Specifically, the news was first spread when Thrasher founder, Tony Vitello, announced his death in a long and heartfelt message regarding the late icon. Since then, many more tributes have appeared across the world, and not surprisingly as Phelps helped shape skate culture into the huge community that is has become today.
In fact, there was no comparing Phelps to anyone else in the industry as the influential figure had a mind that not only exceeded that of the average skateboarder, but also businessman, writer and creative.
As of yet, no cause of death has been confirmed, however, what we do know thanks to a Facebook post from Clark Phelps, Jake’s uncle, is that Jake “died suddenly and easy today.” Rest in peace to a man like no other.
View this post on Instagram
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
View this post on Instagram
Jake may have ribbed me and I may have ribbed him back but goddamn if he didn’t remember every single thing about me and my career down to the beads I used to wear around my neck when we first met at an NSA amateur contest when I was a young vert skater from Nebraska. His mind was truly remarkable. In life we like to play the game. Us vs Them. Them vs Us. It’s part of what makes it interesting. Without it I think it would all be a a real bore. But in the end… we are all fighting for the same thing. We all love it the way we love it. A loss for you is a loss for us. Every part of me feels for Jake’s friends and family and for the people he loved and loved him back. Original wouldn’t even begin to describe him. A great mind. Rest easy, Jake. Rest easy. – sb