jake phelps thrasher death thrasher magazine
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Jake Phelps, editor-in-chief of skateboarding bible Thrasher magazine, has passed away aged 56. A skateboarding icon, Phelps was in charge of the magazine for more than 20 years.

His death was confirmed by Thrasher publisher Tony Vitello on the magazine’s website and Instagram. “Jake Phelps was 100 percent 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,” Vitello wrote.

No cause of death has been confirmed, but his uncle, Clark Phelps, wrote in a Facebook post that Phelps had “died suddenly and easy today.”

Read reactions from the skateboarding community below.

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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

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There will never be anyone like Jake Phelps @thrasheradio and he was usually right about everything, thinking back. To echo what @thrashermag said, he loved skateboarding 💯🖤. I would sometimes cross the street to avoid him, but I can remember so much of what he’s said to me, a lot of calls I got from him, 415-666-something, struck fear in me to answer, but left me with quotes I’ll remember forever ‘what are you doing still asleep, you better have been up late last night with Jason Dill and the generators..” (the name of my future band if I form one). That I worked for him and Thrasher for a few years is probably my proudest career brag, it changed my life. He had one of the biggest impacts on skateboarding as far as defining the culture; could it have been the biggest? When I think what it means to be a skater and what covering, photographing, talking about skateboarding looks and sounds like, Jake Phelps is one of the loudest and most distinct voices. It’s what you have to measure yourself against, ‘will Jake think this webisode is rad or lame?’ ‘What does Jake think about the Olympics?’ ‘Do I have to roll in?’ Agree with him or not, you know Jake is one of those voices that this whole skate shit is measured by. Now that he’s gone do we all have license just to kook everything? Who’s gonna keep track? Anyway, I didn’t like you but I loved you, we will miss you Jake.

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Rip Jake Phelps ❤️🙏❤️

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“Never fake…RIP JAKE”

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Skate God Rest In Peace🌹

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News & Culture Editor

Berlin-based writer and Rihanna enthusiast.