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Jay Adams: The Man, The Real, The Original

By Andres Pachon

A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.


Jay Adams was born on February 3, 1961 in Los Angeles, California. He was an American skateboarder who as a teen was the youngest member of the Zephyr Competition Skateboarding Team (Z-Boys). His skateboarding style was always spontaneous and inspired by ocean surfing. His aggressive vertical tricks made him one of the most stylish and risky skateboarders. Unfortunately, he died on August 15, 2014, in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, of a heart attack while on vacation.



Photo: Mikael Cho (Unsplash)

He met with the world of surfing when he was just 4 years old. His stepfather owned a surfboard rental site in Santa Monica, California. It was only a matter of time before he discovered the second discipline that would change his life and in a more drastic way: Skateboarding.

At the age of 13 he participated in a contest in "Del Mar". He was the first to enter the rink after the "traditional" skateboarders, breaking all the established rules. The juries didn't even know how to rate it, so they gave him third price.



In the 70s the Vert or Vertical skate was seen for the first time performed by the Z-Boys, in a dry season when swimming pools in California couldn't be filled, they decided to skate them empty (sneaking into the houses). There were many dogs that prowled around the houses while they were skating, so they gave it the name of "Dogbowl" that then changed to "Dogtown".







All Zephyr Team members were bought by big brands except Adams, who refused to professionalize skateboarding. However, he accepted advertising signatures to live, pay debts to his mother, leave school and go out to party.



The biggest fight he had in his life was against heroin addiction. As an adult, he recognized that when he was young it seemed great to go places and that people were afraid of him "because he was crazy, but in fact he was ruining others night". As an adult, he didn't stop repeating anti-drug phrases to prevent others from getting hooked: “Drugs are bad. They are not part of surfing or skateboarding. When I was a child if you didn't smoke or drink you were not well regarded, now I am glad that not doing it is also cool." Adams said.



Read also: “Skate or Die” Jake Phelps

Read also: Nyjah Huston: Redefining Stardom in Skateboard



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