This year’s Legend Award goes to Jay Adams—easily one of the most influential, if not the most influential skateboarder ever—who passed away this past August at the age of 53 while on a surf trip to Mexico. In the simplest sense, Jay Adams took what had up until the early ’70s been a clean-cut Jan and Dean–hyped beach hobby performed in sweater vests, and turned skateboarding into a full-blown counterculture dressed in Vans and blue jeans. He was the original bad-boy seed who ultimately transformed the skateboard from a toy on par with the Hula-Hoop into a weapon of self-expression on par with the electric guitar. Jay changed the primary source of inspiration from gymnastics-based pirouettes and headstands to low-to-the-ground, quick cutting turns and the hands-on-the-ground, aggressive surf style of Larry Bertlemann. Along with Tony Alva and the Z-Boys, as chronicled in Stacy Peralta’s acclaimed 2001 documentary, Dogtown and the Z-Boys, Jay Adams would also be among the first to bring skateboarding to vertical terrains in the backyard pools of Venice, West LA, and Santa Monica; one of the first to catch air above the lip; and—long before Bobby Valdez officially invented the invert in the late ’70s—the first person to attempt handplants in pools with his “fly-away.” In the words of Stacy Peralta, “He was literally skateboarding incarnate, and the genius of it was he wasn’t the best at anything, he just was it. I’ve said before that he was the original virus that got so many people hooked on skateboarding. Now the original spore is gone, but that virus lives on in so many others. Jay’s passing reminds all of us and reaffirms that we’re connected. We’re all rolling down the sidewalk together.” More than anything, Jay Adams all but invented the “100% Skateboarder” attitude—style, spontaneity, and aggression. He made skateboarding something worth fighting for. He was the original middle finger to mainstream society, and we have basically all been living out his mold in the now 40 years since. Part troublemaker, part saint, and part prophet—Jay continued his love affair with surfing and skateboarding up until his very last day. Gone but never to be forgotten, Jay Adams will forever be synonymous with skateboarding, but more importantly, he will forever be responsible for creating skateboarders. RIP Jay.—Mackenzie Eisenhour
Jay Adams talks through 35 years of Z-Flex and skateboarding to mark the release of his new pool board bearing the iconic Jay Adams graphic, which has endured to become the longest running graphic in skateboarding history. Jay Adams pool board -- 35 years strong, in stores now.
www.zflex.com/zvp Kent Sherwood (Jay Adams' step-dad) was the man behind the manufacturing of the Zephyr Fiberglass skateboard. In 1976, Jay Adams and Kent split from the Zephyr team and started the short lived E-Z Rider brand that then became Z-Flex Skateboards that is still around today. With his refined skill in fiberglassing they launched the first Z-Flex skateboards in 1976 from his workshop in Venice. Coming out initially with three different shapes, with the inclusion of the Jimmy Plumer later, Z-Flex Skateboards was one of the premier skateboard brands of that era. Now generations strong, Z-Flex remembers its rich history and continues its path of determination and dedication to skateboarding through a limited release of iconic Z-Flex Vintage Premium (ZVP) products. To celebrate the heritage of skateboarding and the brand, Z-Flex reunited team members from the past as well as fellow skaters of the 70's to re-tell the ever-popular Dog Town story from the people that actually lived it. In the two part mini-documentary series- take a trip back to the 70's to relive the skaters, spots, style, and products that shaped skateboarding as we know it today. Starting with Part 1: The Beginning. Filmed by: Jon Holland, Ted Newsome, Ewan Bowman Edited by: Jon Holland Interview Audio by: Ryan Carmen Thanks to: Jay Adams, Jimmy Plumer, Marty Grimes, Mitch Kaufman, Jim Davey, George Wilson, Solo Scott, Jimmy Acosta, Aaron Scott, Butch Sterbins, Eric Britton, Steve Olsen, Dave Hackett, Duane Peters, Tony Alva, Wentzle Ruml, Chicken, Jaime Owen, Jamey Stone, Nolan Woodrell, Chris & Ethel Pasques. Additional Footage supplied by" Hal Jepsen Films, Opper Sports production, theSurfnetwork.com Additional Images courtesy of: Kent Sherwood & Skateboarder magazine. Music Supplied by: Hot Lunch, thanks to Tim @ tym-records.com We permit you to view this material for your own personal use. We do not permit you to use this material for any other purpose, including for commercial purposes. © 2013 Z-Flex Skateboards. All rights reserved
He spoke to the school with Dennis Martinez, Tony Magnusen and Ron Allen about the dangers of drug abuse. The youth listened to these four professional skateboarders, Jay loved this activity, he will be sorely missed! RIP jAY with JESUS!
Jay Adams talks about where he started street skating and some of the trouble he used to get into with the Z-Boys when he was a kid growing up in Venice and Santa Monica.