Extreme sports magazines

The extreme sports sector - which includes BMX biking, trials biking, kitesurfing, mountain biking, skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, windsurfing and adventure sports such as canyoning - in the UK is dominated by smaller publishers that were started by enthusiasts. It is also called 'action sports'. One area the big publishers control is mountain biking, where Future and IPC have the biggest-selling titles. Some publishers have international arms in France, Germany and the US. Few of these titles are more than a decade old. Some older titles cover extreme sports, for example, Ski & Board, published by the Ski Club of Great Britain, covers snowboarding, as does Daily Mail Ski & Snowboard Magazine.

Most titles do not have ABC figures because their sales are too small (under 30,000). Some publishers quote readership (readership explained) rather than sales. Sales may be higher outside the UK than at home. It is estimated that about 800,000 people regularly take part in action sports in the UK.

There has been consolidation in the extreme sports sector, with, for example, Dig BMX being taken over by 4130 in October 2005. Then, in 2006, 4130, Action Sports Media and Permanent - which had been co-operating in backroom activities such as distribution and a central web portal - merged as Factory Media. However, given the alternative lifestyles of their creators, there is a danger that such titles may not thrive in corporate environments. 4130 took an arm's length approach to Dig BMX with staff still running the title from Glasgow. Big UK event of the year for extreme sports is NASS in July.


328 Media Back to top

328 Media is based in Lewes, Sussex. Titles include:

  • Kiteworld May 2001 launch as a worldwide kiteboarding magazine. Distributed in more than 60 countries, six times a year.
  • Kingdom for inline skaters.
  • The Boarder for board riders.



4130 Publishing (Factory) Top

Part of three-way merger that formed Factory Media in December 2006. Based in Dorchester, Dorset. Titles included:

  • Ride BMX (9 times a year)
  • Moto (6 times a year) for BMX
  • Dig BMX: formerly independent title taken over in October 2005 but still run from Glasgow
  • Dirt Mountain Bike (6 times a year): mountain bike downhill and free ride
  • Document Skateboard (9 times a year)

In April/May 1999, 4130 Publishing launched a short-lived music/men's lifestyle magazine called Level, with the editorial based in Brighton under Chris Quigley.

Also publishes videos and DVDs such as No Front Teeth and Transworld Motocross. 4130 is a type of steel used for bike frames. Chromium and Molybdenum are added to increase its tensile strength.



Action Sports Media (Factory)

Part of three-way merger that formed Factory Media in December 2006. ASM had its head office in London with editorial offices in Munich, Germany and Anglet, France, two big action sports regions. ASM has a pan-European business model whereby all its titles are published in English, French and German and distributed in 74 countries.

  • Onboard: launched in 1994. Claims to be Europe's best-selling snowboard magazine. Available in English, French, German, Spanish and Swedish, and under licence in Russian
  • Surf Europe: launched in 1999. Published seven times a year in five languages: English, French, German, Spanish and Portuguese
  • Kingpin: launched in November 2002. Covers European skateboarding, lifestyle and culture. Four language editions, nine times a year: English, French, German and Spanish
  • Cooler (quarterly): surfing for women. Launched summer 2005


Arcwind Publishing Back to top

Arcwind is based in Oxfordshire. Titles include:

  • Inline Skating
  • Kitesurf 6 times a year since June 2001
  • Powerkite 6 times a year since June 2003 for people who fly sports kites
  • Unity skateboarding title eight times a year
  • Wakeboard & Waterski 8 times a year since June 2002
  • Windsurf published 10 times a year. Launched 1979. Has a digital subscription for £21 ($38) compared with £30 for the print version


Cornwall & Devon Media Top

Cornwall and Devon Media is part of the Northcliffe local newspaper group, which in turn is owned by the Daily Mail & General Trust (profile), owners of the Daily Mail. CDM publishes five weekly newspapers in the two counties and runs websites, such as Cornwall Today. It took over Wavelength, the UK’s longest running surfing title, in 2004.
DMG profile


DMG World Media Back to top

DMG World Media is an international exhibition and trade publishing company. Daily Mail Ski and Snowboard Magazine is published from its Harrow offices
DMG profile


Factory Media Back to top

In December 2006, Factory Media was formed as a holding company for the merger of three specialist sports publishers: Action Sports Media, Permanent Publishing and 4130 Publishing. The merger brought together 12 UK titles,13 international editions and 13 websites, including:

In March 2007, Factory Media launched an extreme sports portal, Mpora.com, with sections based around the magazines' contents: snowboarding, skateboarding, surfing, BMX, motocross, free skiing and mountain biking. This was followed by a TV channel in 2008 and an extreme sports section on Yahoo Eurosport. In that year, Factory Media bought AdrenalinTrip.net, a snowboarding and motocross website, and SurfCore.net, which focuses on surf forecasting.

In August 2009, Factory bought Boards, a windsurfing magazine and website.

4130 profile
ASM profile
Permanent profile



Freestyle Group Back to top

Freestyle Group set up in 1999. Titles include:

  • BMX Rider (closed) monthly founded in 2002
  • Paddles monthly founded in 2002 for adventurous kayakers and canoeists
  • Scuba World (closed) monthly founded in 1972
  • Snowboard UK eight issues a year (September-March). Founded in1991

Its biggest brand is Boys Toys, a lifestyle-oriented gadgets title and retail website, founded in 1999.


Future Publishing Back to top

Special interest publisher launched Mountain Biking UK and What Mountain Bike; bought road racing title Pro Cycling from Highbury in 2005. All titles accessed through biking portal, Bikeradar.com. US arm also has an action sports division with consumer and online trade titles, such as Snowboard.
Future profile


Highbury (closed) Back to top

Inherited Maximum Mountain Bike and Pro Cycling when bought Cabal. Former closed and sold latter to Future.
Highbury profile


Huck Limited Back to top

June 2006 launch for Huck, a five-times-a-year title (later 6) devoted to board sports - surf, skate and snow - with music, film and the arts thrown in. Second issue was in September. The title is published in English, French, German and Italian. Distributed in US. Available at Borders, Waterstone’s, Harrods, Selfridges and selected newsagents.

In November 2006, the independent publishers of music title Plan B, film magazine Little White Lies and Huck announced a partnership to co-operate on the commercial aspects of publishing. By the end of 2009, LWL and Huck were both published by Church of London.


IPC Country & Leisure Top

Division of UK's largest publisher has Mountain Bike Rider, Cycling Weekly and Cycle Sport in its portfolio. IPC controlled by AOL Time Warner, which also controls Transworld (below)
IPC profile


Media Cell (closed 2004) Top

Part of The Media Cell, which had a media sales division and a creative agency. Published Adrenalin with English, German and French versions of a surf, skate and snow lifestyle title, butt this closed. Magazine with same title was published by Metropolis but since closed also.
Media Cell profile


Metropolis Back to top

Metropolis was established in 1994 and has consumer and business titles. These included Adrenalin, which covered music, art, literature, film and fashion for people who surf, skate and snowboard. It was a quarterly and was first published in autumn 1999 but it closed. It had English, German, French and Italian editions. The title appears to have been used by three companies in recent years: Alliance International Media (1997 launch); Media Cell (owners in 1999); and Metropolis
Metropolis profile


Network26.com (Mpora.com) Top

Extreme sports portal run by Permanent Publishing for its titles and other publishers. Became part of Factory Media's Mpora.com.


Orca Back to top

Based in Newquay, Devon. Publishes three surfing titles:

  • Carve: surfing magazine published eight times a year. Launched 1994
  • Surfgirl: quarterly with Carve. Launched in 2002
  • Threesixty: specialises in bodyboarding. Published 11 times a year. Launched in 1981. Claims to be Britain's longest-running surf magazine.

The company runs an online shop selling surfing DVDs, posters, books and accessories such as boardbags.


Permanent (Factory Media) Top

Part of three-way merger that formed Factory Media in December 2006. Permanent is based in Abingdon, near Oxford. It was established in 1995 and set up a US arm in California in 2002.

  • The Surfer's Path claims to be the 'first (and, so far as we know, the only) truly “green” surf magazine'. UK and US editions. Six times a year
  • Sidewalk: monthly for skateboarders
  • Urban Climber: bouldering, sport and competition climbing, and gym climbing. Six times a year
  • Whitelines: for snowboarders. Six times a year

Also ran Network26.com, a gateway to the above as well as two extreme sports titles from smaller publishers: Kiteworld (328 Media) and Dig BMX but this was merged into Factory's Mpora.com.


Pitpilot Back to top

British surfing magazine founded in 2004.
Contact: Pitpilot, PO Box 441, Newquay, Cornwall


Scuz Mountainboarding Top

Scuz Mountainboarding was set up in 2003 'as a harmless poke at the industry and the sport' by 'Welly and Andy W'. It planned to relaunch as as a more mainstream glossy Mountainboard in 2007. It ran websites www.mountainboardmag.co.uk and www.scuz.info but these were closed by the end of 2008. Contact address was: Scuz Mountainboarding Zine, Cardigan Centre, 145-149 Cardigan Road, Leeds, LS6 1LJ.


Ski Club of Great Britain Top

Ski & Board, which is free four times a year to members of the Ski Club of Great Britain, covers snow-boarding. The club was founded in 1903.
Ski Club website


Transworld Media (US) Top

Transworld Media is a US division of the magazine publishing behometh AOL Time Warner, which also controls IPC (above) in the UK.

Extreme sports titles (2005) Back to top

Publisher Launch date ABC sales
Jul-Dec 2008*
Adrenalin Media Cell 2004 closed
Adrenalin Metropolis 1999 closed
Adrenalin Alliance International Media 1997 closed
Business Transworld (US) 1999  
(surfing )
(8 a year)
Cooler Action Sports Media / Factory Media
(4 a year)
Daily Mail Ski & Snowboard DMG Media World
(5 a year)
Dig BMX 4130 / Factory Media
(6 a year)
Dirt Mountain Bike 4130 / Factory Media
(6 a year)
Document Skateboard 4130 / Factory Media
(9 a year)
Huck Church of London/ Huck Ltd
(6 a year)
Action Sports Media
(9 a year)
328 Media / Factory Media (6 a year) 2001  
Maximum Mountain Bike Highbury   closed
Moto 4130 / Factory Media
(6 a year)
Motocross Transworld (US)    
Mountain Biking UK Future
(13 a year)
1998 45,681
Mountain Bike Rider IPC Country & Leisure
(12 a year)
1997 35,653
Mpora.com web portal run by Factory Media 2007  
Network26.com - now Mpora.con web portal run by Permanent Publishing / Factory Media   see Mpora.com
Onboard Action Sports Media / Factory Media
(7 a year)
Pitpilot Pitpilot 2004  
Quad Transworld (US)    
Ride BMX 4130 / Factory Media
(9 a year)
Ride BMX (US) Transworld (US)    
Scuz Mountainboarding (Mountainboard from 2007) Scuz Mountainboarding Zine 2003 closed 2008
Permanent / Factory Media
(12 a year)
Skateboarding (US) Transworld (US)    
Ski & Board Ski Club of Great Britain   20,821
Snowboard UK Freestyle 1991  
Snowboarding (US) Transworld (US)    
Surf (US) Transworld (US)    
Surf Europe Action Sports Media / Factory Media(7 a year) 1999  
The Surfer's Path Permanent / Factory Media (6 a year)    
(free with Carve)
(4 a year)
Threesixty (bodyboarding) Orca
(11 a year)
Unity Arcwind
(8 times a year)
Urban Climber Permanent / Factory Media (6 a year)    
Wakeboard & Waterski Arcwind
(8 times a year)
Wavelength Cornwall and Devon Media (11 a year) 1981  
What Mountain Bike Future
(12 a year)
Whitelines (snowboard) Permanent / Factory Media (6 a year)    
Windsurf Arcwind
(10 a year)
*Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC)
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