Remembering Jay Adams: Skateboard Legend, King of Adventure

Life: Our greatest adventure.

Skateboard pioneer and adventure-extraordinaire Jay Adams recently passed in Puerto Escondido, Mexico from a heart attack. He was 53 years young and to say the least, an adventurer at the very core.

Jay Adams was an evolutionary figure to many all around the world. Having emerged from Venice, California to a generation where skateboarding was seen as a childish pastime, Adams helped pave the way to what skateboarding is today: a serious sport that’s creative, fun, dangerous, and credible in all ways.

Growing up in Southern California in the 1970s, skateboarders were subject to a lot of scrutiny by surfers who discredited the activity and by those who viewed the sport as nothing but a noisy nuisance. Adams was pivotal in changing the public’s psyche. His career began while surfing as a young boy, taught by his mother’s partner, longtime surfer Kent Sherwood. Soon after, he took his love of the ocean to the street – riding the harsh concrete like the unpredictable waves he once conquered. It was around this time that empty swimming pools became playgrounds for innovation.

As a member of the renowned Z-Boys team, he and his peers helped mold skateboarding to the competitive field it is today by coining fundamental maneuvers and phrases, along with incorporating certain attitudes to the artform. Before the Z-Boys team, skateboarding looked delicate. After they hit the scene, it looked raw. And it was. In fact, it still is today. Adams was part of a cultural movement and as movements usually do, they travel and change existing norms; the ripples of change left by him are still felt today.

Inducted to the Skateboarding Hall of Fame in 2012, members of the community like Tony Hawk, Andy MacDonald, and more took to their social media accounts to pay their respects, showcasing the immense influence and impact Adams had in shaping the discipline to its current state.

Jay Adams helped revolutionize skateboarding as a lifestyle and professional sport. But most of all, he made his unique journey through life an adventure, always bursting with spontaneity – skateboarding just came along for the ride.