RIP Jake Phelps

Mar 22 2019

I think that I can pinpoint a few things in my life that were major turning points . A few of them revolve around tragic loss but there is one that was a moment where I truly gained something so valuable that I would be a different person without it.

I first learned about skateboarding when I picked up a copy of Thrasher from a friends older brother as a kid. I can still remember the cover vividly and if you were to think about it I could probably visualize every issue I have come across from that age until now because I go over every detail of them. Skating was this thing that I worshiped then and look at in awe today. When the world tells you that you are shit and there is one thing that you can do with your friends, have fun, feel free and be away from those pushing you down you need something to get you amped.

My first board was hand me down parts with axles that slipped and were too big. We would grab copies of Thrasher pass them around our circle of friends. One day I cut out a Skater of the Year ballot and mailed it in as part of a contest. Winner got a brand new skateboard. That was like $100 back then! No way I would ever have that type of cash. Weeks go by and I am in front of my house doing kick turns and riding around in circles. Grinding the curb, being bored, wishing I could be somewhere else. Jake calls my house “This is Jake Phelps, editor of Thrasher, I am sending you a skateboard, you won the contest”. Holy shit!!! I was so stoked.I never won anything. That board meant so much. A proper set up!!! From that moment it was on. Skating lead to punk, punk lead to travel, messengering,……… changer. Skateboarding gave me confidence in a way nothing else did. It was freedom, the ability to see the world the way you thought it should be. No place to skate? fuk it, build a ramp, hop the fence, run when the cops come…….I was in the mission in November riding down Valencia and saw him in front of a bar. I should have stopped and said thanks.

A few weeks ago I bought a new set up. Seeing so much skate media and not skating made me feel like a poser. I needed to get out there. I have been bombing hills in Germantown and going to the parks alone. Yesterday was sunny, warm and I did kick turns in a pool till my heart felt like it was gonna burst out of my chest. I kept trying to grind the coping and I heard a little kid cheer me on. Later I cheered for him when he dropped in on the quarter pipe. That was it! That is skateboarding. RIP Jake Phelps