Jay Adams

R.I.P. (February 3, 1961 – August 15, 2014)

Jay Adams has been called “the original seed” of skateboarding. As an original Z-Boy, he is considered one of the most influential skateboarders of all time. The 1975 Del Mar Nationals were a big turning point in skateboarding history, when the world got its first taste of the Zephyr crew. Jay was the first of the Z-Boys to compete that day and his run epitomized their low, aggressive, fluid style. But what’s more important is that his innovative, on-the spot improvisation brought a raw energy to the sport that came across as natural ability and passion.

On that fateful day, Jay Adams and the Zephyr team elevated skateboarding from a hobby to a lifestyle and, inevitably, to a professional career. Jay, along with his Dog Town brethren, took skateboarding to the vertical walls of empty swimming pools like no one else before them, truly changing the sport in the most significant way in its history. It was a wild, totally insane, radical, no-holds-barred leap forward, epitomized by Jay’s bad ass attitude and style, that made him one of, if not the most, beloved and iconic heroes in the history of skateboarding.

Shortly after Jay Adams passed away a ceremonial paddle-out was held in his honor at Venice Beach. Hundreds gathered on a beautiful Saturday. I arrived heavy hearted with my surfboard and wetsuit, as did many others. The ceremony began and various eulogies were given, all heavily weighted with biblical references, some were beautiful and I know Jay found respite in his new found faith, but missing from the tributes were the great tales that represented the magic of Jay Adams. Jay was the manifestation of mischief, a 100 watt person with 10,000 watts coursing through him and yet little of his brilliance was being articulated. The speeches were then followed by a paddle-out. We grabbed our boards and paddled out to the end of the Venice Pier where we formed a circle. Just as all of us we’re about to grab hands, a loud voice shouted out from the top of the pier, “HEY!!” No one turned so the shout came louder, “HEY!!!!” Again no one turned. Then finally the loudest, “HEEEYYY!!!!” We all turned to see OG Venice skater Tim Jackson standing atop the pier. Tim looked down on all of us and at the top of his lungs shouted, “You’re all a bunch of fags!!” He then laughed his ass off as did the group. It was inappropriate, unexpected and so out of the blue and yet this is what Jay would’ve done, he would’ve thrown a mirth bomb into his own memorial service just to stir things up and make everyone laugh, it’s what he always did. That was the magic of Jay. I am certain to this day that Jay Adams came thru Tim Jackson at that very moment to assure us that his restless spirit was with us that day just as it always will be.

Stacy Peralta @peraltastacy – May 2023
TWS Legend Award: Jay Adams – TransWorld SKATEboarding
Skateboarding legend, Jay Adams of Z-Boys & Lords of Dogtown talks drugs. By Natural High.
JAY ADAMS’ 50TH B-DAY 2011 – by Maddog / Concrete Disciples