R.I.P. Jay Adams

Legendary skater and Zephyr Surf Team member suffers heart attack

| posted on August 15, 2014

Jay Adams, star of the Z-Boys skate and surf teams in 1970s Venice Beach, has passed away after suffering a heart attack on vacation in Mexico. Stacy Peralta, fellow Z-Boy, passed along the news through his Instagram and Facebook pages, saying: “I just received the terribly sad news that Jay Adams passed away last night due to a massive heart attack, send your love #jayadams.”

Not much else is known yet about Adams’s passing. He was 53.

Matt Warshaw, a childhood friend of the skate star, interviewed Adams in 2013. The interview can be seen here at the Encyclopedia of Surfing.

  • Tillishbazooka

    Rest in Peace, ride the skies!

  • Tom Schick


  • Sharktooth Terry

    Damn thats harsh!! No one did it like Jay,, I saw him bomb a hill outside San Diego back in 78. No shoes, no shirt,, and going about 40mph. That image of the blonde bomber stayed with me for ever,, fearless.

  • a

    why is surfer mag idolizing a felon and drug user?

    • A

      Because regardless of whatever demons he had at one point, he was a legend. They are acknowledging his talent, not his drug use or criminal back round.
      Respect, you should find some.

    • Nick

      is this cruelty really necessary? please have some compassion and respect. i’m pretty sure you didn’t know Jay and even if you did, i don’t think you should make judgment calls about his life. Please consider this. Thank you.

    • timothy dalton

      because he was such a great influence to the southern California skate scene

    • J

      If you don’t know what jay Adams did to the Ride just Go kill yourself please instead of let a comment like that !

    • Nolley

      For all of his demons, I, and I believe most others, will choose to remember him for the fearless athlete he was, and for his contributions to his sports. Nobody is perfect.

    • Mahdi The Magnificent

      Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Ray Charles, AmadeuS Mozart, I can go on…..

    • Trevor

      Because he played an influential role in the development of skateboarding.. and surfing

    • Sean Harvey

      what! surfer is idolizing Robin Williams?

    • Zboy79

      Why are you a asshole is the better question. He paid his debt to society and was clean for many many years.

    • steve

      Who are you to judge?? Jay adams change the face of the sport and above all he was a men with a big heart

    • Live and let live

      If I have to explain it to you…you just won’t understand. Too bad…

    • TaraLynne Mulkey-Smith

      Nice to stay anonymous, and let’s not focus on the negative points of someone’s life, instead acknowledge the fact that he was a pioneer and respected in his sport… way to keep it classy. Can’t wait to see YOUR eulogy.

    • Roy Lindsey Wyatt III

      Why are you being a prick?

    • RIP from Puerto

      Narrow-minded, judgmental, condescending…I could go on. Have some respect. With his monumental influence to the world of skating and surfing aside, Jay was just like the rest of us. Of course he made some mistakes in his past, but who hasn’t? He was a kind-hearted soul who was doing the best he could and made many positive changes in his later years. That’s all you can ask of anyone. He’ll be sadly missed by all of us who knew him, as well as countless others who didn’t. I feel bad for people like you.

    • Nicolas authier

      Dude come one!!! RIP!!! Is all that need to be said!

    • dekon

      It is this kind of attitude that rips this world apart…

    • dekon

      It is this kind of attitude and thinking that rips the world apart (refer to post above)… He may have been a drug user or a felon, but he was an inspiration to many so to speak. He tried to change his ways and he changed. Let’s not be hateful about people mourning his passing, let’s just be thankful that in one way or another, Jay Adams graced this world with his presence and it was AWESOME.!!! RIP Jay!!!

    • gbroagfran

      I don’t see anyone idolizing, this is a news story. I’m sure you are perfect, too. Thanks for sharing your hate.

    • timmy

      your are an oxygen thief that is all

    • Nat Carter

      Because he was a part of what shaped skateboarding today. Whats your contribution? Nothing aye.

    • 100% SURFER & SKATER

      More importantly than the few mistakes the man made in his life, he was a pioneer in skateboarding, the godfather, bringing the art of surfing to the streets. His inspiring way of shredding was what made him an idol to thousands. RIP Jay..

    • Jonathan

      Your a piece of shit! Most legends have had problems along with your dumb ass. Your one to throw a rock in a glass house. When someone dies no matter what there faults are still deserve to be mourned. He began skateboarding, a lot more then you have ever done, fuckin bottom feeder…

    • Terrance Trent D’Arby Crash

      If you need to ask that question you’ll never know the answer… Barney.

    • GetOffYourHighHorse

      I really hope this is a troll. Popular culture is fraught with people who use and abuse drugs, and we venerate them constantly in media. Jay’s proclivities don’t diminish his place in the skating and surfing community. He certainly deserves to be honored for his impact on our community, and I sincerely feel sorry for you if you are going to write off every individual who has struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. Also, he certainly wouldn’t be the first surfer/skater to dabble in drugs and have a few ill-fated run ins with the law. Show some respect for the dead.

    • Jesus

      Because only God is perfect and I guess there’s plenty of people who loved him. Go read a book….

    • Mike

      He’s a reformed felon and a recovering addict. Rest in Jesus’ Peace Jay Adams

    • Zsurf

      It’s not the fact of him being a drug user or a felon but more of him being apart of the evolution of skating and surfing. The zephyr team helped bring us to what we see today. Be blind sided by the negative instead of finding the positive.

    • j

      Because the z-boys changed the way of skating and surfing. They influenced how skating and surfing are today by challenging the status quo. Even the boards they used were shaped and made in a new way to carve and ride the waves. They were fearless. There are many surfers and skateboarders that are drug users, what does that have to do with the legacy?

    • j

      have some fucking respect

    • donpnz

      cos we have ALL made mistakes in our lives. Haven’t you..?

    • surfing4salt

      Jay Adams did more for the sport of skateboarding then your feeble, judgemental mind could fathom. Everybody makes bad decisions and I’m sure you’ve got some skeletons in your closet you’d be ashamed of if people knew. Jay came from a notoriously rough area and was influenced by that culture from a young age, practically doomed from the start #productofyourenvironment Everybody deserves a second chance, even you with your snobby, judgemental opinions. Jesus died on the cross so that all of us imperfect people (felons or not) could have a second chance. #nuffsaid

    • mitch

      Queer fuck

    • RIP Jay

      They’re idolizing one of the pioneers of skateboarding, without whom many of today’s top skaters would be far less interesting. Hop off your pedestal and have a little respect for the man.

    • respect

      how about showing a bit of respect for the passing of a fellow human?

    • katsarola100

      are you serious? go to your local church and forget about surfing

    • Matt

      Sometimes it’s best to remember the good of a person not the mistakes they’ve made

    • bgrover

      hey square pants the guys a legend if you don’t want to read the clip, its simple don’t…but don’t question his legendary and worthy of a surfer mag clip status a day after he dies….who the eff are you????

    • B

      Because they aren’t heartless cunts like you.

    • chase

      Your a fag

    • Whitewater

      First of all, he was clean when he died, and doing youth outreach. Second of all, fuck you.

    • Z

      Hey dick head, why are u insulting a dead man and insulting an major contributor to sk8 and surf culture. His personal problems have nothing to do with what he did for sk8 and surf.

      • Nelson Schwartz

        That rat bastard deserves to be insulted for being a gay bashing murderer. Wish I knew where he was buried so I could defecate there. Too bad there is no hell because all bigots deserve to burn eternally (except for those of us who are bigots against bigotry, we deserve to go to heaven if there was one but of course there isn’t.

    • James

      Maybe because he is one of the most influential skateboarders of all time.

    • Think about it

      Because he was one of the innovators of skateboarding!! Jay, and the z boys, broke through the conventional and delivered what you now see as current skateboarding, the x games, etc. if you’re going to judge every innovator along you’re guidelines, you’re taking people like Jimmy Hendricks, LT, John Lennon, Muhammad Ali, Kurt cobain, bob Dylan etc and asking “why do we idolize these drug using felons”? Think about it…

    • nice guy

      Shut up you wiener, he’s an idol and you’re not.

    • scott

      because even as a felon and a drug user, he made a greater impact on our world than you.

      • Sergio

        Leave him rest in peace. He was a great influence in skateboarding even hére in Perú

    • joeblowtheeskimo

      you’re a moron

    • dick

      fuck off cunt

    • bennny

      Ignorant fuck. No ones perfect, if u did a little research before openi
      ng your fat fucking mouth you would see that he turned his life completely around.

    • MO

      ^ this dick! They’re not idolizing anyone just simply informing people that he’s dead!

    • fku

      I bet at some Point you have admire an Apple product, ipods and ipads are the most trending tech products, arent they? well Apple itself was conceived while Steve jobs was in an acid trip back in india. Just for you to know. so maybe you should never use an Apple product since the owner was a ” drug user.”

    • Cuntdiq

      Why are you a cunt? They are not idolizing him, they are reporting. There are lots of drug using surfers and skateboarders. As for felony, man that’s the past, do you live in the past? Eat a dick, cunt.

    • SNAKE


    • Joey Steyn

      why are you judging?

    • V

      He wouldn’t be the first talented artist to fall into drug use…

    • bob

      Shut the fuck up!

    • Ian

      Because he was a better man than you, you judgemental, pious nothing.

    • Ian

      Jay was a force of nature. You are a pious, self righteous nobody trying to elevate yourself by denigrating others.

    • Wham Boozle

      And he murdered a guy. That needs to be in his obit too.

    • snake

      just checking back in here…

      i assume your question was answered ?

  • Mahdi The Magnificent

    Life is short. Ride hard no regrets. So what if he was a drug user and had a record? How many legendary musicians were as well? In fact all the greatest artists in history were all mentally off and many were drug users and had dark sides. Creative people generally aren’t square johnny b good citizens of society. Who would want to idolize a boring clean suit surfer or corporate clone?

  • NYOB

    Rest in peace.

  • Alex Ceball


  • Sean Harvey

    I saw him paddling out Southside HB a few weeks ago on a pretty decent swell

  • Eric Partin

    He was still a legend.

  • Jaime Alcocer

    man Jay may have had some rough times in his life….but he had no easy life…dont judge if you dont know….what i do know, is that if it had not been for Jay, Stacy and the Zboys….the skateboard world and all that it has now a days may have not been……or at least to say it would have been drastically different…..and he and his boys did it without the benefit of helmets, and protective gear…..barefooted and going down hills as fast as you could make a skateboard go…..may he RIP!!! i know he is in a better place and he will not be forgotten by those he influenced, me being one of them……

  • owlkickyoass

    met him in Hawaii, he tried to give me his shoes when he saw me skating barefoot…lol

  • Naked Viking Surf

    “You don’t quit skating because you get old… You get old because you quit skating” -Jay Adams

  • Job Four Two Zero

    Why isn[t] Tommy Nellis dead yet?

  • Justin Irvine

    R.I.P inspiration to us all live free and ride hard brother

  • Sol Brutha

    Why Jay no buku boom boom surf brotha? Jay good buku, Jay no buku for Boom boom.

  • beachgrit

    Matt Warshaw on Jay Adams, Did you know he violently hated gays (literally) and was a rabid right-wing Christian? Who woulda thought!

  • Justin Greene

    Nobody starts out wanting to be a drug addict.we only wanted to have a good time. Our adolescent years, social and economic backgrounds and influences lay out our maps for life. If we go down the wrong path, well it doesn’t mean wr are bad people. Jay had a good heart. He never ment to hurt anyone.He surely is and will be a legend in the skateboarding world. Pioneer.To the limits. RIP

  • mitch

    That sux man. My thoughts are with you all
    And to the cock sucker that asked
    (why is surfer mag idolizing a felon and drug user?)
    Fuck off dont bring that shit in to it
    The man was a legend you piece of shit
    He and the z-boys started the skating revolution
    So dont hate you fuck

  • Casey Jones

    To “a” how dare you say that you goody two shoes kook! R.I.P Jay Adams I hope you find some good waves wherever you are now. So sad.

  • sotiris

    speed and style at their best. one of the best.

  • jme

    @ a- we are not our past. no one goes through this life innocent of everything and Jay Adams had a talent that should be honored.

  • David Palomino

    Sad to hear this. I just found this on youTube…Buttons and Jay. Peace.


    rock on

  • Doug Bryant

    I was influenced at an early age reading about rippers like Jay and the others of the time. Like many I went to the darker side of life for a while. Like many, Jesus brought me through. Regarding Jay 2 things: 1) Watching his interview in Dog Town/Z-boys (peralta) was impacting and humbling….watch it 2) Knowing he gave up the darkness for life with Jesus regardless of the mockers is inspiring!To “a” the mocker below, Jay just stepped into eternal life and he would love it if you showed up sometime! To everyone hating on “a”, Jay would forgive…just celebrate! < Phil 4:8-9

  • freerider

    Jay was probably more down to earth than all the Z-Boys. We are going to miss him.Jay became a Christian also. Death is really just the beginning of something new. Looking forward to seeing him in Heaven.

  • freerider

    Jay was totally cool–and seemed more down to earth and honest than most pro wannabes today–check out the Dog Town “Documentary” (not– the lords of dog town).– He Didn’t want to self pro-mote himself–like most of the skate-surf world–wannabes of today. Are there any skaters -surfers–you could say that about today? May his legacy live on.

  • freerider

    Hope someone can can start a little memorial fund or something in his name–to help some people –skaters–surfers–low income third world nation families in his name–I’d be glad to be the first to make a donation. Peace……..

  • Bo

    Fucking people. If they only knew.

  • Skum

    was there a paddle-out in Venice for him yet?

  • Michael Cornish

    Wow how are some of these comments. Best way to deal with a troll is not to feed them. Maybe SurferMag should delete all the negative comments and let the guy and his family have some peace.

  • freerider

    Jay was totally cool–and seemed more down to earth and honest than most pro wannabes today–check out the Dog Town “Documentary” (not– the lords of dog town).– He Didn’t want to self pro-mote himself–like most of the skate-surf world–wannabes of today. Are there any skaters -surfers–you could say that about today? He was a Christian also in his latter years–looking forward to seeing him in Heaven..May his legacy live on………

  • taylor schank

    thats not jay adams in that picture

  • Nelson Schwartz

    Burn in hell, gay basher. Unfortunately, there is no hell, just christian bs.