On Sunday, August 17, 2014, a paddle out was held at Hermosa Beach, California to commemorate the life and to also say goodbye to Jay Adams. Family, friends and surfers totaling more than 40 were on the water, surrounding Jay’s son Seven and almost 55 on land were spectating them say parting words to Jay.
Jay is a legendary skateboarder and surfer who passed away at 53 years old due to a heart attack when he was asleep last August 14, 2014, just three days before. He was on a surfing vacation in Puerto Escondido, Mexico for three months when the unfortunate event happened.
Jay was born on February 3, 1961 in Venice, Los Angeles, California. He grew up with his mother and Kent Sherwood, his stepfather. He is well-known as “The Original Seed” since he was one one of the original members of the Zephyr Competition Team or the Z-Boys skateboarding team. Even at the young age of four years old, he already began skating and surfing. Kent worked at the Dave Sweet’s Surf Shop and there, Jay was introduced to the sports. When he was around 13 years old in 1974, he joined the Zephyr surf team of the Jeff Ho Surfboards and Zephyr Productions, a Santa Monica shop. That was impressive enough, but he was the youngest member as well. There was the Bahne-Cadillac Del Mar Nationals in 1975 and Jay was the first member of the Z-Boys to enter the competition, where he emerged as the third placer in the Junior Men’s Freestyle division. Then he and Kent proceeded to create the brand and team EZ RYDER (now Z-Flex) when the Z-Boys separated ways. An esteemed documentary featured Jay in 2001 with the title Dogtown and Z-Boys. In 2005, there was another film about the Z-Boys and it was the Lords of Dogtown. In the movie, Jay was played by award-winning actor, Emile Hirsch.
Despite a thriving career as he instigated a surfing style in skateboarding, he was still met with many challenges in life. He battled drug addiction and served for a while in jail. Nevertheless, in 2005, he was already free of such obsession and he even became a speaker in local schools for his past ordeals, hoping the children and the youth will not commit those mistakes themselves.
Venice is Jay’s daughter with his first wife Alisha Adams. With his ex-girlfriend Samantha Baglioni, he had a son, Seven. Jay married present wife Tracy Adams on April 16, 2011 at the Etnies skatepark in California and then remarried her in Honolulu, Hawaii.
It is indeed a great loss for both the skateboarding and surfing world that Jay has now departed this life. He established a great connection between the two sports and lived to the fullest everyday. And even with the missteps he had taken, he reflected and changed into a better person for himself and for his family.
You are truly a legend, Jay Adams, and we will forever remember your presence and contributions to skateboarding and surfing!