In unfortunate news, we have just learned that Thrasher’s longtime editor Jake Phelps has passed away at the age of 56. No details are currently available; but the magazine has confirmed Jake’s death via its latest Instagram post. This is a huge blow to skateboarding. Jake’s legacy will certainly live on through our culture forever. Have a look at Tony Vitello’s statement below. We’ll update with additional information as it surfaces.
UPDATE 03.18.19: According to this article published by The SF Chronicle on Friday, Phelps died while playing guitar on his sofa. The cause of death has still yet to be released. We’ll continue to monitor this story for updates as more details emerge.
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Jake Phelps was 100% skateboarder, but that label sells him way too short, because beyond his enormous influence in our world, he was truly an individual beyond this world. When loved ones pass we sometimes mythologize about their full lives rich in friendships and experiences. Sometimes we need to talk ourselves into believing it all. It makes us feel better, and helps us cope with the loss. Well, in the case of Jake, the task becomes wrapping your head around just how many lives one person could possibly live. He really did see it all, do it all, and that incredible brain of his could relish every last detail. But most of you reading this now identified primarily with Jake Phelps the skateboarder, and editor of our magazine, so I will leave you with this truth – I never met anybody who loves anything more than Jake worshipped skateboarding. Just as we need food and water to survive, Jake needed skateboarding to keep his blood pumping. It was more than a hobby or form of transportation or way of life – it was his oxygen. Here’s another thing. Jake never bailed. Jake fucking slammed. And there is a big difference. He only knew commitment. He was going to go for it without hesitation, and there were only two outcomes. Either you’d see his triumphant fist pumping in the air or it’d be an earth-shaking collision with the concrete. I remember him telling me once that he never fell backwards, he always fell forward. Leaning back meant there was hesitation, and Jake was all the way IN. There was no myth. The man was the myth. We love you, Jake. -Tony Vitello