Dogtown Legend Jay Adams Dead at 53

By on August 15, 2014

The conjoined world of surfing and skateboarding is in shock with the death last night of Dogtown icon Jay Adams. Adams died of an apparent heart attack at his home in San Clemente. He was 53. Jay Adams lived at full throttle and taught us what it means to be a badass surfer/skater. Not that anyone in the world could keep up with him, or even come close to emulating his original style in and out of the water, on and off the skateboard. Jay will be sorely missed by those of us who knew him, and remembered by all whoever set foot upon a skateboard and went searching for an empty pool. I’m sure there will be a fricken’ HUGE paddle out for Jay coming up here real soon, and it just might be the biggest loss to the worlds of surfing and skating ever. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jay’s family and close friends. Although Jay is gone from this earth, he left a lifetime of accomplishments for us to think about. He is gone, but legends never die.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Jay Adam, via Wikipedia, below.

Jay Adams (February 3, 1961 – August 14, 2014) was an American skateboarder most prominently known as one of the original members of Z-Boys skateboarding team. He is known as “The Original Seed” of the sport and considered one of the most influential skateboarders of all time. Adams died of a heart attack on August 14, 2014.

Jay Adams was born in a part of Venice, California known to locals as “Dogtown”. He grew up with his mother and his step father, Kent Sherwood. He began skating/surfing at the age of 4.Sherwood worked at Dave Sweet’s Surf Shop under Pacific Ocean Park, where Adams was introduced to skateboarding by all the surfers who visited.Adams’s skateboarding was greatly influenced by Larry Bertlemann, a professional surfer who was known for dragging his hands along the waves as he rode them. In 1974, Adams joined the Zephyr surf team that represented the Santa Monica shop Jeff Ho Surfboards and Zephyr Productions. He was the youngest and most naturally gifted member of the team. When asked about Adams, fellow Z-Boy Tony Alva said, “Some kids are born and raised on graham crackers and milk, he was born and raised on surfing and skateboarding.”

Jay Adams skating in an empty pool.

The Z-Boys became a skate team when they heard about the Bahne-Cadillac Del Mar Nationals in 1975.Jay Adams was the first member to enter the competition, held in Del Mar, California, taking 3rd place in the Junior Men’s Freestyle. His explosive energy and low, bold, surf-like moves characterized the style of the Z-Boys and contrasted with the traditional style of the era, which was still based around tricks formulated in the 1960s. According to Bones Brigade founder Stacy Peralta, Adams “is probably not the greatest skater of all time, but I can say without fear of being wrong that he is clearly the archetype of modern-day skateboarding.”Much of Adams and the rest of the Zephyr team’s fame is due to Craig Stecyk’s “Dogtown articles” in the relaunch of Skateboarder magazine in 1975. The Dogtown articles were a series of magazine articles that chronicled the adventures of the Z-Boys.

The Zephyr team broke up shortly after the Del Mar Nationals and half the team followed Kent Sherwood, who made the Zephyr boards, to a new team. Sherwood and Adams created the brand and team EZ RYDER, which changed its name to Z-Flex six months later. Adams was the face of the brand. Adams was also sponsored by Hurley, Nixon, Osiris Shoes, Z-Flex, Tracker Trucks, Vercelli Surfboards, Carver Racks, Abec 11 wheels and Black Flys.

Adams was inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame in 2012.

Adams is featured prominently in the 2001 award-winning documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys and in the 2005 dramatized film account of the Z-Boys origins, Lords of Dogtown. In the movie, he was played by Emile Hirsch, who was praised by critics for his portrayal of the original Z-Boy. Adams has recently revived EZ Ryder as EZ Ryder Originalz with Jef Hartsel. The skating equipment is custom designed, tested, and handcrafted by Hartsel and Adams. Jay Adams has also collaborated with Z-Flex and designed skateboards in the Z-Flex range, most notably the Z-Flex Jay Adams Cruiser Skateboard.

Adams was married to Alisha Adams, with whom he has a daughter, Venice. He also has a son, Seven, from Samantha Baglioni. Adams spent his 50th birthday at the Etnies skatepark in California and married Tracy Adams at the park. He was recently remarried in Honolulu to Tracy. He most recently resided, with his wife Tracy, in San Clemente, California where he was an active member at a local church. As of 2005, Adams was drug-free and spoke to children at local schools about his past struggles which came about due to the poor choices he made.

About Skip Snead

Action Sport Media