Pure Fun Revives Its Cult Classic Skateboarding Zine in Long Beach

Categories: sk8ter boi

Mark Choiniere
Modern day Larry Ransom at Paul Revere Jr High, Santa Monica
Larry Ransom and his friend Eric Shugats started Pure Fun zine with nothing more than a typewriter, a pair of scissors and a shoebox full of photos of them and their high school friends skateboarding around suburban Lockport, New York. Twenty-four years later, Ransom is celebrating the 11th issue of the one-time teenage pet project on the other side of the country with a party and concert in another kind of skateboarding destination--Long Beach.

Pure Fun existed in its original incarnation for nine glorious months in the early 1990s, when Ransom and his friends spent the harsh East Coast winters dreaming of moving to California, where the skateboard scene was full of famous names and endless summers.

"I couldn't wait to get my hands on the newest skateboard magazine or video to see what was happening out in California," Ransom says from his current home in La Verne. "After a little while, Thrasher couldn't come out quick enough and to fill that void waiting for the next issue, my friend Eric and I decided to make our own skateboard zine. It was a good project for the winter months."

For nearly a year, Pure Fun was Lockport's go-to monthly skateboard zine, a black-and-white, fucked-up-and-photocopied pamphlet dedicated to all the street shredding happening in western New York state. And then, after nine issues of culture-documenting brilliance, it was gone.

Mike Feeley
Larry Ransom in 1988.

Instead of cutting and pasting photos and text on his living room floor, Ransom began filming his friends' skateboarding antics and after moving to Huntington Beach when he was 25 (and making friends with professional skateboarders and getting a job at Revelation Records), Pure Fun became even more of a blip in his teenage past.

Fast forward to 2010, when the then 36-year-old Ransom got the idea to do a much-belated new issue of Pure Fun in honor of the zine's 20th anniversary.

"I was on a tour with my friend, skateboarder Mike Vallely, in 2010, shooting footage for him, and someone had mentioned doing a promotional zine for a new company instead of a catalog, and I thought, 'That's so awesome, I want to do a zine,'"Ransom remembers. It was only then that he realized it had been 20 years since Pure Fun began. "I'm kind of a packrat and I'm into archiving and documenting stuff so I still had all my old stubs and photos. It was perfect timing."

Dave Mandel
Larry sorting through the Pure Fun archives, 2012
Two years later--and 22 years after the first issue--Pure Fun printed its 10th installment with a photography exhibit and release party in Lockport, where it all began (a redux release party was later hosted at the now-shuttered Long Beach Vegan Eatery). Issue #10 was thick and perfect-bound ("The idea was to make it halfway between a super professional book and total photocopied zine," he says) and featured old cuts from the previous nine issues plus lost photographs, unpublished interviews and more yearbook-type nostalgia.

The latest issue, Pure Fun #11, is yet another step forward for the iconic skate zine: it features all new content, created specifically for modern readers. From interviews with editors of the skate zine that originally inspired Ransom back in Lockport (Awake) to recent action photos of Vallely, the 36-page saddle-stitched zine is printed (in Orange County!) and ready for its debut.

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