had no more copies to rent).

“After a while, skate media couldn’t keep up with my desire to eat, sleep and breathe skateboarding,” Ransom said. “So my friend Eric [Shugats] and I took matters into our own hands and created a small, grassroots skateboard zine.”

Harkening to the Transworlds of the time, Ransom and Shugats created Pure Fun, named after some graffiti Ransom saw painted on the edge of an empty swimming pool—the skater’s dream space. Ransom was a dreamer: dreams of being pro, dreams of being on the cover of Thrasher, dreams of escaping the little town of Lockport. In his words, the pair “made our own dreams come true by making our own magazine, to see our photos in print and be able to share that excitement with one another.”

Debuting in 1990, Pure Love brought addicted skateboarders new interviews, articles, reviews, and of course, tons of unique images.

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Pure Fun, issues no. 1 through 3.

“I had just turned 16 when it debuted,” Ransom said. “Eric and I cranked out nine more issues in about a year’s time and it kind of ran it’s course as I was starting to get more into filming and making skate videos. I did create many other zines through the years featuring skating or music but it was two years ago that I went back to the beginning and resurrected Pure Fun.”

That resurrection resulted in the tenth printing, Pure Fun in 2012, which Ransom had mistakenly thought would mark the end of the project: a massive bookend to cap off the work he and Shugats had started 22 years earlier. However, two years later, Ransom is still selling copies while more and more skaters and skate lovers requested not just the No. 10 issue—but additional new issues.

“The project just never went away,” Ransom said.

PureFun11Which is why, come August 31, issue #11 of Pure Fun [pictured left] will drop; 36 saddled-stitched pages of all things skate, including features with skate figures like Mike Vallely and Todd Swank, hundreds of photos, and a small printing batch that makes the zine a true collectible.

Even better, the issue will make its debut in Long Beach at DiPiazza’s, where skate admirers of all ages are encouraged to check out the newest addition to the Pure Fun lineup while listening to music—courtesy of Johnny Rad and the Eggplants, Noise for the Needy, and Powerflex 5—and getting their hands on some free schwag. 

“I would love to see everyone at the release party,” Ransom said. “And if you’ve ever seen the classic Bones Brigade video, The Search For Animal Chin, then you know seeing Johnny Rad perform live is something to behold.”

The all-ages, open-to-the-public release of Pure Fun #11 will take place on August 31 at 8PM at DiPiazza’s, located at 5205 E. Pacific Coast Highway. Tickets to the release party may be purchased in advance here and the Facebook event page can provide more information.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 16 nominations and two additional wins for Best Political Commentary for his work at KCET and Best Blog for Longbeachize, a section of the Long Beach Post. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.
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